Newnan & Coweta: Donate, Sell or Scrap Your Used Car…That is the question.

You’ve made the ultimate decision. You are getting a new car, and that means it’s finally time to give up that faithful old car that has no doubt been both your best friend, and at times, your worst enemy. What do you do with it? You’ve got 3 choices: Sell it, Donate it or Scrap it.

Selling Your Used Car:

If you’ve decided to not trade in your used car and planned on selling it yourself, there are a couple of things you might want to know first. Is your car going to be easy to sell? Is it a hot commodity? Or will you have to drop your price and search out additional avenues to sell it?

Here are a few general rules to answer these questions:

  • Family sedans, while unexciting to many, are in constant demand by people needing basic, inexpensive transportation.
  • The sale of convertibles and sports cars is seasonal. Sunny weather brings out the buyers. Fall and winter months will be slow.
  • Trucks and vans, used for work, are steady sellers and command competitive prices. Don’t underestimate their value.
  • Collector cars will take longer to sell and are often difficult to price. However, these cars can have unexpected value if you find the right buyer.

What about donating it?

If you know anything about me, then you know that I give as much back to the Newnan/Coweta community as I can. In fact, I’m really a big advocate of donating a reliable vehicle in good condition. A donated car is an invaluable tool for those who have difficulty affording one on their own. Although donation can be a laborious process, the benefits far outweigh the minimal amount of time and effort it takes to donate. To make things even easier, look below for a few time saving tips:

1. Avoid middlemen. Numerous for-profit intermediary organizations advertise aggressively on TV, billboards and elsewhere, offering to help you donate your vehicle to charity. Here’s the catch: These organizations typically keep about 50 percent to 90 percent of the vehicle’s value for themselves, and the charities don’t get what they could have gotten.

2. Find a worthy charity. If the charities you normally support aren’t equipped to accept such donations, do some homework until you find a reputable charity that is. You can research charities’ track records online at this Better Business Bureau site and through Charity Navigator.

3. Check the math. If you still feel compelled to use an intermediary organization – possibly because you’re busy – at least ask the organization how much of the car will go to charity. If the organization simply gives charities flat fees — say, $100 for a used vehicle regardless of its value, or $2,000 a month — your donation may not be eligible for a tax deduction.

4. Know the status of your recipient. In order for you to qualify for a deduction, the charity that gets your donation must be an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) organization. Your church, synagogue, mosque or temple likely qualifies. (Check first just to make sure.)

5. Do the delivery yourself. Once you’ve identified a worthy charity, recognize that it will have to pay someone to pick up your car for you. To help the charity maximize the benefit of your donation, drop the car or boat off yourself.

6. Transfer the vehicle with care. Formally re-title the vehicle to the charity, and report the transfer to your state’s department of motor vehicles or licensing. Never agree to leave the ownership space on the charity donation papers blank.

7. Be detail-oriented. This paper trail may seem cumbersome, but think about it: This may be one of the biggest charitable donations you ever make. By taking the time to dot the i’s, you can make sure that the charity gets the most benefit and you get the biggest possible deduction.

I don’t have to explain this one. No one wants to inherit or buy garbage. Be honest. If it’s junk, it belongs in the junk yard.
Who’s had experience donating a car before? Can anyone offer more advice?

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