What do charities do with all those donated used vehicles?

I am sure that you have heard the ads. Donate your old beater of a car to this charity or that and you get a tax deduction that may be worth as much or more than you could get by selling it. They will even come and tow it away for you if need be.

My question is what do these charities do with these cars? I have seen some of the one donated and they are really bad. Do they fix them up and sell them or strip them for parts or is it something else?

A related question is what do car dealerships do with crappy trade-ins when they have one of those “push it in or tow it in” trade-in specials, $2000 guaranteed.

The car dealerships probably send the trade-ins to the junk yard.

The charaity I am vaguely awar of (Rawhide Boy’s Ranch) I think uses the cards for training purposes. That is, give the boys some real world mechanical experience. (There were a lot of old lawn mower engines in my high school shop clas) What, if anything they do with the fixe dup cars I dunno. demolition derby?


Car dealerships will usually sell the vaguely decent cars they get on those trade-in deals at auction. If not, they will trash them.

Of course, they don’t lose any money on these deals, because they jack up the price of the car and/or payments to cover the money they “put up” on the trade.

A few months ago we donated a wreck to one of those charities. A well-known local salvage yard came out to tow it away. The charity got a check for the junk value of the car.

I know of two different uses for cars that have been donated. The organization my brother works for gets a great deal - they get the car, and send it to an auction lot. They get a fixed percentage of the resale.

Most other charities send it to an auction lot or a scrap heap, and get a fixed price per car - usually anywhere between $100-$500 for the beaters. Any really nice cars that get donated are usually auctioned off, but that’s a rare occurrance.



I donated my old car the Salvation Army. It wasn’t running at the time, but six months later I got a notice in the mail that it had been abandoned and impounded. I couldn’t believe it was still in my name. So that made me pretty mad.