Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for our vehicle donation program.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for our vehicle donation program.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for our vehicle donation program.

Pre-Donation FAQS

Are Kelley Blue Book and CARS affiliated?

CARS and Kelley Blue Book have teamed up to offer you a convenient way to repurpose your vehicle. CARS is a trusted partner to over 3,500 nonprofits, so you can count on us to guide you through the donation process from start to finish.

What are the benefits of donating my vehicle to a nonprofit?

  • It’s easier and more secure than selling it privately
  • It’s a tax-deductible donation
  • You can support a great cause
  • You can avoid costly repairs which might be needed to sell it or operate it
  • You’ll receive free removal of the vehicle

What types of vehicles do you accept?

We accept all types of vehicles whether they’re running or not, including cars, trucks, trailers, boats, RVs, motorcycles, other heavy equipment and motorized vehicles. Call or visit us online to find out if we’ll accept your vehicle.

Does my car have to be running to donate it?

No, it does not. All vehicles are considered, running or not, because every vehicle can still bring value to a nonprofit. However, it must be in one piece, have an engine, and be towable. Contact a CARS representative at 1-844-688-4483 to find out if your vehicle qualifies for pick-up.

How quickly can I get my vehicle picked up?

In most cases, once the donation record has been created we can schedule the vehicle to be picked-up on the initial call. In other cases, you will receive a call back from our preferred vendor to schedule your pick-up within 2 to 3 days.

Do I need the title to donate my vehicle?

Yes, you will need the title to the vehicle. If you do not have it, it is possible that other arrangements can be made. You can call us toll-free at 1-844-688-4483 seven days a week for more information.

Do I need a smog certificate to donate my car?

No, even for states that require smog certificates or safety inspections, you may still donate your vehicle without these documents.

How can I donate to a nonprofit that's not on the list?

If you don’t see the organization you’re looking for on the list, simply give us a call (1-844-688-4483) and we can work to add your preferred nonprofit to our partner list.

What do you do with donated vehicles?

Donated vehicles are taken to one of the sale locations we have throughout the country. From there, we evaluate each vehicle and make major and/or minor mechanical repairs when it is cost effective. In most circumstances, we use auction houses to sell the donated vehicles. For unique or specialty items that have been donated, we may use other means to sell the vehicle to help ensure the maximum amount of funds are received for each donation.

How do I know my donation is going to a credible organization?

CARS is an ISO 9001 certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit, owned by a nonprofit, and we are only able to accept donations for verified nonprofits and 501(c)(3) organizations. We have earned a AAA Better Business Bureau rating for 10 years in a row.

Will I get the same sale price that I saw on Kelley Blue Book?

According to the IRS Guidelines, you may claim fair market value for your donation: “Fair market value is the price a willing buyer would pay and a willing seller would accept…” The majority of vehicles are sold through local auctions. We work to get the highest return per vehicle for you and the nonprofit, but there's no guarantee that you'll get the same sale price you saw on Kelley Blue Book.

DMV FAQS

What type of paperwork will I need to donate my car?

You will need a clear title. Any lien holder listed on the title must be cleared and/or released by the bank. This law varies by state. Please follow up with your local Motor Vehicle Division for details.

Do I need to remove my license plates?

This law varies by state. In most states, you should remove the license plate and return it to the DMV. In other states such as California, the license plate must remain with the vehicle. Please refer to the DMV in your state for clear instructions.

What if I do not have the title?

You may need to contact your state DMV for instructions on how to obtain a new title. You will need a title to complete the donation process; however, most states offer convenient title replacement options. Please give us a call if you have questions 1-844-688-4433.

Does my title need to be notarized?

Some states do require the title or transfer forms to be notarized, please check with your state DMV for clarification.

What if the title is not in my name?

Contact your state DMV for directions on how to transfer the title into your name.

Do I need to notify the DMV when I donate my vehicle?

Depending on the state, you may or may not need to fulfill State Notification Requirements to prove that you are no longer the registered owner of your vehicle now that it’s been donated. Many states have specific State Notification Requirements and these requirements tend to differ from state to state. For example, some states may require the license plates be returned to the DMV, while others require a Release of Liability or a Notice of Sale/Transfer be submitted. Many states require the notification be completed within a specific timeframe. Please follow up with your state’s Motor Vehicle Division for details.

What if there is a problem with my car after it's donated?

After we have picked up the vehicle, we take full responsibility. In the rare event that you receive any notification of a lien sale, DMV actions, infractions, evasions or other activity related to your donated vehicle, please contact us at 1-844-866-4483 immediately for assistance. Please note that you are liable for all fines/fees related to your vehicle prior to the pick-up. To get answers for your specific DMV questions, please refer to the DMV in your state for clear instructions.

TAX RELATED QUESTIONS

What tax forms will I receive?

You will receive an initial donation receipt from our tow driver at the time of your vehicle pickup. You will then be mailed a tax receipt within 30 days of the sale of the vehicle. This acknowledgement will indicate your name as well as the year, make, model, and VIN. It will be your only receipt if your vehicle sells for less than $500.

If your vehicle sells for more than $500, and your tax identification number has been provided, an "IRS Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes" will be mailed to you within 30 days of the sale stating the amount of gross proceeds received from your donation. You will need to file this form with the IRS in order to claim a tax deduction for your vehicle donation.

How is the value of my tax deduction determined?

The value is determined by the gross proceeds raised from the sale of the donated vehicle. You no longer have the burden of determining the value yourself. The nonprofit organization will report the gross proceeds raised from the sale of the vehicle to the donor and IRS.