Seeking advice on giving away my car

I have a car that is 20+ year old runs fine, looks good, and has been well maintained. KBB value is only around $600. It runs fine and has been reliable. However, I’d feel guilty if I sold it for a couple hundred dollars and it happened to break down on the new owner in the first month (even though it’s “as is”). Also it’s not worth it to me to deal with all the calls, the time wasters, the test drives, etc. So I thought I’d just give the car away free to someone in my local area.

Have you ever given away a good car for free? How did you do it, or how would you do it? I plan to give the car to someone I don’t know and will never see again. That way I’m not accused of favoritism.

Do you simply sign over the car title and hand over the keys? Or is a written contract still needed?

Should I make the official handover at a DMV where the new owner will first have to register the car in his/her name immediately? (I don’t want future city parking tickets or red light camera photos being sent to me).

OR is it much simpler to give the car to an official charity and let them take care of all those details?

I’ve never given a car away but I would suggest contacting your church, the Salvation Army, and maybe some others in your area, and let them know you have a car to give away. Every once in a while our church is looking for a car for someone. Sometimes the people are in desperate need of a car for transportation to work and so on. The other option is the Disabled Vets. They take cars, running or not and get what they can for them to pay for their programs.

You just do it the same way you would for a sale. Might want to make it a dollar so that there is some money transfer. Its easier to explain $1 than zero. Give them the dollar if you want. See the other thread on selling a car and definately go to the DMV and have it transfered and indicate AS IS Where Is on the receipt. Leave it up to the charity if they have someone on the line or not but I’d think you’d want to avoid transfering it twice.

Bing has given you very good advice.
I can tell you that the tax authorities in your state will be VERY suspicious of a title transfer with no payment involved.

Back in 1973, we transferred title of a car from my father to me (it was actually my car, and had originally been registered in his name just for insurance purposes), and we did the transfer for the sum of $1.00. Several months later, the Treasury Department of my state sent me a letter stating that they were seeking sales tax on the full book value of the car. I had to fill out a legal document stating the exact reasons for the “below book value” sale of the car, and had to have it notarized prior to submitting it to the Treasury Dept.

Make sure that you sell it for at least one dollar, and then be prepared to have to explain why it was sold for less than book value.

I agree with VDC and Bing.
Some states only allow the buyer to not pay sales tax if you can prove he/she is a close relative. Check your state’s DMV website.

If it was me I would prefer a bonifide charity. That assures no chance of any troubles. I donated a boat and trailer to a charity, I understand not wanting to deal with the hassle of selling it. You can even donate it to NPR!

+1 for @Barkydog .

Dunno…it’s still “your money,” even if you’re giving it away…I’d want a little more personal control on who gets what and why.

My beef with “non-profits” is that often they’re “NPINO”…in name only. I did moving work for one NP charity (name withheld), and I was amazed at all the donated stuff they furnished the place with, all the unpaid “community service” labor they employed for the move, and the fact that all employees and boss seemed to be living pretty darn fat.

many churches have a close relationship with the truly needy. they often know of a single mom or family who have hit hard times and your car would be a blessing to them. they often have a mechanic as a member who would check it out and tune it up out of kindness

Giving away an old car is more difficult than giving away kittens when you forgot to have your cat spayed. With kittens, we would throw a party for our elementary age son. We would invite all his friends and give away kittens as prizes for winning games to his friends. After the party, we would immediately leave town for at least two weeks.
I had the same problem with an old car. I gave it to my son when he went to college, but it bounced back to us after a year. The car was a 30 year old 1978 Cutlass Salon with the 4-4-2 trim package (it didn’t have a big engine, only the 260 V-8. It just had a 2 barrel carburetor and single exhaust system as well as an automatic transmission). I thought I had given it to a person in an old car club, but he came back with it the next day. In December of 1995, I tried to trade the car in on a 1993 Oldsmobile 88, but the dealer sold me the car for less money straight out than what he wanted for the trade-in. It would have cost me $300 to trade in the car over what I paid cash for the 1993 Olds straight out. I did get 8 more years out of the old car, however. Finally, when the car was 33 years old, we were talking to our neighbor and he told us that a dolly he used to pull his car behind his RV had been stolen from the driveway. My wife said that if he found the thief to send him to our house to steal the Oldsmobile. The neighbor then asked if we were willing to sell the car as his son needed transportation because he had just returned from military service in Iraq. We sold him the car for what it was worth as scrap and our neighbor’s son got over a year’s use from the car.
I think @Bing and @Barkydog have given you the best advice.

I donated cars to St Vincent de Paul in 2003 and in 2006 . They picked it up and took care of all the paperwork. The only thing I needed to do on my own was send a ‘Release of Liability’ to the DMV - which they gave me to complete.

St Vincent de Paul sells the cars at auction. I’m assuming that’s what all charities do. In my case they later sent me a statement of the amount the car sold for, which I could have used for a charitable tax deduction.

That’s the best way to deal with your situation, in my opinion.

Give it to your favorite charity and they will take care of it. When they sell the car, they will send you a receipt that you use for taxes. You are no longer able to deduct the market value that you assign to the car unless you give it to a charity that uses the car (does not sell it). This is usually the case when they give it to someone so that they have transportation to work. Check around for such a charity in your area. Since your car ruins, it is a candidate for this type of donation.

My brother gave a car away to a charity that was recommended by his church.Two years later he gets a call from the washington D.C. police saying they found “his” car abandoned in downtown D.C.
They said they found him by checking the motor vehicle records and he was the last registered owner of the vehicle.apparently the charity he gave it to never registered the vehicle in their name and whoever they gave the car to never registered it in their name either.

I guess my point is just be careful who you give the car to.

@TARDREX We have had a number of car sale scams posted, so sad the criminals are reaping the benefits of the regular peeps

One option is to give it to a local high school or college that offers an auto shop or auto technician training program. I’d tend to lean in that direction as my first choice. Ask the local high schools and junior colleges if they are interested. Your car might be used to train dozens of new car techs. Good karma.

My brother gave a car in good running condition to his local NPR radio station. It was reliable, blew cold air, had good tires, but had burnt up paint and wasn’t worth squat. It wasn’t even worth the hassle to list the car for sale

He got a tax deduction, and he submitted an online release of liability to the DMV

Whatever happened to that car afterwards is of no concern to him

in Delaware there is a section at the bottom of the title that you tear off and mail in upon saleofvehicle. it s good advice to report the sale to motor vehicle authority in your state

I agree with others here that said to talk with your local pastor, or someone who might know of a needy person that needs a break.

Also think hard and you might think of someone…maybe a single mother that is in dire need of a ride. I know a girl right now that if I had a car to give away…I’d give it to her. I know she’s spent a lot putting her daughter thru cosmotology school, and she right now has two broken down cars.

Maybe you can thinkl of someone like this. JUst be sure that you emphasize that they will be responsible for repairs and maintainence.


Just to be on a safe side you can sell it for a dollar and certainly want to make sure the title gets transferred at the DMV.
You do not want getting notices for unpaid parking tickets or red light running while the car is still under your name.
Or donation works as well, I donated cars to reputable charity and they do take care of the paperwork.