Totaled car

My wife has a old Toyota. She was hit and it needs a new quarter panel and door. It appears they are not available. She has bought a new car and now we need to dispose of the old one.

I am going to guess that generally the best bet would be a local charity group and take the tax deduction.

Before we drive it down to donate it (yea it still drives but the driver’s door will not open) are there any better alternatives that we have not thought of?


I would say check with your local rescue missions, but they probably aren’t any better than the charity you have in mind.

Personally, I would be tempted to make it into a project, and consider installing the engine on a street legal dune buggy, or making it into a rear engine three wheel motorcycle.


Since the car’s probably not worth much more than scrap value, what if you scrapped the car and then made a cash contribution? Depending on the scope of the charity, it may be a better scenario for both parties. I also believe the tax laws have changed on deductions for vehicle donations–you can’t take a deduction based on an agreed value of the car; the charity must resell the car (or use it for a period of time, something like 2 years) and then your deduction is determined at that point. A cash donation is simple and straightforward.

Years ago I worked for a non-profit that was donated a boat. I was the only boat owner on the staff and advised against it, but we accepted it anyway. The boat was in terrible shape structurally, we couldn’t find a use or a buyer for it, and ultimately the boat was stored, then cut up and hauled away, at our expense.

Be aware that laws have changed regarding tax deductions for vehicle donations. You can’t just deduct the blue book value anymore - you can only claim what the vehicle is actually worth.

Depending on year some Celicas are fairly high demand cars. Perhaps this is a good Voc Tec or HS auto shop project car. Given time a used door should be available somewhere in the salvage parts world. Removing and attempting to straighten the current door could be a good learning experience for body shop training.

It seems Celica’s are like the Eveready Energizer Bunny, “they keep going and going”.

Good point, UT - what year Celica? If it’s rear wheel drive it could still have some value.

Covered By Collision Insurance ?

Every time somebody has hit and totaled one of our cars, I’ve had two options.
Take a settlement from insurance and they dispose of the car.
Take a settlement minus “salvage value” and I keep the car.

I’ve always kept the car because like your’s the damage was body in nature and not mechanical.

One car I fixed in the driveway myself for about $200 (used bumper, new brackets) and kept almost $2000 for myself (with the blessings of the insurance company).

Last one I had that was hit in the rear door and rear 1/4 panel by a drunk while my wife was in it, I located a used door ($90 and same color !) and hung it myself in about 20 minutes. The 1/4 panel damage was so bad that you could see the sky from the back seat by looking between the door and body. I contracted a local body shop to splice a used 1/4 panel section. When they finished you couldn’t tell it had been damaged.

I kept the left over money (almost $1000) for my trouble and took the car to the insurance company and had it photographed and inspected so that they would restart the collision insurance.

I have found that shops will work more with customers on price and procedures fixing a car than with insurance company estimates.

I’ll just betcha that used parts are available for your wife’s car. Remember, I once managed a body shop (not one of my fondest memories).

Insurance or no insurance, you can probably have the car fixed at reasonable cost. Some Community Colleges teach body repair and some work on customer cars.


If any part of the door FRAME is deformed, it’s junk…List it on craigslist as a parts car. The engine and transmission are worth more than you think. Insist the buyer take the entire car and pay CASH…

Thanks Caddyman. I don’t know why I did not think of Craigslist. I’ll get it on there today.

Sorry for your mishap and glad no injuries. My charity of choice would be the local DAV (Disabled Vets). They’ll give you the same donation slip and come tow it away if they need to. If you are looking for money of course, then Craigslist I guess, but usually I just want to get rid of them and cancel the insurance.