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What are your thoughts about automotive recycling?

Have you donated your car through the Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program, or another program? We’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts right here – and thanks.

Tom and Ray Magliozzi

Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers

I’ve donated a couple of vehicles to an orginization called Kid’s for Courage.

These vehicles are then sent too two recycling yards called U-PULL-R-PARTS. Here you can go into the yards and pull any part you need, and pay about ten cents on the dollar compared to a new/remanufactured part. Half the money earned goes towards helping those children with serious medical conditions, but don’t have the insurance/funds for their required treatment.

People are able to get replacement parts for their vehicles at very reasonable prices, while at the same time, helping those who really need it. So it’s a win-win situation.


In or near Wisconsin, you can donate your car to www.rawhide/org.

Make that

I donated my old chryco van through the local battered and abused womens shelter. I DID enjoy the tax savings, but the real dilemma i had was not looking around for a family that needed a family van and just giving it to them. In the end i decided to go through the shelter, figuring they would screen the family and have a better idea of who really needed it most.

They came and took the van away promptly (with a borrowed dealer plate), I saw it while driving by the place as it was being stored until they gave it away, and subsequently saw it a couple of times on the road.

Unfortunately, I saw the van on the side of the road about four years later. I hope it gave good service until the end.

I’ve done it several times in the past but since they changed the rules on valuation, I won’t donate anything of significant value. You used to be able to claim the fair market value of the donated vehicle. This was open to abuse and I’m sure many people DID overestimate the REAL value of their donation. Hence the change to actual value the charity gets for the vehicle. However, that means you do not know the true value of your donation until they dispose of it. Furthermore, an unscrupulous person could sell your car for well under the real market value and it would be tough nuts to you, that’s all you’re going to be able to claim.

Personally, I prefer to keep them on the road. I like older cars (and yes, I know they aren’t as safe) but by “recycling” an old car into a keeper daily driver I save maybe a ton and a half of steel, plastic, glass, &c &c &c. I realize that this is not for everyone, but it sure works for me!


You’re almost completely right. You can only receive the amount realized from the car–if the charity sells it. If you can find a charity that can actually USE the car, you are still entitled to fair market value on your tax return. And most cars that are sold at a typical auction are sold for a lot less than their fair market value–if they are sold for much at all.

I donated an old Camaro (you could almost R & R the exhaust pipes from inside the car) in 1992 to Volunteers of America and received a credit of $3300 (which I couldn’t take, since I didn’t itemize). I have attended some of their auctions since and seen a lot of cars that did not make their minimum bid of $100. These cars are probably sold to a local junkyard–sorry, automotive recycling facility–for a lot less than $100, which would make the ultimate tax credit a lot less than $100.

If you deal with major charities, they will make a real effort to sell the car at a reasonable price. They want you to donate again and want you to tell your friends what a good deal you got for your donation. I donated three cars. All were in fair to good condition. The tow truck driver was amazed each time at the condition of the car (he could drive them away!). Each time I donated to a charity that helped a neighbor with an affliction. It was a different charity each time. The good feeling I got from helping my friends and similarly effected people was of more value to me than the thousand or two that I might have gotten for my 8-year old cars.

Feeling good is, good. You do know that most if not all of the charities employ outside services to handle all of this donation/recycling business right? How would you feel if the value you thought you were donating to the charity was actually padding the wallets of the people doing the recycling? If I donate a $5000 car, which I have done several times, and the charity ends up with $500 and the rest goes to some clearinghouse operation, I don’t feel so good about my donation. Top that off with the fact I cannot even claim it on my taxes anymore and I’ve got less inclination to donate than before, at least in this fashion. It used to be a better balance of the win-win scenario. This tips the scales against it in my book.

I’ve donated 2 cars to my local high school auto shop. This was some years ago, before the tax rules changed, but even then I didn’t claim more than $200 or $500. If I have another car that I feel has reached its end-of-life, and they have to be pretty much unusable for that, then I may donate to them again. The deduction is not all that important. I figure if a high school still has an auto shop and actually teaches mechanics, it’s worth supporting because so many have disappeared.

I’ve donated three vehicles in the past 20 years to relatives. There doesn’t seem to be any end to relatives that need a car.

We run cars until they are no longer fit to be on the road, and then some:)

Last month we donated our 91 Caravan to the a cancer charity (I can’t remember witch one) It still ran great, but too rusty to repair.

I think it’s a great idea for unloading old junkers, especially where it goes to a good cause, but I won’t part with a car that is still road worthy.

“You do know that most if not all of the charities employ outside services to handle all of this donation/recycling business right?”

Of course. Almost no charity sells the vehicle themselves. But it is in their best interests to develop a long term relationship with a reseller. It is in the reseller’s best interest, too. A good, long term relationship will be built on mutual respect and honest dealing. Why would a charity keep using someone who would cheat them and the donors?

I am having a HUGE problem with Car Talk’s Vehicle Donation program! I was really excited about doing it, since it seemed like the best way to bid a fond farewell to my Chevy S10–I just wasn’t going to shell out for ANOTHER $600 repair, and they were willing to take it, running or not, and my local public radio station would benefit. What could be better?

BUT (and this is a big BUT)

When I sent the form and title to Advanced Remarketing Services, I sent it with explicit instructions NOT to pick it up before 7/22, so I’d be able to get to the lot where it was comfortably resting, and get my years of crap out of it. Also, because the program is active in so many states, I figured they’d know how to handle the plates, etc., since they’re active in Massachusetts, even though the car died in New York.

But nooooo…(apologies to Steve Martin!!)!!!

They took the car a day earlier than I instructed them to, without calling me first. It got taken to an auction place far, far away from any place I live or travel to. Advanced Remarketing Services wouldn’t take responsibility for helping me get my stuff back, and I’ve been wrangling with the auction place myself to get my stuff! Worst of all–they let them take the plates! In MA, you have to return plates!!! The folks at Advanced Remarketing just said that they were in Rhode Island, and so they weren’t familiar with what’s required in MA, and hadn’t bothered to tell the towing/auction company about the need to return the plates to me, or the Commonwealth directly!

So now, I’m just praying that I actually get all my stuff back, and that nothing’s left in there with terribly personal information. But it’s really a tremendous hassle, and not at all what I would have expected from a company dealing with car talk!

Be warned–don’t count on these guys to just handle the vehicle, and make sure you take the plates off yourself before you send them any info on the vehicle. Sad to say, I wouldn’t do this again. Hopefully, with my new-to-me Subaru Baja, I won’t have to think about it for another 150,000 miles.


Jaye in North Adams, MA, by way of Brooklyn, NY.

I’m partial to the Disable American Vets myself. They will pick up and take most everything and use it in whatever way they can. Haven’t donated though but sold the last one for $50 with a full tank of gas to someone that needed it pretty bad. Came with a money back guarantee too and a new $70 battery. Just better when people have to pay something IMHO, helps their self-respect.

I work (unpaid) for a organization that recieves and makes use of donated Vans. Our organization could not operate its recovery program with out these large people movers.The vans come from churches and both our local GM and Ford dealers. We appreciate the communities generosity very much.

I’ve donated 3 cars. They drove all of them away. I’m not sure what happened to the cars, but I suspect that they were sold and continued to be driven. Why would I give away a car that I could drive or sell? Because I wanted to help specific charities that exist to help people I know.

Never donated a vehicle to something this before. I always seem to have a relative that needs a running car.

Sorry to have this post revived but in my own view point, auto recycling is definitely very helpful in our part since we’re able to used damaged parts once again. In fact, not only junkyards do this method but also some auto service centers in United State. Yeah this is a most excellent idea and a good process to work through. However then we can’t deny the fact that many researchers at the top Universities and R and D private groups are working on ways to recycle everything from the foam under the dash boards in cars to the cell phone batteries in your latest mobile video phone.