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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's for our vehicle donation program.

  1. Pre-Donation Faqs
  2. DMV Questions
  3. Tax Questions

Pre-Donation FAQS

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

  • You may reduce your taxable income when taxes are itemized.
  • You can avoid the costs associated with selling your car such as advertising.
  • There is no loss of privacy or possible security risk.
  • You will no longer need to pay for insurance or car repairs to keep your car in running condition while you wait for a buyer, and in some circumstances vehicle registration isn't required.

Can I donate to a nonprofit not listed on your website?

Yes! Just fill out the secure donation form and include the name and address of your favorite nonprofit, and we will contact them for approval of the donation.

What types of vehicles do you accept?

We accept most cars, trucks, trailers, boats, RV's, motorcycles, off road vehicles, heavy equipment and other motorized vehicles.

Does my car have to be running to donate it?

We can take your vehicle running or not. However, it must be in one piece, have an engine, and be towable. Contact a CARS representative at 855-500-RIDE (7433) to find out if your vehicle qualifies for pick-up.

How quickly can I get my vehicle picked up?

You will be contacted within 24 hours to start the donation process. Once the donation record has been created and completed, we will reach out to you within 2 to 3 business days to schedule your pick-up. If you need your vehicle picked up sooner, please call us toll-free at 855-500-RIDE (7433) as we may be able to make those arrangements.

Do I need a smog certificate to donate my car?

For states that require smog certificates or safety inspections, you may donate your vehicle without these documents.

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 855-500-RIDE (7433) seven days a week for more information.

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 money is received for each donation.

  1. Pre-Donation Faqs
  2. DMV Questions
  3. Tax Questions


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.

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 others 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?

Contact your state DMV for directions on how to obtain a new title.

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?

Each state has different criteria on how to notify the DMV. Some states require the license plates to be returned to the DMV and other states may require a Release of Liability to be submitted. Please contact your state DMV for directions on how to notify the state that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle.

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 855-500-RIDE (7433) immediately for assistance. Please note that you are liable for all fines/fees related to your vehicle prior to the pickup. To get answers for your specific DMV questions, please refer to the DMV in your state for clear instructions.

  1. Pre-Donation Faqs
  2. DMV Questions
  3. Tax Questions

Tax Related Questions

How does the law affect my tax deduction?

Donors are not responsible for determining the deductible value of their donation. Instead, they will receive "IRS Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes" if the proceeds from the sale exceed $500, stating the amount of the gross proceeds from the sale of the donated vehicle. The amount listed on IRS Form 1098-C will be the gross proceeds of the deductible donation.

Will my donation count for the year I submit my donation form, even if I don't receive a receipt until the following year?

Yes! As long as you submit your donation form by December 31st for a vehicle with a clear title, you will receive a tax deduction for the same tax year.

How is the value of my vehicle 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.

Will I get a tax receipt for my donation?

Yes. 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.

  1. Pre-Donation Faqs
  2. DMV Questions
  3. Tax Questions