My husband bought a used Toyota Camry to put miles on driving back and forth across town for his work car. He drove it for three years and it served its purpose for us, he was able to save 30,000 miles from being put on our newer cars. The Camry was in great physical condition but we did not know anyone who wanted to buy the car and since we were not buying a new car, trading it in was not an option.

When you try to sell a used car you deal with a ton of headache. You have to clean and detail your car, take pictures of it and try to make it look its best. You have to pay to post your car online or in the paper. You need a phone number just for people to call to ask questions about the vehicle so you don’t need to give out your home phone number. Once people ask you a million questions about the car then they want to come look at it, now you have to give strangers your home address. Now you have to arrange a time and make sure you are home to have strangers come over look at the car and then hope they actually show up and that you did not stay home for no reason. If they do show up they kick the tires, ask a million other questions and search every square inch of the car engine to trunk. Then if they like the car, then you need to let strangers drive your car. Now with your insurance, you have to trust that a stranger is not going to crash your car, steal your car by driving away and never coming back, you have to worry that they are going to beat on it to see how it runs, and then ruin the engine so now you are stuck with a car that is broken. If they really are interested and they don’t break your car, they might ask to show it to a mechanic, so you have to make time to bring the car to their mechanic, and even if it gets a clean bill of health, there is no guarantee they buy it. Then if they are really interested then it is time to haggle over price, they will point out every ding and scratch on your used car and try to get you to agree to a lower price.

Now if you finally agree to a price there is the method of payment, you can’t accept personal checks, you need a cashiers check or cash, but you have to worry that it is counterfeit cash or a fake cashiers check. Now if they actually pay you legitimately you sign over the title to them and need to create a sold “as is” contract so they don’t come back to sue you if the car breaks down in a month or just stops running. Then there is the matter of the title. You have to hope that they actually transfer the title over into their own name and address so that if they use it as a getaway car or hit and run someone, that is not still listed under your name the police don’t come knocking at your door. I know people that have dealt with every one of these things when selling a used car.

We wanted to avoid all of that drama associated with selling our car and even considered selling it to a junkyard so that we did not have to deal with strangers and we would then get $200-$300 for it. I called around that is what the junkyards offered me.

Then I came up with the idea that we could donate it! Then I had to research to find a legitimate local charity that I could donate it to.

We grew up owning a cabin right next to Camp Courage for the Courage Center so I was familiar with the great work Courage Center does for handicapped children and adults that is why I chose Courage Center. I researched online to find out the steps I needed to take to donate the car. I needed to contact the Courage Center to make sure they would take it, Then I filled out the online form that was printable off their website, I pulled the title out of the file cabinet, had my husband sign it over, then I brought the completed donation form along with the original signed over title to the post office and mailed it priority mail return receipt requested. I did that to ensure my car title was actually received and not lost in the mail. Within two days of receiving my title the courage center sent a tow truck to pick up the Camry. The Camry was sent to auction and the proceeds from the sale of the car all went to Courage Center. The Courage Center recieved a couple thousand dollars for our car and we received a personal thank you call and the tax deductible paperwork in the mail within 6 weeks. It worked slick!

I think vehicle donation was a fantastic alternative to selling our car or selling our car to a junkyard. The sale of our car benefited a local charity in my state, and hopefully helped send a handicapped child to camp. Consider donating your car!

If you live in Minnesota and want to donate your vehicle to the Courage Center here is a link.