How to Donate a Car in California

How to Donate a Car in California: A Step-by-Step Guide

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If you have an old car that you no longer need, you might be wondering what to do with it. One option is to donate it to a charity in California.

Donating a car can be a great way to get rid of a vehicle you no longer want, while also helping a charitable organization. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to donate a car in California.

Step 1: Choose a Charity to Donate Your Car To

The first step in donating a car is to choose a charity to donate it to. There are many charities in California that accept car donations, so it’s important to do some research to find one that aligns with your values and mission. Some popular charities that accept car donations in California include:

  • The American Cancer Society
  • The American Red Cross
  • The Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • The Salvation Army
  • Habitat for Humanity

Before choosing a charity, make sure to check their eligibility requirements for car donations. Some charities may only accept cars that meet certain criteria, such as being in good condition or being a certain age.

Step 2: Gather Information About Your Car

Once you’ve chosen a charity to donate your car to, you’ll need to gather information about your vehicle. This information will be used to complete the donation paperwork and to determine the value of your car for tax purposes. Here’s a list of the information you’ll need to provide:

  • The make and model of your car
  • The year your car was manufactured
  • The current mileage of your car
  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your car
  • Any damage or mechanical issues your car may have
  • Whether or not your car is currently running

Step 3: Contact the Charity to Arrange the Donation

After you’ve gathered all the necessary information about your car, you’ll need to contact the charity to arrange the donation. Some charities have online donation forms you can fill out, while others require you to call or email to initiate the donation process.

When you contact the charity, make sure to have all the information about your car ready, as well as any questions you may have about the donation process.

Step 4: Complete the Donation Paperwork

Once you’ve arranged the donation with the charity, you’ll need to complete the donation paperwork. This paperwork will transfer ownership of the vehicle from you to the charity and will also include information about the value of the car for tax purposes.

Make sure to read the paperwork carefully and ask the charity any questions you may have before signing.

Step 5: Arrange for the Car to Be Picked Up

After you’ve completed the donation paperwork, you’ll need to arrange for the car to be picked up by the charity. Some charities have their own towing services, while others work with third-party towing companies.

Make sure to discuss the pickup process with the charity and provide them with any necessary information, such as the location of the vehicle and access instructions.

Step 6: Receive Your Tax Receipt

Once the charity has received your car and completed the necessary paperwork, they’ll provide you with a tax receipt. This receipt will include the value of the car, which you can use to claim a tax deduction on your next tax return.

Make sure to keep the tax receipt in a safe place, as you’ll need it to claim the deduction.


Donating a car to a charity in California can be a great way to get rid of an old vehicle while also supporting a good cause. By following these six steps, you can ensure that your car donation process goes smoothly and that you receive the tax benefits you’re

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