We’ve all seen the commercial where a key falls out of a stocking on Christmas morning and the husband and wife run out onto their snowy driveway – three pajama-clad children in tow – to find a shiny new car festooned with a large red bow. What they failed to show you is the old, beat up minivan sitting in the family’s garage. What to do with that?
If this holiday fantasy becomes a reality this year (or anytime), there are a number of ways to divest your self of that old vehicle. We suggest donating it! Even if you couldn’t get a dime for the old car’s proposed trade-in, it’s still worth a serious chunk of change.
If your old car has sentimental value, or if you’re thinking of keeping it for one of your kids who will be driving in a few years, consider this: the car will likely be driven only once every few weeks, but you will still pay plenty in car insurance and registration fees, and there are hazardous chemicals that can leak out of a stationary car, polluting the ground water and other water sources close to your home.
About 98 percent of a car can be recycled and there are lots of organizations, such as Charity Car, that will pick up your old car and sell it to a car recycling facility. They even prepare all the paperwork for you. All you do is pick a local charity to which you would like to donate the funds. Not only will you help a school, church or other non-profit in need, but you’ll also make a positive impact on the environment, as the auto recycling industry saves and reuses more than 11 million gallons of oil each year.
There are lots of companies that will facilitate the donation process for you, but it’s important to make sure the one you choose is reputable. For every legitimate organization, there’s another one taking advantage of the system, keeping most of the profits for themselves. One important tip: make sure you can transfer the title of your car to the company facilitating the donation so the DMV doesn’t hold you responsible for the vehicle.