Both Goodwill and the national Kidney Foundation take donations of cars and will receipt you the blue book value -- regardless of physical condition -- for a tax write-off. My brother donated his car to the Kidney Foundation, and they nicely sent out a tow truck to pick it up and took care of all of the paperwork for the transfer of title and other such minutiae. It was a very painless process, just required a couple of phone calls and a couple of signatures.
On Saturday, my partner & I became the owners of a new '04 Honda Civic Hybrid (5-speed). Exciting? Yes. Scary? Most definitely.
We traded in my beloved '94 Saturn SL1 (5-speed) for $200 - a favour to us, really, because it needed at least $3,300 worth of work within the next few months to keep running (tires, clutch, bracket) and its Kelley Blue Book value was nonexistent.
The Saturn was my first new car, the first car I ever bought and owned. It traveled with me all over the country as I relocated - Portland to Vegas to Boston to Madison. It carried me on various other cross-country trips, including the Summer 2000 baseball extravaganza to all the American League parks (plus some NL parks thrown in for good measure).
My Saturn and my cat have been my babies, my prized companions for 10 years. And letting it go was not easy. Lots of emotions tied up in that hunk of dark grey metal with the bent wheel rim. I knew I'd have to trade it in eventually, but I didn't think that time would come so soon. It gave me a good ten years, 132,000+ miles, and lots of memories. What more could I ask?
And for several years, I've claimed that my next car would be a hybrid - better gas mileage, cleaner emissions, more in line with my political and ideological desire to move away from reliance on cars and gas for transportation. So even though the Civic Hybrid was a bit expensive (relatively speaking - $22K with extended warranty), it felt like the right choice, especially now that my partner and I are a 1-car couple and share the expenses.
But it's not an easy decision, no matter how ya rationalize it. So good luck to you & Dan on making that purchase sometime soon (like next weekend...)
I'm all about the used car thing. Right now I'm driving an '86 Volvo wagon and eyeing up my options for replacing it. But there's no way I could spring for a new car; I just can't stomach the instant drop in value when I drive it off the lot.
Some battered women's shelters accept car donations as well -- and they'll give you a receipt for its value (at least they do that here). I've heard from one friend who donated there that they were especially grateful to have one which at least ran so the women could have something to run errands in or go on job applications without tying up the center's other vehicles. Just a thought.
Also, on the used car thingie, a lot of people don't know that eventually, those used cars are recycled. Every bit of them. One of the nation's largest car recyclers is one of our clients and they use ever part of it -- shredding the car for metal, separating the valuable metals out from the iron (because while they're both recycled, they're processed differently). Even the tires and the dashboards are used. There are junk shops around which may keep an old car until they've sold all its useful parts off, but then it'll be sold to the recycler, who'll shred it to a tiny pile of useful metals and then all of that is shipped back off to manufacturers.
Just thought you'd want to know.
Dreama, Toni, thanks for the donation ideas. I like both the Kidney Foundation and the battered woman's shelter idea. Especially the women's shelter -- if we can find one, that's a great idea, because the Corolla we'll be giving away still runs well. (Actually, both cars do. They just don't work for our life anymore.)
JMS, congratulations! And good for you, going for a hybrid! We looked at the Prius hybrid but it's not big enough for a primary car for us. But it's on my wish list for a second car when we're ready. In fact it pretty much IS the wish list. (And I'll get back to you on the "goodbye, old car with lots of memories" part.)
Cait, I know the feeling. Been there too. If we lean toward anything but the Sienna, I'll be thinking used. But the Sienna is majorly redesigned this year, and in crucial ways. So we may bite the bullet. Besides, part of me wants to be the first one, to imprint the brand new baby car. At least once in my life. It's a ridiculous and impractical desire but there it is.