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CAP Vehicle Retirement Program or Car Donation?

Choosing to replace your vehicle is a big decision and deciding how to get rid of your car can feel like an overwhelming challenge. From the Consumer Assistance Program for Vehicle Retirement to donating a car to charity, you have many options for letting go of the vehicle you no longer need.

Getting Rid of Your Unwanted Vehicle

You may be downsizing your own car or were declared the executor of a will. If you’ve had a death in the family you have scores of responsibilities, possibly including an endless supply of belongings that need to be discarded or passed on to a new owner.

Sometimes you just need to find a company that picks up junk. But when one of your duties is to figure out what to do with an old car, there’s more cause for consideration.

Often an executor makes thousands of decisions about everything from canceling appointments to preparing a house for sale. On top of the work involved, they are dealing with the emotional toll that losing a loved one can take. When you’re responsible for liquidating everything a deceased individual owned, it helps to find a process that makes it easy for you by taking the reins and seeing the job through to its finish.

If it’s your own car that needs a new home, you still have a number of options – the challenge is finding the one that’s best for you and your lifestyle. Some of it depends on the condition of the vehicle you no longer need. cap2

Letting go of a used car is a process that some people begin years before they’re ready to pull the trigger and make a change. If you can count on one hand the number of vehicles you’ve ever owned, you may not know what to do with your old car.

The choice you make will depend on your current finances and who you want to benefit from the value of your vehicle.

Donating a Car to Charity

If your accountant reminds you, year after year, that you need more tax-deductible entries to your tax portfolio, you may benefit from a car donation program. You can only write off so much when you clean out your closets and donate clothing and housewares to a charity. But when you donate a car to charity you can give a favorite nonprofit a significant boost.

To get rid of a car fast, you want to turn to someone who is seasoned in the business. You need a company that knows the IRS requirements as well as the steps for selling auto donations, including how much money for an old car is the right amount to ask.

Cars2Charities has supported hundreds of nonprofits over the last three decades, processing car donations to supply food banks, support children, fund research and save animals, as well as many other great causes.

We live in a generous country. According to an article by The Conversation, Americans give approximately $410 billion per year as individuals, corporations, estates and foundations to benefit nonprofits that range from environmental causes to educational institutions.

You may also be giving volunteer time to a favorite cause. And it’s nice to find a situation that enables you to benefit them further – through a vehicle donation to charity.

Donating vs. Buyback Programs

There are similarities between car donations and vehicle buyback programs. Your situation may lead you toward good reasons to look into options such as the California buyback program. If your old car meets the necessary requirements, you get the job done, plus it’s an ecologically sound option because it gets older models off the road.

Vehicle donations contribute to the environment as well, in that they are a form of recycling, just like passing on our household items and clothing via means such as Poshmark or thrift store donations.

cap5They are both possibilities when you consider how to get rid of an old car for money. A car donation transfers that value to a charity, while a buyback program can put some cash in your hand.

You may know people who have taken part in a U.S. car rebate system or a related program in their home state. Sometimes government agencies such as Air Quality Management Districts buy back vehicles. One of the main criteria, however, is how much money for an old car you can receive.

Buyback programs may not accept a vehicle that doesn’t work. If your car needs such features as external battery boosters and jumper cables, you are sometimes precluded from such a program. Read the fine print for details such as requiring you to be able to limp the car to a designated location, as long as it can move forward at least a certain number of yards without help.

It’s a good idea to begin by checking the features of the program near you. You may be steered toward car donation or choose a government buyback option, depending on your situation.

CAP Vehicle Retirement Program

The Consumer Assistance Program for Vehicle Retirement is a government buyback option in California to benefit specific residents. CAP was formed to improve California’s air quality, so it installs programs that reduce emissions, including repair and retirement of vehicles that create high levels of pollution.

Through the CAP program, consumers with a limited income can receive $1,500 for retiring their vehicle and people with a higher income can receive $1,000. To obtain the higher dollar amount for your old car you have to meet the household income requirement, which is less than or equal to 225% of the Federal poverty level.

There are further specifications for how to get rid of a car through this program. You are required to take the used car to a Bureau of Automotive Repair-contracted dismantler after completing an application process. The applications are available online or through the mail. There is an online calculator to see if you meet the criteria before you even investigate further. Part of the calculation includes the number of people living in your household.cap3

If going online isn’t available to you, there’s an option to apply by mail. To get a physical application mailed to you, contact the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Consumer Information Center at (800) 952-5210. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., excluding state holidays. 

If you need more information, contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair at (866) 272-9642. Agents are available to answer calls Monday through Friday from 8:10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for state holidays.

Junk Your Old Car

Another option when you consider how to get rid of an old car for money is to find an auto junk yard, sometimes referred to as a recycling center for cars. Not only is it a convenient way to get the job done, it’s an ecological one.

Your car may be falling apart, but its individual parts may still have value. If you discover rust, or if it’s not running in a reliable way, it doesn’t mean you have no options. Sometimes the sum of a used car has a lower value than its individual parts. In fact, there can be a tremendous difference between what someone would pay to buy your old car and the amount someone would pay for a part of your car they desperately need for a repair.

When you decide what to do with your old car and seek out a junk yard, you may want to do some research. It helps when you know the value of your old car. Junk yards accept a range of vehicles and they assess the value of their parts, from batteries to tire rims. These centers receive cars that are unwanted or damaged and use their separate parts for sale or refurbishment.cap4

When you take your old car to a junk yard, you need to check for your state’s regulations regarding the title of your car. The process may be different for each region.

In every case, however, you need to tell the Department of Motor Vehicles about the change in car ownership. Check to see how the title is to be processed whether it’s sold, donated, traded or salvaged.

When you get to the point of needing to upsize, downsize or update the vehicle you’re driving, deciding how to get rid of your car is a major part of the process. You may choose to donate a car to charity, seek a junk yard or you may be eligible for the CAP Vehicle Retirement Program. The best-case scenario for what to do with your old car depends on your situation and your own priorities.