Is It Time to Make a Donation?

Should you sell your car, or should you Make a Donation? ... Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from

When it comes to get a new car, new truck, new riding mower or a whole host of other such vehicles, is trading in your current vehicle a given?

In some instances, a trade might be in your best interests from a financial standpoint. In other cases, you may not get the price you are seeking on your trade.

If the latter event happens, you do always have the option of selling your vehicle (no matter what kind it is) privately, though that can cause some concern on a number of fronts.

For starters, you’re now responsible for all the required paperwork (see more below). Secondly, you have to set aside time and effort to advertise (see more below) the vehicle, not to mention meet up with potentially a number of interested buyers.

On the plus side of selling privately, you have more control over pricing and the timing of when you unload your vehicle, though the responsibility is still heavier on your shoulders than a trade-in.

With that in mind, would donating your used vehicle be a better solution?

If you’re in need of money (especially if some or all of it would be going towards your new purchase); then donating is not the best answer.

On the flip side, to make a donation can give you a good feeling, knowing deep down that you are helping someone else out.

Getting a Vehicle Ready to Sell or Donate

In the event you’ve decided to sell or donate a used vehicle (of any kind for that matter), make sure you check-off several necessary items on your list.

These would include:

  • Asking price – The most important part of selling a used vehicle is of course knowing how much you will get in return for it. You can go by pricing vehicles, look up information online, or talk to the experts in the respective industry you are selling from. As with other items you may sell over your lifetime, always tend to ask more in return than what you truly expect to get for the sale. For example, if you think your vehicle is worth approximately $5,000, ask $6K or a little more for it. In many instances, you will then barter down with the prospective buyer, ultimately getting to the original price you thought it was worth;
  • Know your vehicle – Whether selling or donating, the more you know about the intended vehicle being listed, the easier and faster it will be to unload. Using a car or truck manual, a boating manual, cub cadet manuals, do your best (if you don’t already) to know as many ins-and-outs of the vehicle you want to get rid of. That will make it easier for you to answer any questions from prospective buyers, making a sale more likely to take place sooner rather than later. Lastly, always be honest when people come to see you about your vehicle for sale. Just as you would not want someone pulling the wool over your eyes, don’t do that to someone in return;
  • Going the donation route – Along with possibly helping someone else out in need of one form or another of a vehicle, a donation can help you out too. The tax write-off you can be eligible for might even surpass what money you would have received from a buyer. Consult a free online tax tool to see if you are eligible. Be sure to look into the potential tax deduction, along with any paperwork you may need to update with your respective state or local officials. For instance, donating a car means you no longer have ownership of that vehicle, but it is important your state’s DMV gets that information too.

The choice between selling and donating a vehicle can be a tricky one.

Knowing what is in your best financial interests of course is oftentimes the deciding factor.

Sit down and list the pros and cons to both, seeing where you may benefit the most when all is said and done.

You might also check with family and friends (including co-workers) to see what choices they have made over the years in similar circumstances.

In the end, whatever choice you make, note that you likely now have taken possession of a newer vehicle, be it brand new or used.