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The Car Donation Process: Ask our expert, Jacquie!

Ask Jacquie: “How does the car donation process work?”

The car donation process is easy!  Many donors ask it they must be present to donate a car. The answer is usually no: if you have the signed title and can leave it in the glove box or someplace for the driver to pick it up, then you do not have to be there. Most tow companies can pick up your car without a key, however, you will want to look high and low for it because your car will usually sell for more money at the auction if you have a key. That means you get a higher tax receipt when you donate the car and your favorite charity gets more of the proceeds.This means you get a higher tax receipt when you donate the car, and your favorite charity gets more of the proceeds.

Center for Car Donations will pick up your donated car and signed title then send you a tow receipt. Once the car sells, you will receive a thank you letter . If your vehicle sells for me than $500 request for your social security number so we can prepare a tax receipt pursuant to IRS tax code. In some states, you must have your title notarized, so you may have to do that ahead of time.

The car you donate does not have to be registered to complete the car donation process. Since cars are sold at dealer auctions, the dealer will process the paperwork, and the DMV will issue a fresh title to the new buyer. If you have any old tickets or fees on the car, you may still be liable for them, but often the new buyer will be responsible for bringing the registration on the car current.

Sometimes, if a car is old and non-operational, it will go to a scrap yard in which case the registration will not be an issue. You will be required to be the title holder or have a signed title in order to donate your vehicle. If you have any questions about the donation process or if your car qualifies, it is best to call 877-411-3662 and speak to a representative about your own situation. Just remember, even an old car that has not been registered in years and has been sitting can be turned into proceeds for your favorite nonprofit. .

Signing your title is the most important part of the car donation process. If you sign it incorrectly, it could take months to get it corrected. We recommend that, when you make arrangements to pick your donated vehicle, you speak with our title specialist at the auction company before signing the title. They can walk you through every step of the process.

If you’re donating a vehicle in North Carolina or Pennsylvania, you will need to have your title notarized. This can be done at a bank or at a mail house like Mailboxes, etc. Before you have your title notarized, make sure you have spoken with the auction company to determine where your title needs to be signed. See this page for more information on donating in Pennsylvania.

You can go to and view the list of charities to determine where you would like your donation to go. Or, if you have a particular nonprofit you would like to support but you do not see it on our list, feel free to let Center for Car Donations know.  We will contact that nonprofit and get them signed up to accept vehicle donations.

If you have any questions about the car donation process, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 877.411.3662.  We are always happy to walk you through the process.

Center for Car Donations car donation process