- 26 Free Car Programs: Ultimate Guide To Getting A Car For Free
- How Do These Free Car Programs Work?
- Reasons Why People Donate Their Cars
- Is There A Such Thing As A Government Program For Free Cars?
- Receiving A Donated Car Is Considered “Additional Income”
- How To Get A Free Car (List Of Programs To Help Get A Car)
- 800 Charity Cars (Free Car Program)
- Working Cars For Working Families
- Online Car Donation DOT org
- Online Car Donation DOT com
- Cars 4 Heroes (Car Santa)
- Cars 4 Christmas
- On Ramp (Free Car Program For Bryan-College Station, Texas)
- Working Wheels (North Carolina Affordable Car Program)
- Caring Cars (Huntsville, Alabama Car Assistance Program)
- Contra Costa County Auto Loan Program (Antioch, California)
- Project SHIFT (Phoenix Car Purchasing Program)
- Metropolitan Family Service (Portland Car Purchasing Program)
- Good Neighbor Garage (Denver Free Car Program)
- The Car Ministry (Northern Virginia Free Car Program)
- Work-N- Wheels (Wisconsin Car Assistance Program)
- Vehicles For Change (Maryland/Virginia Free Car Program)
- Car Donation Programs That Will Accept Free Vehicles
- Wheels For Wishes (Donate Your Car)
- Cars To Help Kids
- Cars Fighting Cancer
- Kars 4 Kids
- Vehicles For Veterans
- Purple Heart Foundation
- Cars For Veterans
- Cars Helping Veterans
- Find A Free Car On Craigslist
- Work With Financial Literacy Programs
- Credit Unions Can Also Help You With Auto Loans
26 Free Car Programs: Ultimate Guide To Getting A Car For Free
In this guide, I will talk to you about free car programs.
Most people have heard of programs that give away free cars, but many don’t know how fthey work or if they are even legit. There are programs like this out there and in this article, I will direct you to some of those organizations that can potentially help you if you need a car.
One thing that should be noted is to receive the assistance you must be an individual or family who is in need. Not every car give-away program is the same, but most offer free vehicles to single moms, individuals with a disability, military veterans, or eligible families who have suffered some type of hardship.
Some car assistance programs will help anyone who qualifies. Others will help specific populations or cities.
Even if a program in this article does not help you because you live in a different city, you are still encouraged to read about their process. Having an understanding of how other programs work can give you ideas on how to search and work with similar businesses/non-profits in your area.
There is a lot to cover, so continue reading to learn about how these programs work, as well as who you can contact to see if you might qualify for a free car.
How Do These Free Car Programs Work?
You may be wondering “How do these free car programs work?” There are a variety of companies that will accept your vehicle and use it to help low-income families, veterans, and children who are receiving treatment at hospitals across the county.
When you donate your car to these free vehicle assistance programs they typically do one of two things:
- They will donate your car to a family in need. This could be a low income family who needs transportation to help someone get back and forth to work or someone needing help going to their medical appointments.
- They will sell your car and use the proceeds to help a certain population of people. This could be military veterans, children with cancer, or individuals with disabilities.
Reasons Why People Donate Their Cars
There are a number of reasons why someone might donate their car, but they typically come down to these reasons:
- Receive a tax break. When you donate your car the program will in turn provide you with an IRS tax receipt that you can use to decrease your taxes. The tax deduction will depend on what the car sells for. If it is more than $500, then you can write that off for your taxes according to many of these free car programs. https://www.wheelsforwishes.org/irs-car-donation-tax-information/
- Help out someone in need. There are many car donation programs and each helps a certain segment of the population. Some help military veterans, others help children in hospitals. The group you decide to help with your car donation is ultimately up to you. Continue reading to learn about different programs that accept used cars; running or not.
- To get the car out of their driveway. Others donate their car because they want to clean out their garage or remove it from their driveway. The good thing about these car donation programs is that most of them offer free towing service from your home.
Is There A Such Thing As A Government Program For Free Cars?
No there is not a government assistance program that offers free cars. If there is a program that provides a free government car it is not a federal program. Possibly a non-profit program that receives federal funding could provide government car assistance, but not the actual government.
Editor’s note: There are plenty of articles on the internet that claim that the government offers free cars, but when you begin to read them they never explain where to go to get a free government car. Again while there are non-profits who receive government funds that may go toward the purchase of a car, you cannot walk into a government office and apply for a free car.
I have worked in social services for a very long time and never come across a free car program that is offered by the federal government. While the government can help you with programs like food stamps, CHIP health insurance for kids, and Medicaid, providing free vehicles is not something that they offer.
If you want to find a free car program you will need to contact non-profits and private businesses. This guide will list some of those organizations that do help families with a free vehicle.
Receiving A Donated Car Is Considered “Additional Income”
Speaking of government assistance…
If you receive government benefits or entitlement programs like food stamps or Medicaid will consider the act of donating your car as “additional income” and this increase in your income could lead to you no longer qualifying for your benefits.
If you do receive Medicaid, CHIP, WIC, or SNAP benefits ensure that any car donation does not make you ineligible to continue receiving your government benefit.
How To Get A Free Car (List Of Programs To Help Get A Car)
In this section, you will find a number of non-profits that offer free cars to individuals or families who are in need. These programs typically work with low-income families, military veterans, individuals with disabilities, and single mothers.
There are some programs on this list that only work with individuals in their city or state, but you are encouraged to read about their process as well. This will give you a better understanding of how other free vehicle programs work and help you to seek out similar non-profits in your own community who may be able to help you to find a car for free.
800 Charity Cars (Free Car Program)
800 Charity Cars is a national nonprofit that provides free vehicles to families who are in need. According to the Charity Cars website, they are the #1 car donation charity in the US and they’ve been around since 1996.
Below you will find more information about applying for this free car program or making a donation. If you need more information you can contact them by dialing 800.242.7489 or 800.CHARITY.
Who Is Eligible For A Free Car From 800 Charity Cars
800 Charity Cars helps low-income and struggling families by providing them with a free vehicle. The types of family’s or individuals who qualify for this vehicle assistance program are the following:
- Low-income families
- Military veterans
- Families with children who have special needs
- Survivors of domestic violence
How To Apply For A Free Car With 800 Charity Cars
To apply for this free car program you will need to complete an online application. On this application you will be asked to provide details like:
- Demographic information like your name, address, phone number, and email
- Household income
- Number of children in your household
- Answer if you can drive a manual transmission car or stick shift
- Are you employed?
- Do you have a case manager?
- Finally provide details of your situation. Here you should tell 800 Charity Cars about any of your children who have disabilities, lack mobility, or talk about financial problems. It’s also a good idea, to explain how a free car would help you get to medical appointments or open up more opportunities for employment.
Editor’s note: Nonprofits receive lots of their funding through donations. To receive donations from large corporations, they need to show how their services are benefiting others. If you can tell your story of your current situation and how a free car would improve your life, this can increase the chances of a free car program working with you.
How To Donate Your Car To 800 Charity Cars
If you would like to help low-income families with the gift of a free car you can contact 800 charity cars. To donate your car you will need to call 1 800 CHARITY (800.242.7489) or you can complete a car donation form online. The online form will ask for contact information, your car’s make, model, and year.
They will then contact you to coordinate a date and time to pick up your car. According to the 800 charity Cars website, they can even pick up your car within 24 hours in some situations.
Once they have picked up your car they will provide you with a tax receipt that you can then use in April to reduce your taxable income.
Working Cars For Working Families
This website offers an interactive map that you can use to find non-profit programs across the U.S. that offer needy families access to free car programs.
In addition, if you do not qualify for a free car, this program (which is managed by National Consumer Law Center) can ensure that you can purchase a car at a reasonable price.
So the main two ways that Working Cars For Working Families can help you is:
- Connecting you to non-profit programs in your area who can either provide you a car or help you understand how to finance a car.
- They will advocate against shady business practices that take advantage of you when purchasing a car.
To learn more about how this organization can help you find a free vehicle, visit the Working Cars For Working Families website or send them a message online.
Online Car Donation DOT org
Online Car Donation is another vehicle assistance that helps needy families with transportation.
Individuals who can potentially qualify to receive a free car are:
- Households where someone has a disability
- Survivors of domestic abuse
- Families who are living in a homeless shelter
- Military families
To apply for this free vehicle program you will need to complete an online application. They make their selections within 30 days. If you do not receive a call from them in this timeframe, then you are encouraged to apply again.
For more information on how to receive a free car or donate your vehicle, you can call 888.228.7320 or visit their website.
Online Car Donation DOT com
This program is likely the same as OnlineCarDonation.org, just a different website.
To be on the same side, it’s still worth the effort to apply for this free car program also. To do so you will need to complete their online application. If you do not receive a call stating that you’ve been selected in 30 days, apply again.
For more information, visit OnlineCarDonation.com or call them at 888.228.7320.
Cars 4 Heroes (Car Santa)
This free car program provides free vehicles to active-duty military, veterans, and first responders who need help with reliable transportation.
They’ve helped plenty of families get back on the road, from Iraq War veterans who need assistance getting around town, to emergency responders who need reliable transportation for their jobs. This free vehicle program is known in Kansas City to many by the moniker “Car Santa”. They have a history of giving away free cars to fans at Kansas City Chiefs games.
To get your own free car, you need to be affiliated with the military or be a first responder. Next, you will need to complete the Cars For Heroes application. The application will ask questions about your military background to ensure that you qualify for this free car program.
For more information, you can visit the Cars 4 Heros website or call them at 913.244.0582.
Cars 4 Christmas
This free car program is managed by Terry Franz, who happens to also run the Cars 4 Heroes program. Cars 4 Christmas helps anyone who qualifies, you don’t have to be affiliated with the military. You do need to be a family who is low-income or someone in the household has a disability and needs a car to help with medical transportation.
To apply for this free vehicle program you will need to complete the Cars 4 Christmas application.
On Ramp (Free Car Program For Bryan-College Station, Texas)
On Ramp is a non-profit in Brazos Valley that helps low-income families with reliable transportation.
Editor’s note: Brazos Valley is made up of 7 Texas counties that include Brazos, Burleson, Robertson, Bryan-College Station, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Washington)
On Ramp works with local organizations to identify families who can use a free charity car to help with doctor’s appointments, employment, or quick runs to the grocery store.
You are also encouraged to sign up for their newsletter to get updates on this free car program in Texas.
Working Wheels (North Carolina Affordable Car Program)
Working Wheels is a North Carolina car assistance program that helps needy families. They help by offering families affordable vehicles to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
According to their website cars are $610, which includes the $500 cost of the car and $110 for taxes, title, and registration fees in North Carolina.
Families must be referred from case managers who work with Working Wheels partners. https://workingwheelswnc.org/partners/
For more information about this affordable car program visit the North Carolina Working Wheels website or call them at 828.633.6888.
Caring Cars (Huntsville, Alabama Car Assistance Program)
Family Service Center is a non profit organization in Huntsville, Alabama that can assist families in need with securing a 0% interest car note.
If you live in Huntsville, Alabama, and need help securing a car loan, contact the Caring Cars program by calling 256.551.1610. You can also visit the Family Service Center website.
Contra Costa County Auto Loan Program (Antioch, California)
This California auto loan program is called KEYS and helps individuals in the CalWorks program.
To learn more about how the KEYS program that helps California residents obtain an auto loan visit the Contra Costa County website or call them at 925.313.1735.
Project SHIFT (Phoenix Car Purchasing Program)
Project SHIFT is a program that helps low-income Phoenix, AZ residents to purchase cars and affordable prices. The program is managed by the Labor’s Community Service Agency.
To apply for this program you can visit the Phoenix Project SHIFT website, visit the Labor’s Community Service Agency office at 3117 N. 16th Street, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85016, or call them at 602.263.5741.
Metropolitan Family Service (Portland Car Purchasing Program)
If you are in Portland Oregon and having financial troubles that prevent you from purchasing a car the non-profit Metropolitan Family Service may be able to help you.
They offer assistance with securing affordable loans that will help you to either purchase or repair your car. This program does this by working with local credit unions.
To learn more about this Portland car assistance program visit the Metropolitan Family Service website, their office at 1808 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214, or call them at 503.232.0007.
Good Neighbor Garage (Denver Free Car Program)
The Good Neighbor Garage is a non-profit that offers free cars in Denver to single mothers and widows who are low-income. The assistance that is offered is:
- Help with a Car repair
- Car education
- Car placement
For more information about this free car program in Denver, you can visit the Good Neighbor Garage website, visit their office at 16097 South Golden Rd, Golden, CO 80401, call them at 303.526.4488.
The Car Ministry (Northern Virginia Free Car Program)
This program helps Christian workers like pastors and missionaries to obtain a charity car. This program helps residents living in Northern Virginia.
To learn more about this free car program visit the Car Ministry website, call them at 703.237.8479, or make an appointment and visit them 929 West Broad Street, Suite 205, Falls Church, Virginia 22046.
Work-N- Wheels (Wisconsin Car Assistance Program)
The Work-N-Wheels program helps Wisconsin residents who live in Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, or Sauk Counties with 0% interest car loans.
This program is managed by Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program.
If you are a Wisconsin resident who needs help securing an affordable car payment, visit the Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program website or call them at 608.935.2326.
Vehicles For Change (Maryland/Virginia Free Car Program)
Vehicles for Change is a free car program for residents of Maryland and Virginia. In addition to living in these states, you must meet criteria like being referred from a partner agency, be working, not have a vehicle in your household, as well as other qualifications. You can find all of them here.
To learn more about this free vehicle program visit the Vehicles for Change website or call them at 855.820.7990.
Car Donation Programs That Will Accept Free Vehicles
The following section lists non-profits that you can donate your car to. You are encouraged to do your research on each sponsoring agency to learn more about how their car donation process works as well as who the proceeds help.
As aforementioned, these programs will either:
- Donated your car to a family who is in need.
- If they do not donate the car to a family, then most likely they will sell the car and use the proceeds to help an individual family or non-profit agency.
Wheels For Wishes (Donate Your Car)
Wheels for Wishes is is a charity organization that accepts free cars and uses the proceeds to help life-threatening medical conditions. Wheels For Wishes works with the Make A Wish foundation to provide donations that help to grant the wishes of children in your community.
When you donate your vehicle (running or not) it is either auctioned or recycled and the proceeds make are then donated to a local Make A Wish chapter.
The process of donating your vehicle involves:
- Donating your vehicle, which comes with a free tow.
- Receiving a tax-deductible receipt for your donation.
- Proceeds from your donation help local children.
To learn more about how to donate a free vehicle to Wheels for Wishes, you visit their website or call them at 855.242.9474.
Cars To Help Kids
This charity program uses car donations to support education programs, children’s hospitals, and more.
If you would like to learn more, contact them at 888.990.4543 or visit the Cars To Help Kids website.
Cars Fighting Cancer
This car donation program accepts vehcile donations, sells the car, and uses the proceeds to help cancer patients in the community.
Cars Fighting Cancer operates in multiple cities and states. To learn about the car donation process you can visit their website or call them at 888.950.2873.
Kars 4 Kids
This vehicle donation program sells your donated car and then sends the proceeds to education programs that help kids.
If you are interested in making a donation to Kars 4 Kids you can visit their website or call them at 877.527.7454.
Vehicles For Veterans
Donating your vehicle to Vehicles for Veterans helps to fund assistance programs that help disabled veterans. This vehicle program accepts cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, RVs, and more.
Vehicles for Veterans make the process of donating your care easy. They provide helpful services like picking up your car whether it is running or not. They complete the necessary paperwork for you and then provide give you an IRS tax receipt to lessen your tax bill next year.
To learn more about this car donation program, visit the Vehicles for Veterans website or call them at 855.820.2873.
Purple Heart Foundation
When you donate your vehicle to the Purple Heart they sell the vehicle and use the earnings to fund programs that help wounded or disabled veterans.
Some of those programs include:
- Programs to help homeless veterans
- Tuition assistance for the children of Purple Heart recipients
- Outreach programs that educate veterans about entitlement programs
To donate your vehicle to Purple Heart, visit their website or call them at 888.414.4483.
You can receive a tax deduction by donating your car to the Vietnam Veterans Car Donation Program. This program takes the proceeds and uses them to help Vietnam Veterans.
You can learn more about this foundation by visiting the Vietnam Veterans Car Donation Program website or calling them at 800.435.7878.
Cars For Veterans
The proceeds from a donated vehicle to Cars For Veterans are used to provide financial assistance to veterans needing vision care. This includes the newly blind or veterans with a range of visual impairment diagnoses.
Contact this free car donation program at 800.336.1885 or visit their Cars For Veterans website.
Cars Helping Veterans
The focus of this car donation program is to help homeless and disabled U.S. veterans. They operate in all 50 states, provide free towing, and your car donation helps you reduce your taxes come next year.
To start the process of helping a veteran, you can call Cars Helping Veterans at 888.480.8387 or visit their website.
Find A Free Car On Craigslist
If you cannot find a free car program consider searching Craiglist. It’s a long shot, but still, an option if you need transportation lack the income to buy one.
To find free cars on Craiglist, you will need to search the “free section” on the website. It’s here that you may be able to find a free vehicle. You can search the free sections in your own city as well as other cities if you are willing to travel to pick them up.
Work With Financial Literacy Programs
There are plenty of free car programs in the U.S. but the actual supply of free cars is limited. Everyone will not receive a free car who applies.
An alternative to this is working with financial literacy programs in your city. These programs can help you understand who to finance a car and they may even have programs to help you purchase a car. This could include 0% interest payments, low down payments, and affordable monthly car note payments.
Credit Unions Can Also Help You With Auto Loans
Many financial literacy programs work with local credit unions. Credit unions and they can help you with the purchase of a new or used car.
Editor’s note: Credit Unions are member-based, non-profit organizations that offer financial products and services like checking and savings accounts, personal loans, or lines of credit to consumers. Membership is limited to people who live in the community areas where the credit union operates -typically cities (or portions thereof), towns, school districts, counties, or communities based on a common bond. Credit unions do not charge service fees for opening membership; they can also provide other benefits like auto insurance discounts and low rates on mortgages because of our partnerships with large national insurance companies.
If you have limited knowledge of finance and loans, a credit union could be a reliable source to help you navigate the process. A financial literacy program can connect you to credit unions near you, but you can also contact credit unions yourself to see what type of solutions they have if you need to secure a low-interest loan for a car.
As much as these free car programs would like to help everyone, they simply cannot. The demand for a free automobile is far greater than their supply.
While the chances of receiving a car are slim, it could be worth the effort depending on your situation. If you are a military veteran, have someone with a disability in your household, or you’ve suffered a financial hardship, you have a better chance of getting a free car.
If you cannot find a free car program in your area, your alternatives are seeking a low-interest loan through a financial literacy program or credit union in your area. Both of the aforementioned can provide you with honest opinions and guidance on financing a car.
The last piece of advice is to do your research when dealing with these non-profits. Search their website, call their phone number, do your web searches. Do everything that you to understand how their process works and who benefits from your donated car.
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Nick Bryant is a Counselor with 11 years of experience working in community health. He enjoys concerts, walks with the doggo and wife, mocking Dallas Cowboy fans, and sharing community resources. Jump on the Houston Case Managers email list to receive weekly community resource guides delivered directly to your inbox.