Car Donation Programs in California

Car Donation Programs in California

Are you looking to donate your car in California for a noble cause? There are several car donation programs in California that offer an easy way to get rid of your junk/broken or unwanted vehicle while supporting the charitable organizations. Just by donating your unused car, you not only contribute to the society but also receive potential tax benefits. In this article we will explore the top 10 car donations programs in California and also provide you relevant information so that you can take a perfect decision while donating your car.

Also Read: How to Claim Tax Deduction for Car Donation in California and Car Donations in California


Car donation has gained popularity in recent years as a means of supporting charitable causes. Instead of selling or junking your old car, you can donate it to a nonprofit organization, which will then sell the vehicle and use the proceeds to fund their programs. California, with its large population and thriving nonprofit sector, offers numerous car donation programs. Let’s dive into the details of some of the best options available.

Importance of Car Donation

Car donation is a win-win situation for both the donor and the charity. For donors, it provides an opportunity to get rid of their unwanted vehicles hassle-free while potentially enjoying tax deductions. Charitable organizations benefit from the proceeds generated through the sale of donated cars, enabling them to further their missions and make a positive impact in the community. Moreover, car donations often support causes such as education, healthcare, disaster relief, and environmental conservation.

Factors to Consider

Before choosing a car donation program, it is crucial to consider certain factors to ensure your donation has the desired impact. Here are a few key aspects to keep in mind:

Transparency and Accountability

Opt for a program that maintains transparency in its operations, providing clear information about how the donation process works and how the proceeds are utilized. Look for organizations that are accountable and have a proven track record of using funds effectively.

Tax Deductibility

Verify if the car donation program is eligible for tax deductions. Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status usually qualify for tax benefits, but it’s advisable to consult a tax professional for accurate guidance on the potential tax advantages of your donation.

Pickup and Documentation

Check if the program offers free towing services for your donated vehicle. Additionally, ensure they provide the necessary documentation, such as a receipt or acknowledgment letter, to substantiate your donation for tax purposes.

Charitable Impact

Research the charitable work supported by the program. Learn about the projects and initiatives they undertake and how they align with your personal values and interests. This will help you select a program that resonates with your desired impact.

Also Read: Donating Your Car to NPR and California Car Dealer Documentation Fee

Top Car Donation Programs in California

Now let’s explore some of the top car donation programs in California that have established themselves as trusted options for donors.

1. Goodwill Car Donations

Goodwill Car Donations is a well-known program that accepts cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and even boats. They collaborate with local Goodwill organizations to use the funds generated from vehicle sales to support job training, employment placement services, and community-building initiatives.

Also Read: Goodwill Car Donation Reviews

2. Kars4Kids

Kars4Kids aims to improve the lives of children through educational and youth development programs. They accept vehicle donations in California and nationwide, with the proceeds used to support their initiatives, including educational scholarships, mentorship programs, and after-school activities.

Google Ratings and Reviews of Kars4kids Car Donation in California

Kars4Kids Car Donation
Based on 117 reviews
powered by Google
mark Lacombe
mark Lacombe
15:15 29 Mar 24
Kars4kids did a great job of setting up and handling the transportation and donation of our vehicle. We were informed about every step of the process along the way. Hopefully our vehicle will sell for a great price at auction so they get the maximum benefit and we can get the tax write off. Thanks again for making this process of our donation easy.
Kelly Wachs
Kelly Wachs
15:33 28 Mar 24
From beginning to end took about 3 days. Awesome experience highly recommend. Everything was so easy.
Jessica Hernandez
Jessica Hernandez
14:57 22 Mar 24
Johnny Balilo
Johnny Balilo
14:56 21 Mar 24
On time and friendly
Daljit Dhallu
Daljit Dhallu
00:22 17 Mar 24
Good communication and timely manner
Jay Rock
Jay Rock
15:22 01 Nov 23
The towers were very friendly and quick. With an easy transfer of the key and title, they were able to get my truck out of my driveway. I'm glad this donation will go toward providing for kids' well-being and health.
14:43 24 Oct 23
The experience donating to Kars4Kids was amazing it was simple and easy. They follow through from the moment I entered the information online to executing the pick up and transferring all the documentation. Good Job!!! Excellent experience!!!
Chasity Fulton
Chasity Fulton
18:22 13 Oct 23
Excellent experience. I needed the car gone asap and they picked it up within 3 days from under covered parking. The car had 4WD and a dead engine but this was not an issue. Got my receipt two weeks after donating my car. Highly recommend this if you need to get rid of a vehicle and want to do a little good also.
Cara Meredith
Cara Meredith
16:25 10 May 23
We're grateful to the team at Kars4Kids: the customer service representatives, as well as the partner towing companies, were extremely helpful and empathetic. We never felt in the dark when it came to communication and were so grateful for how they were able to help us out in the midst of an otherwise hard situation.
Mark Brisko
Mark Brisko
23:47 28 Apr 23
Excellent email communication between the kars for kids team and myself. The tow guy was very friendly and helpful and even swapped my flat tire with the spare since it was too flat to take on the road. It was sad seeing my Pontiac roll away down the street, but glad knowing my donation went to a good cause helping the kids!
See All Reviews

3. American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society offers a car donation program that helps fund their efforts in cancer research, patient support, and education. By donating your vehicle to the American Cancer Society, you contribute to the fight against cancer and support programs that assist patients and their families throughout their journey.

4. Salvation Army

The Salvation Army operates a car donation program that aims to uplift individuals and families in need. The funds generated from donated vehicles assist in providing food, shelter, clothing, and other essential services to vulnerable populations. By donating your car to the Salvation Army, you directly contribute to their mission of serving those in crisis.

5. Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is renowned for its work in providing affordable housing to families in need. They accept car donations in California and use the proceeds to build homes and revitalize communities. By donating your car to Habitat for Humanity, you support their vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

6. Wheels for Wishes

Wheels for Wishes is a nonprofit car donation program that benefits Make-A-Wish Foundation. They accept vehicles in any condition and use the funds raised to grant wishes for children facing critical illnesses. Donating your car to Wheels for Wishes gives hope and joy to children as they experience their dream come true.

7. Volunteers of America

Volunteers of America operates a vehicle donation program that supports their efforts in providing services to individuals and families in need. The proceeds from donated vehicles help fund programs addressing homelessness, substance abuse, veterans’ needs, and other community support services.

8. Make-A-Wish Foundation

Make-A-Wish Foundation grants life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. They accept car donations, and the proceeds contribute to making dreams come true for these brave children. By donating your vehicle to Make-A-Wish Foundation, you play a part in bringing joy and hope into their lives.

9. Cars for Veterans

Cars for Veterans is a program dedicated to supporting veterans and their families. By donating your car, you assist organizations that provide crucial services to veterans, including housing, healthcare, job placement, and mental health support. Your donation helps improve the lives of those who have served our country.

10. Society of St. Vincent de Paul

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul operates a car donation program that serves individuals and families struggling with poverty and homelessness. The funds raised through vehicle donations help provide direct assistance, including food, shelter, clothing, and financial support. By donating your car to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, you contribute to their mission of alleviating poverty and transforming lives.

List of Other Car Donations Services

ProgramCostPhone NumberEmailCharity BeneficiaryOther vehicles accepted?Running Condition?
Wheels For  wishesFree877-431-9474n/aMake-A-Wish FoundationYesNo
Vetmade – Vehicle Donation ProgramFree800-613-3123n/aMilitary VeteransYesNo
Veteran Car DonationsFree877-594-5822[email protected]U.S. Troops and VeteransYesNo
UNICEF USAFree855-487-3863n/aUNICEF USAYesNo
U.S. Troops      
Special Olympics Southern CaliforniaFree888-828-0022[email protected]Special Olympics Southern CaliforniaYesNo
SoCal GoodwillFree800-898-8285n/aSoCal GoodwillYesNo
SellMaxFree800-225-7500n/a(see list)YesNo
San Francisco SPCAFree877-957-2277[email protected]San Francisco SPCAYesNo
San Francisco GoodwillFree866-701-CARSn/aSan Francisco GoodwillYesNo
Sacramento GoodwillFree916-395-9000n/aSacramento GoodwillYesNo
Sacramento Children’s Home Vehicle DonationFree800-240-0160[email protected]The Sacramento Children’s HomeYesNo
Habitat for HumanityFree877-277-4344n/aHabitat for HumanityYesNo
Give2KidsFree800-448-3254n/aKids with cancerYesNo
Father Joe’s VillagesFree619-446-2100[email protected]Father Joe’s VillagesYesNo
Donate Car to VeteransFree888-577-8768[email protected]Volunteers For Veterans FoundationYesNo
Donate Car CancerFree888-743-0993[email protected]Teddy Bear Cancer FoundationYesNo
Donate a Car 2 CharityFree877-505-5775[email protected]Activated MinistriesYesNo
Charity DispatchFree866-829-2918[email protected](see list)YesNo
Cars2CharitiesFree855-520-2100[email protected]Children & Families, Education, Veterans and, more…YesNo
Cars forFree888-693-8032n/aU.S. Troops (see list)YesNo
California Car DonationFree866-392-4483[email protected](see list)YesNo
California Automobile Donation ProgramFree888-676-1089n/aBreast CancerYesNo
Breast Cancer Car DonationsFree866-540-5069[email protected]Breast CancerYesNo
American Cancer SocietyFree888-227-5500n/aAmerican Cancer SocietyYesNo
American Auto DonationFree866-526-6702[email protected]Veterans Helping Veterans Foundation Inc.YesNo

How to Choose the Right Program

With several options available, it’s essential to choose the right car donation program that aligns with your values and desired impact. Consider the following factors when making your decision:

  1. Research and gather information about each program’s mission, impact, and the causes they support.
  2. Evaluate their transparency and accountability by reviewing their financial reports and testimonials from previous donors.
  3. Check if the program is a registered nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status to ensure tax deductibility.
  4. Consider the convenience of the donation process, including pickup services and necessary documentation.
  5. Reflect on your personal connection to the organization’s cause and the difference you wish to make in the community.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select a car donation program that resonates with your values and maximizes the impact of your donation.


Car donation programs in California provide an opportunity to support charitable organizations while getting rid of your unwanted vehicle. These programs offer a convenient way to make a difference in your community and potentially enjoy tax benefits. We have explored some of the top car donation programs in California, including Goodwill Car Donations, Kars4Kids, American Cancer Society, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Wheels for Wishes, Volunteers of America, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Cars for Veterans, and Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

When choosing a program, consider factors such as transparency, tax deductibility, pickup services, and the charitable impact of the organization. By selecting a program that aligns with your values and interests, you can ensure that your car donation has a meaningful impact.

Remember, donating your car is not only a practical way to dispose of an unwanted vehicle, but it also allows you to contribute to causes you care about. Whether it’s supporting education, healthcare, housing, or helping those in need, your car donation can make a positive difference in the lives of others.


1. Can I donate a car that is not in working condition?

Yes, many car donation programs accept vehicles in any condition, whether they are running or not.

2. How do I determine the value of my car for tax purposes?

The IRS provides guidelines for determining the value of your donated vehicle. You can consult their website or seek advice from a tax professional for accurate valuation

3. Are there any costs involved in donating my car?

Most reputable car donation programs offer free towing services for donated vehicles. However, it’s always best to confirm this before proceeding with your donation.

4. Can I donate a car if I don’t have the title?

In most cases, you will need to have the title of the vehicle to complete the donation process. However, some programs may have alternative requirements, so it’s worth reaching out to them for clarification.

5. How long does the car donation process take?

The duration of the car donation process can vary depending on the program and location. Generally, it involves scheduling a pickup, transferring the vehicle’s ownership, and receiving the necessary documentation. The entire process usually takes a few weeks.

In conclusion, car donation programs in California offer a way to support charitable causes, benefit your community, and potentially receive tax benefits. By choosing a reputable program and considering factors such as transparency, tax deductibility, and the charitable impact, you can make a meaningful contribution through your car donation.


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