How To Get A Car For Free When You Can’t Afford One

A car is a great luxury that many people take for granted. Unfortunately, cars are costly. In addition to paying for the car itself, you will have to be able to afford registration, insurance, gas, and maintenance. These fees will add up, and the financial strain can be more than some people can handle.

low income families in white car
How To Get A Car For Free When You Can’t Afford One 4

Are there places where you can get a free car? Yes, there are some ways to get a car for free if you cannot afford one. This process is not always easy. However, anyone that has made it through it will tell you that it was completely worth it. 

Who will give me a free car?

When you are searching for a car for free, you will most likely have to find a charitable organization. Unfortunately, there are no government programs that can help people that do not have cars. 

There are government programs that can help people afford housing, appliances, and food. These programs may help make it easier to afford a car, but they are not direct links to a new car as an aide. The charity route is the best way to go, and there are many different options that you can look into. 

How do you qualify for a free car?

Each organization is going to have its own requirements for how you can qualify for a car. Most of the time, it will take a combination of factors for a person to quality. The first factor will be a financial need. Certainly, charities are not giving to people that don’t have an issue affording their car. 

In addition to the financial need, many charities are looking to give cars to first responders or military personnel that have found themself in some sort of hardship. This additional factor of having a circumstance that was out of your control or honorable in some way is what will set your application to a charity apart from the others. 

Another essential qualification is that you will be able to keep the car once it is given to you. As we mentioned, there will be fees with registration and insurance that you will need to maintain. If you can’t afford to pay for these things, chances are you will not get the car. Charities will not give a car to a person who will not use it safely when they are on the roads. 

How To Get A Free Car From The Government

The government does not give free cars away. However, they do aid in helping to make sure that charities have some ability to give people free cars. The government allows people to donate their car to a charity and use it as a tax write-off. 

This, in turn, gives the charity a free car to work with when they are trying to fill the need of those looking for cars. A tax write-off is a prevalent option for people with older cars that don’t want to deal with selling them. 

The charity then takes the donated vehicles, gets them into working condition, and then donates it to a person in need. The government will also sometimes give grant money to charities if they should apply. 

This is again another way that the government is helping people to get a free car. But the government does not directly give cars out. The concept is that most people can get by using public transportation or rideshare services. Indeed, the use of a car is very convenient.

However, it's not quite a necessity the way a home or food is. Most governments will focus on basic survival needs when caring for their citizens. 

free cars given away to this couple and many others
How To Get A Car For Free When You Can’t Afford One 5

Non-Profit Organizations Where Free Cars Are Given Away To Disabled or Low-Income Families

These are some of the most popular and reputable free car programs. Each of these non-profit organizations will have its own requirements and application processes.

Sometimes you will log in to one of these websites only to find that they are no longer taking applications. This happens occasionally as they handle a backlog of individuals looking for free cars.

We encourage you to keep checking, as sometimes the list will open up again and allow for you to apply.

1. Vehicles For Change

Vehicles For Change is a charity that tries to provide free cars to low-income families who are working towards becoming self-sufficient.

If you are working, have a clean driving record, and have some money to cover the fees on the vehicle, you have a good chance of getting a free car from VehiclesForChange. 

This organization realizes that self-sufficiency can be difficult. Vehicles for Change wants to honor those that are trying hard and making the right choices. For some of the programs that Vehicles For Change offer, you will need to have a social worker recommend you. 

We highly recommend checking out the Vehicles for Change website and taking a look at some of their suggestions. This organization will give you hope that there are avenues out there to solve your transportation problem. 

2. Cars4Heroes

Cars4Heroes is a free car program that tries to take care of those that help us the most. With the Cars4Heroes organization, you must be a first responder or military veteran to apply.

If you are the wife or husband of a veteran and dealing with issues that have impacted your ability to own a car, Cars4Heroes will be open to helping. 

The application process is relatively straightforward, but you will need proof of your service. One of our favorite features of the Cars4Heroes is that they keep your application on file for several years. 

As you may imagine, there are lots of people looking for a car at any given time. This process can be lengthy. It gets even worse when you need to reapply month after month. Submit your story to Cars4Heroes, and you will have the peace of mind that your application is being handled with care for the next few years. 

3. is another organization that allows struggling families to apply for a free car. This free car program focuses on helping families that are easing off of some kind of assistance.

People who are getting their life together and trying to rely less and less on aid will be looked at with the highest chance of getting a new car. will choose low-income families with the lowest income with the most potential for using the car to improve jobs, stability, and their future. The selection process is intense, and the chances of getting a free car can be rather slim. 

4. works to try and collect and then redistribute a free used car to low-income individuals. With Online Car Donation, you can donate or apply for a car. One of the great things about this organization is that they work to get trucks and vans to those with special needs. 

You can apply for within just a few minutes. The application is not difficult, but the more information you provide, the better chance you have of getting a free car.

You will know whether or not will move forward with steps to give you a free used car within about thirty days of submitting your application. If 30 days have passed and you have not heard anything, you can apply again on the website. 

5. 800-Charity Cars

Although 800-Charity-Cars may seem too simple to be true, it is a legitimate and trustworthy source to apply for a new car. To quality for a new car from 800-Charity-Cars, there must be a need.

You will not have to be a veteran or a military, although this could help express your need for the free vehicle. While on the 800 Charity Cars website, you will see that they are always looking for donated cars. This is how their business remains in operation.

They take in cars from individuals that are willing to donate. The car is towed away for free, and then it is assessed to see if it can then be given to a person in need. We noticed that 800 Charity Cars tries to work quickly to get the cars processed and out to their new owners. The issue yet again is demand.


When you apply to, you will notice that their application lays out everything very clearly. They give you specific requirements that are necessary to apply for and obtain these free used cars.

People that have disabilities, those with a military background, and even domestic violence victims are among the previous recipients of free vehicles. We like that they keep their process open to a wide range of individuals; the problem is that this will, without a doubt, increase the number of applications. 

The only major downside of the website is that you will have to keep applying every thirty days if you don’t hear from them. If you feel as though your situation really warrants an organization’s help like this, don’t be afraid to set the alarm on your calendar to remind you to reapply. 

Pay close attention to filling the application out thoroughly and completely so that the evaluators have all the proper information to make their decision. As you can imagine, they also have a difficult job on their hands, having to choose who deserves a free car from all of the worthy applications. 

7. Good News Garage

If you live in the North East, the Good News Garage could be a great option to apply to. This charity will help people in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Good News Garage will work to get qualified low-income families reliable transportation at a very fair price. This means that although you may not get a free car, you could get a significant discount on the vehicle. 

What we like about the Good News Garage organization is that they don’t stop at giving free cars away. They understand that they don’t have the ability to fill the need of all those that are looking for a car. Instead, they look for ways to help accommodate and provide transportation to people.

There are a few programs that can help coordinate rides to work or even shared-ride-type situations. These are people that are worth contacting if you live in the area and find that you have some type of transportation problem. 

8. Working Cars for Working Families

Instead of completely giving away cars to people in need, Working Cars for Working Families helps to make sure that people have reliable transportation and travel to get to and from their jobs. 

Working Cars for Working families will help families that need to get to work or school. The project helps by contacting different organizations or charities to ensure that the proper reliable transportation is arranged. 

This program also provides people with a list of local places or charities to help them get a new car should they qualify. You can think of this organization as a partner in finding the car you need.

Make sure you know your financial situation and how you would potentially qualify for a vehicle if you start working with this organization. 

Other Places Where Free Cars Might Be Given Away

Although charities will be your best chance to get a free car, there are other options out there that you may want to consider. Although none of these options will be laid out as clearly as the charity options above, there are still potential avenues for getting a reliable car. 


Many times churches like to keep their donations within the doors of their church. There could be people at the church that have a car that someone is ready to donate. Other members of the church could volunteer their time or money to get the car into good working conditions. 

Members of a church are supposed to help each other, especially during difficult times. Is there a way you could offer some goods or services to a church member in exchange for a car? 

Contact your church and let them know your situation. You will have to be honest and upfront about the financial circumstances. This way, the church can evaluate the best way to help you.

Certainly, a church that you have been an active member of for quite some time will have a higher likelihood of helping. 

Car Dealers

It may make sense to talk to a car dealer about options they can give you on a car. It is unrealistic to expect that car dealers will give you a free car just because you ask for one. However, some smaller car dealers will take very old or totaled cars in as a trade for a new car. 

These car dealers may not want to handle the scrapping or donating of this car. This is where you could potentially work towards getting this car for free or in exchange for a small amount of money.

Heading to a new car dealership that sells cars for $20,000 and more will probably not be your best bet. 

Job With A Company Car

If you are looking for both a job and a car, try to find a job that offers a car. Even if your job makes a bit less money, you may find that the car will make up for it. Company cars usually have restrictions about when and where they can be driven. 

However, if you need to stop at the grocery stores or your kid’s school on the way home from work, this is generally allowed. A job with a company car is a great way to get a free car. 


Craigslist is a platform where people can list all sorts of items for sale. Looking on Craigslist, you may find that people are selling a car for a very low price. Chances are, you can contact these people and try and negotiate or trade them for the vehicle. 

Make sure that if you purchase a car through Craigslist, you know what you are getting yourself involved in. Some of these cars and trucks could have severe damage that people are not being honest about. As always, proceed with caution on deals like this. 

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a great place to find deals on cars. People are always looking to give away things or sell vehicles there, so you can often find good deals on cars that are cheap or even free. Of course, you should always be careful when buying anything from Facebook Marketplace, as you never know exactly what you're getting.

However, if you do your research and are careful, you can definitely find some great deals on cars. So if you're in the market for a new car, be sure to check out Facebook Marketplace. You might just find the perfect car for you at a great price.

Friends Or Relatives 

If you have a friend or a relative that is looking to get rid of a car, you can certainly ask them about the chances of you getting that car for free. Chances are your family or friends will be aware of your financial situation and be willing to help you in this process. 

If you are capable of paying for insurance, registration, and fees on a car, you may be able to offer this in exchange for the use of the car. When families work together to help afford things, sometimes the results can be quite powerful. 

Ways To Work

Ways to Work is a non-profit organization that offers low-interest auto loans to low-income families needing financial assistance. Loans from Ways to Work can be used to purchase or repair vehicles, making it easier for families to get around and access essential services.

Ways to Work has helped countless low-income families stay afloat during tough times, and the organization is dedicated to continuing its work in the future. If you or someone you know needs financial assistance, please don't hesitate to contact Ways to Work.


GoFundMe allows people to set up accounts that people can donate to. These accounts are generally used to pay for things like housing expenses after a tragedy or hospital bills for a sick child.

If you feel as though you have a situation or a story that would warrant people donating money to help you out, GoFundMe is a great choice. 

Most of the time, the GoFundMe accounts do better when a friend or a family sets them up to benefit a person. When an individual person sets up GoFundMe people, tend to be a bit more suspicious about the overall goals and intentions with the account. 


Last but certainly not least is Goodwill. Although we know Goodwill to be the place to head with an old pair of jeans or a lamp that is out of style, there are places where you can also donate your car to Goodwill.

Do some research and see if there is a location in your area that will help you find a car from Goodwill. As always, ensure you are getting yourself into a car that you can manage financially. 

What is the best charity to donate a car?

If you are ready to donate your car, there is no shortage of charities to choose from. We did some of our own research, and one of the best we could find was One Car One Difference.

This organization is very well known in the industry, and when you look at the background and financial information on their Non-Profit, a high percentage of your donation will get to people that need it. 

It is a good idea to research these charities before you donate your car. You will want to ensure that the charity is actively working to give cars to those who are less fortunate. When you donate a car, you have an opportunity for more than just a write-off; you can make a significant change in a person’s life. 


Even though many people think they can’t get a free vehicle, it is actually possible in some cases. If you are creative and know where to look, there are plenty of ways to get a car without spending any money.

So don’t give up if you think car ownership is out of reach – options are still available. Have you ever gotten a car for free? What was your experience like?