Not every city or town has an excellent public transportation system, so cars are still the primary way of getting around for many Americans.
For low-income households, single parents, or disabled folks, it isn't always easy getting from point A to B without a reliable vehicle. On the plus side, there are many organizations out there helping people in need get free cars.
8 Charities That Provide Free Cars
Many agencies and 501c non-profit organizations help people who cannot afford the heavy costs associated with car ownership. These charities are providing accessible vehicles to struggling families.
If you fit the eligibility and are awarded a free vehicle, it can change your financial situation for the better. These organizations are here to help.
The mission of OnlineCarDonation.com is to help provide disadvantaged families with a car, truck, or van. If you are looking for a vehicle that comes at no cost and you fit the eligibility, get in touch with them. The organization will look at your qualifications and need and make an assessment. They will notify you of their decision within 30 days.
OnlineCarDonation.org is another charitable organization that helps provide free cars to struggling families. It is a part of the WithCauses.org organization.
They provide cars to the following:
- Domestic violence victims
- Those with Disabilities
- Homeless families
- Families working on self-sufficiency without government assistance
- Military families
- Other non-profit organizations
It is a simple application form that the staff will review. If selected, the organization will let you know within 30 days. Of course, it all depends on the inventory of vehicles they have.
1-800 Charity Cars
1-800 Charity Cars is an organization working to give low-income families a free car. The cars are donations. The more assistance they can receive, the more cars they can give to families that do not have one. The organization will pay for repairs and towing services for the vehicle before giving it to the family. They make it workable for the families without costing them additional income to have the car working.
Some criteria need consideration. A family of 4 is classified as low-income if their annual income does not exceed $40,000. If the family makes more than that, they will not be eligible.
Cars4Heroes is an organization designed to help out first responders and military veterans and their families.
When applying, you must put down some information such as:
- Your Career
- Income Source
- Why you need a car
- Some basic information about yourself
The information given through the application process will stay with the organization for three years. After 30 days of not hearing back, you can reapply.
Cars4Christmas works with Cars4Heroes. Cars4Christmas works to help those that are not first responders or military. They mainly provide assistance to those that come from some disaster. This applies to natural disasters or physical ailments.
This organization receives thousands of applications every year. Around 20,000 or more applications come through, but they only give away about 20 cars. The odds may not sound good, but it is always worth it to apply. Some private donors may read the stories of the people and make an effort to get them a car.
Vehicles for Change
Vehicles for Change is an organization that works for families in Maryland and Virginia. They collaborate with social services to help low-income families receive a free car for their transportation needs.
Here is a list of eligibility requirements.
- A Driver’s Licence without a DUI or DWI on the record
- The family must pay for fuel, repairs, and insurance on the vehicle
- Be a resident of Virginia or Maryland
- They must have a job that has at least 30 working hours
- No other car in the family
- They must be drug-free
- If under the age of 25, they must have children
If the individual or family meets these requirements, they need to register with several agencies to become a client of theirs.
Good News Garage
The Good News Garage is another location-dependent 501(c)(3) charitable organization working to help people receive free cars. They help families and individuals in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. They work hand in hand with the Wheels to Work programs helping those who work to get cars.
They have also started the JumpStart program to refurbish older used cars and sell them for a low cost. At this time, the JumpStart program is no longer taking applicants, but if you check their website, they may have openings.
Working Cars for Working Families
Working Cars for Working Families works with the National Consumer Law Center to help those working hard to have working cars. Additionally, they partner with several organizations that work with public safety, collecting data, and non-profits that work with low-income families.
They have an extensive database of places that can you help find a free car. Each organization in the database may have different requirements, so take a look at those that fit your situation and apply.
Other Ways To Get Free Cars
Some of these charities have some strict requirements. If you do not meet these requirements, you are not out of luck. You need to think outside of the box. There are opportunities to explore to find some free cars. Here are some additional options.
Find a Job That Offers a Car
Specific jobs provide a vehicle to employees.
Some of these jobs can be:
- Being a Driver
- Delivery Person
- A Business or Corporate Job offering a vehicle
These opportunities help people have a mode of transportation that was not there beforehand.
Craiglist is a great place to find unwanted things that people sell or give away. People are looking to sell items, but many owners also offer their vehicles for free. So if you are looking for a free car, this could be another opportunity to check out.
You need to find the vehicle you want, check it out, meet the owner, grab the title and keys, and it is time to drive. As always with Craigslist, be careful of scams.
Going along with Craigslist, you could also check out Facebook Marketplace. People are always looking to give away things or sell vehicles there. There may be some cars on there that can be cheap or free.
Ask a Friend or Relative
If you need a car, asking a friend or a relative may be a good solution. You could post on social media what your needs are and see if anyone is willing to lend a hand. Many people may post on social media for help, and you will be surprised by the responses.
Check Out Your Local Church
Many churches have places to donate things like food, clothing, and furniture. You will be surprised to see some of the connections they may have. Some people in the church may also offer you a vehicle to drive around.
It doesn’t hurt to ask. Being a part of a church community allows people to get to know you. If you are not a part of the group, it may be hard for those members to see that you are down on your luck, but they are often still willing to help those in need.
GoFundMe has been an effective way to raise money for prevalent causes such as medical bills and other emergency needs. If you start a GoFundMe to help pay for a vehicle, this could be another opportunity to achieve your goals.
Transportation is essential to help with stability in a family and occupation. Some cars also come from public assistance organizations that help people get on their feet. These people have been allowed to change their lives with free vehicle service. Charitable work provides people with free food or clothing, but it can also help provide free cars.
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Steve Cummings is the founder of the personal finance blog The Frugal Expat. As a traveler and expat, he has learned a lot about how to save money, live frugally, and invest for the future. His mission is to help people in saving, investing, and reaching financial independence.