Trade-it, Junk-it, or Give it to Charity?

What are you going to do with that old car when you buy a new one? 

There are more options and considerations than you might think.  You’ll probably get the most money if you can sell it to a private party, but a trade-in could actually net you more because of the tax implications.  Donating to charity might give you a warm fuzzy, but you might just need someone to haul it off your front lawn so you can see your neighbor's trailer again.

Below is a flow-chart to help you figure out how to get rid of your old car.  Before you get started, go to Edmunds and find out both the trade-in value and the private party sale value.  You may also want to get an online appraisal from a used car dealer or The online appraisal number will likely be lower than the Edmunds trade-in number, but it will give you an idea of exactly how much you would get if you had to sell today.  Participating car dealers are required to honor Autotrader online appraisals provided you are factual about the condition of your car.

A Flowchart to Determine How to Get Rid of Your Old Car

How to decide whether to trade-in your car or donate to charity

There are a few generalizations in the above chart, but hopefully it helps with your decision making process.  If you’re feeling really generous and want to give a $5,000 car to charity, by all means go ahead!  Just be sure to understand the tax law before you try to write-off any large numbers.  There are also hundreds of charities that will accept these donations and some are better than others, so do your research.  Lastly, if you decide to trade-in, make sure you read these steps to get the most money for your trade-in.

Here are a few more resources to help:

Free Junk Car Removal

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