How to Get Rid of An Old Car

As we prepare to PCS (next week – ack!), we are faced with the problem of disposing of our cars. Both cars are older (8 and 9 years) and have about 130,000 miles on them. My car, a van, is a mess: broken windshield, random locks that don’t work, dying transmission, etc. My husband’s car is in better shape and is a sturdy vehicle but not worth much in the resale department.

We think we have found a good home for my husband’s car, but there is still the dilemma of what to do with my car. Here are the possible choices: donate it to a charity, sell it to a private buyer, sell it to a dealership/car buyer, or junk it. Each choice has good and bad sides. Also to be considered: we have to get to the airport somehow. So, what am I thinking?

Donate it to charity: small tax deduction, convenience of driving it to the airport and having the car picked up there, no worries about its condition, doesn’t need to be cleaned.

Sell it to a private buyer: I’m just not comfortable with this option. The car is in lousy shape and won’t pass the mandatory inspection in our state.

Sell it to a dealership or car buying service: not a bad option. I have a buyer who will take it apart for parts and will give me at least $500 for the car. We’d then need to figure out how to get to the airport (over an hour away) with six people, two pets, and a bjillion pieces of luggage.

Taking it to the junkyard: again, we’d need to get to the airport, and we wouldn’t make any money at all.

It seems pretty obvious that the two best choices are selling it to a private buyer or donating it. I need to do some research on the tax deduction but I think that is the direction we are headed. It will be the easiest choice, and right now, easy is good.

Do you have any other ideas?

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Jolene

    I vote donate to a charity. The American Lung Association will take vehicles and you get a tax deduction for it:

    Tax donation and a ride to the airport isn’t a bad deal!

    Good luck – safe travels!

    • kaya

      Yeah! Donate your problem to a charity and give a problem to a desperate individual…. Jolene, think about it…

      –YOUR vehicle has all of these problems and YOUR gonna give it to someone else desparately in need so they can have even more shit to worry about! Wow aren’t YOU a generous individual… I hope you never find yourself in a situation that my husband and I are in. Hmmm.. MTBI broken back, partial paralysis and it goes on and on… And our car is like yours. VA is taking a damn year to pay. My daughter has to be homeschooled, yeah great idea FOR YOU, give your pile of shit to someone in need. Besides, it will be out of your hands and out of mind, and you can pat yourself on your back.