How to abandon a vehicle
February 19, 2006 7:46 PM   Subscribe

What's a smart way to get rid of a vehicle in the US?

Short story is I'm 1000 miles from home in Denver with a 10-year old high-mileage vehicle that might have a cracked engine block (probably not, but I want to prepare for the worst). If it comes to that, I figure abandoning it is dumb since towing & disposal bills could come around later to bite me. So should I tow to a junkyard? And will they pay me, or will I pay them? And do I have to have the title sent up here to get any of this done? Obviously I'd want to be on the plane home ASAP.
posted by chef_boyardee to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
Just dumping the vehicle is not smart. The VIN is all over it and if the local constabulary care to, they can certainly trace the car to you.

Wrecking yard is the best, most honest, and most environmentally friendly option.
posted by SPrintF at 7:58 PM on February 19, 2006

Can you donate it? I've never done it but know someone who has. I think they come to pick up the car and it's pretty fast. A quick google search brought up a couple of numbers to call in Denver.
posted by kechi at 8:01 PM on February 19, 2006

Take the car to a high-crime area. Leave the doors unlocked and the keys prominently displayed on the dashboard or the front seat. Leave.

Or find a scrap dealer who will buy it off you.
posted by Anonymous at 8:15 PM on February 19, 2006

Offer it up on the Denver Freecycle group. I belong to my local group and people often give away non-working and barely-working cars. You can specify that you'd like to have it picked up (or that you'll drop it off) within your needed timeframe, and likely you'll have many responses, especially considering the Denver group is 5x as big as mine.
posted by xo at 8:22 PM on February 19, 2006

Disclaimer: I haven't tried these, but it's what I found after a quick Google search.

Junk dealers in Denver. Looks like you'll need to get the fluids drained out of the car.

Junk My Car seems to offer free car removal.

Donate a Car may take it, it's worth a shot?
posted by Anonymous at 8:25 PM on February 19, 2006

Check the local Yellow Pages under 'Automobile Parts & Supplies - Used and Rebuilt;' you should see lots of ads for salvage and junkyard operations willing to haul off your car for free. It doesn't hurt to ask for money, but don't expect much if the engine block is cracked. I'm usually just grateful to get the thing out of my life without paying someone.
posted by mediareport at 8:27 PM on February 19, 2006

Seconding kechi. You can generally donate a car to some charity (here, it's the Kidney Foundation). They will pick it up for nothing and give you a tax receipt.
posted by pocams at 8:33 PM on February 19, 2006

in philly we have purple heart (probably other places too), i donated my car to them, and they took it off my hands no problem. plus its a tax write off.
posted by buzbomb at 8:39 PM on February 19, 2006

In most places I think you will need to have the title, or at least it'll be easier if you do. You may also need to make sure that you get the title changed or junked, but that will probably depend on the state(s). Here (KY) you certainly do, because otherwise you keep getting tax bills. Disabled American Vets takes cars here, and probably any charity that does a lot of that would know how to handle the title transfer.
posted by dilettante at 8:51 PM on February 19, 2006

Whatever you do, go to your local DMV the day of the title transfer and fill out the document that tells the DMV you are no longer the title holder of the car.

That way, when the charitable organization that sends fluffy bunnies to cancer kids sells your car to someone who strips it and leaves the chassis by the side of the interstate, you won't have to pay the disposal bill.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:23 PM on February 19, 2006

Colorado Public Radio accepts donated vehicles.
posted by carter at 9:30 PM on February 19, 2006

If your car is unusable because of a single high-value, highly labour intensive, broken item, you'll probably be able to find a young mechanic to give it to who can get the part at cost and use their own time fixing it.

Or you could contact the local fire department to see if they want it for training purposes.
posted by krisjohn at 9:39 PM on February 19, 2006

You could give it to a high school with an auto shop program.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:51 PM on February 19, 2006

You could still donate it.
posted by XiBe at 4:09 AM on February 20, 2006

Rocky Mountain PBS accepts donated cars. It is tax deductible, they will tow it, and it doesn't have to be running.
posted by ND¢ at 5:36 AM on February 20, 2006

My wife and I both donated our junkers. An added bonus is we got a $1000 tax write off for doing so! Put me down for donate.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:10 AM on February 20, 2006

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