Getting rid of an old car
July 3, 2020 6:48 AM   Subscribe

I would like to get rid of my 1998 Mazda B3000. It's in ok shape, but the speedometer doesn't work. What's the best option?

I have thought about donating the car, but unsure how well that works; I'd especially love to donate to a cause supporting reproductive rights. However, in a little bit of reading, it seems like the place you donate to actually doesn't get much money from the vehicle when you donate.

I've seen recommendations here on the green about selling via CarMax or Craigslist. I don't want to spend too much time dealing with the sale.

I am not trying to buy another car, just get rid of this one.

I am in Massachusetts.
posted by msbrauer to Grab Bag (18 answers total)
In another recent post I noted that I donated my broken car to Vehicles for Veterans and I will get a $500 dollar tax deduction for it. It was extremely easy from application to pick up and cost me nothing, they towed it away in less than a week. I did have to get my title notarized and prove a lien release which took a bit longer than I’d like but the donation process itself could be as little as a few days for you.

I may or may not actually claim the donation on my taxes but the car isn’t my problem anymore and that’s all that mattered at the time.
posted by Young Kullervo at 7:14 AM on July 3, 2020

Your question is very similar to this one from earlier today. The "best option" is going to be a choice between getting the most amount of money or the least amount of inconvenience.

If you want to support a good cause you will likely do better by selling the car yourself for the most amount of money and then donating the money directly (and then claiming any tax rebate).

One other angle to consider is the environment. If the car still has life in it then the best option can be to sell it to someone who will drive it rather than breaking it for parts. On the other hand if the car is a money pit which is never going to make reliable transport, take it to a scrap yard.

For cars of that age you may be surprised to find the scrap value is greater than selling it as a running car.
posted by Lanark at 7:20 AM on July 3, 2020

A couple of years ago, I sold a barely running 1995 camry to I think I got about $250 for it, basically scrap value. But it was very easy, and the car was it too bad shape for it to feel ethical to sell to someone. The transmission was failing, and it was going to die any day, so I didn't want to sell it to someone and have it fail immediately. It felt like an easy answer to me.
posted by mercredi at 7:32 AM on July 3, 2020

A small farm might want it for on-farm use. There's a listserv of small farms in eastern Massachussets that is very active. You could subscribe to the list to post your truck:
posted by pilibeen at 7:42 AM on July 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

I don't know the used car market where you are, but I'd try CarMax for that. Someone out on the west coast said they got $1500 for a 15 year old German car with a dying transmission - a 20 year old Japanese mini-pickup in OK condition may well be worth at least as much. If you don't like their offer? Get a google voice number, put it on Craigslist for $1500 or so, and I bet it's gone in a couple days, especially if you're willing to negotiate down to $1200 or $1000. Honestly theirs a fair chance it's worth more, but without pics or local knowledge I don't know.
posted by wotsac at 7:45 AM on July 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you choose to donate I highly recommend looking up the non-profit you donate your car to on websites like Charitynavigator or some other third party site before donating. Karsforkids is infamous for misrepresenting themselves, but here is what charitynavigator had to say about the above mentioned Vehicles for Veterans

"On July 19, 2018, The Federal Trade Commission reported on the operations of Vehicles of Veterans, LLC., an alleged charity, in a press statement titled, "FTC and States Combat Fraudulent Charities That Falsely Claim to Help Veterans and Servicemembers." It has come to our attention that this organization is not registered with the IRS, but is soliciting from the general public in violation of federal tax law. For this reason, we have issued a High Concern CN Advisory. For more information, please see The Federal Trade Commission press statement."

There are many scammy charities purporting to help kids or vets. Wounded Warrior is another that immedialy comes to mind, where they were using funds to lavishly support the lifestyle of the executives. Often charities are either flat out misrepresenting themselves or pocketing all or most of the funds they raise. Please donate with foreknowledge.
posted by jcworth at 7:49 AM on July 3, 2020 [5 favorites]

Uh holy crap. Well, disregard my post. I should have done more research.
posted by Young Kullervo at 8:05 AM on July 3, 2020 has an online appraisal tool that is not bad. Check similar cars on cars com. Clean it Take daylight pictures from each corner as well as a tire tread shot, and some interior pictures. List it on FB marketplace and Craigslist. Note its good points and issues.

I would set aside an hour a day and allow buyers to come see it and potentially drive it, mask required. That would give adequate time for you to clean the door handles, steering wheel, and spritz with disinfectant.

Give somebody a good deal, make a generous donation to Planned Parenthood. You could call your local PP, see if they have a store member who needs a car and donate it directly. Otherwise, a donation broker has the vehicle picked up and taken to an auctioneer, giving PP some percentage. Selling a car is a nuisance, but the easy options take a huge cut. You will get scammers, ignore them
posted by theora55 at 8:53 AM on July 3, 2020

Japanese light pick-up is a kind of style that some buyers really go for.
You can ask for a reasonable decent price on Craigslist and probably get it.
The broken speedometer ironically makes it seem even more attractive to some people,
It's a little something they can tinker with, while it still basically runs.
posted by ovvl at 9:13 AM on July 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

If a truck runs well and suits your needs, a broken gas gauge is a trivial problem. I second the suggestion upthread to sell to a farmer.
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:34 PM on July 3, 2020

As a farm-person with one on-farm-only beater truck and one road-worthy nice truck, pls consider the farm suggestion! My coworkers and I are constantly squabbling over truck dibs. :)
posted by functionequalsform at 12:48 PM on July 3, 2020

When our beloved Elantra died on the freeway, we donated it to Best Friends.

They made the process fairly easy, we got a nice tax break (NB: it was 2013), and I think we still get their feel-good magazine for free as (one-time) high-dollar donors.
posted by armeowda at 1:39 PM on July 3, 2020 has a webpage on donating your car to a charity, which has some good general suggestions. To be honest, nothing here looks too state-specific, to be honest.

If you're looking for a regional reproductive rights org that will accept or facilitate vehicle donations, the Planned Parenthood Virginia League has a page on vehicle donations. From personal experience, not with Planned Parenthood but with a local radio station that had a similar vehicle donation set-up, it was really easy to get rid of our old vehicle.

But if you wanted to maximize what you give to the reproductive rights group of your choice, it sounds like selling your car via Craigslist might not be too much trouble, and then you could turn around and donate all proceeds to that group.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:12 PM on July 3, 2020

Best answer: I am in western mass and am in the market specifically for an elderly Mazda pickup that runs ok. MeMail me please!!! ETA check your memail.
posted by spitbull at 3:45 AM on July 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Because AskMe deserves to know, the deal was made!
posted by spitbull at 6:40 PM on July 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh and it *will* do light farm truck and plow truck duty. And be cared for. Environment spared.
posted by spitbull at 6:48 PM on July 19, 2020

Response by poster: Yes, great to connect on here spitbull! And glad the truck will have a good home.
posted by msbrauer at 7:37 AM on July 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

And she’s home!
posted by spitbull at 12:13 PM on August 6, 2020

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