How to Buy Donated Cars in Southern California

by Contributor

Many nonprofit companies accept used cars as a donation. If you live in Southern California, most of the donated used cars end up on the auction block. If you qualify as a needy recipient, you can buy the car from a local charity. Purchasing directly from a local charity can potentially save low-income individuals hundreds of dollars off the market value of the car.

Find out if you qualify to buy a donated car. Call local charities to see if they sell their donated cars and to get information about the application process. Go online and visit Opportunity Cars, a network of more than 150 nonprofit organizations that help qualified, low-income workers buy used vehicles. Use their "Program Locator" to find a program near you.

Follow up with local charities. Visit nonprofits in your Southern California neighborhood to let them know you are looking for a donated vehicle. Some of the major charities in Southern California with car donation programs include: The Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Volunteers of America, Goodwill and Catholic Charities USA. You might want to visit a local branch in a wealthier neighborhood in which well-maintained vehicles are more likely to be among the donations.

Go to a car auction. Most vehicles that are donated to charities end up at local car auctions. The charities can then take the money and use it to advance the organization's services and mission. Squidoo.com lists all the public car auctions in Southern California.

Warning

  • close If you are looking to buy a donated car at an auction, remember that these vehicles come "as is." Although many people donate their car to help others, some are just looking to get rid of a clunker.

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