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There are lots of places in the US where you don’t necessarily need a car. There might be good public transportation and/or your area might be walkable, but for others, this might not be the case.
A car might be a necessity to not only get to and from work but to get to school and run errands like getting groceries. Unfortunately, the cost of getting a car can be a huge barrier for some people, especially if you’re in a low-income household.
If you are from a low-income household, and you are having some difficulties affording a card, there are quite a few charitable organizations that can give you a car, and there are also some organizations that can help you secure financing to get a car.
10 Charities That Provide Free Cars
If you are a low-income household or have other circumstances that make it difficult to acquire a car, there might be some charities that could help you and your family get back on the road.
1-800 Charity Cars
1-800-Charity Cars is America’s #1 car donation charity! They’ve been around since 1996, are a four star charity (according to Charity Navigator). This charity helps deserving families and veterans with finding and obtaining cars.
There are some income requirements to obtain a car through 1-800-Charity Cars, and their typical recipients include:
- Victims of domestic violence
- The medically needy
- Victims of natural disasters
- Families transitioning from public assistance to work
- Families living in transitional living shelters
- The working poor
- Non-profit organizations
- Veterans / Military Families
If you’re interested in more information about 1-800-Charity Cars, you can call 1-800-242-7489, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit them at:
407 Wekiva Springs Roads Suite #201
Longwood, Florida 32779
Cars4Christmas is a part of the Cars4Heroes charity. This charity helps people get a car (mostly people who have been affected by some sort of disaster).
This one may be a bit more difficult to get a car through, they only give out about 20 cars per year, but receive more than 20,000 applications each year.
If you are interested in Cars4Christmas, you can visit their website to find out eligibility information and apply.
Cars4Heroes is a charity that helps provide transportation to veterans, active-duty military, first responders, and their families. Every year they are able to provide hundreds of cars to eligible individuals and their families.
The eligibility criteria may differ depending on if you’re military, or a civilian, but if you are interested in applying, you will be asked about your income, and why you need the car.
If you are interested in Cars4Heroes you can go to their website to apply, or contact them at 913-244-0582, or visit them at:
14486 W 139th
Olathe, KS 66062
Good News Garage
Good News Garage helps people in the New England area (specifically Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire) get a car.
They work with regional Wheels to Work programs and have their own pilot program called Ready to Go which helps transport individuals and families to and from essential life activities like work, job training, and childcare.
If you are interested in Good News Garage, you can visit their website or call them at 603-669-6937 if you’re in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Vermont or visit them at:
331A North Winooski Ave
Burlington, VT 05401
325B Merrill St.
Manchester, NH 03103
Modest Needs Foundation
Modest Needs is a charity where you can make donations of money to be used as grants to low-income workers who are at-risk of homelessness and falling into poverty.
They also accept car donations so they can be given to low-income workers. They also help workers with car repairs!
If you’re interested in the Modest Needs foundation, you can check out their FAQs for applicants here, or you can call them at 844-667-3776 or visit them at:
120 E 23rd St, FL 5
New York, NY 10010
OnlineCarDonation.com helps people in all 50 states AND Canada get a car. Not only do they give away cars, they also give away trucks and vans, and can sometimes help with modifications for individuals with special needs.
If you’re interested in OnlineCarDonation.com, you can apply on their website, they also ask that you please not call them.
OnlineCarDonation.org takes car, boat, truck, and motorcycle donations and helps get them into the hands of low-income and less fortunate individuals.
They help people like:
- Battered Women
- Those with physical challenges
- Families living in homeless shelters
- Self Supporting families making the move from public assistance
- Private Non-Profit Organizations
- Military Families
If you are interested in working with OnlineCarDonation.org, you can apply on their website here. All applications are valid for 30 days, so if you do not hear back within 30 days, you can reapply.
United Methodist Church Car Ministry
Depending on where you are, your local United Methodist Church may have a car ministry that may not only provide cars, but may also help with car repairs!
Check with your local Methodist church for eligibility, you may or may not have to already be a member of the Methodist church.
Vehicles For Change
Vehicles For Change receive car donations and partners with mechanics to help make those donated cars road-ready. Vehicles For Change also helps families and individuals in Maryland and Virginia get a car so that they can become self-sufficient.
To be eligible for a car through Vehicles for Change you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a resident or Maryland or Northern Virginia
- You must be referred by one of the sponsoring agencies listed here.
- You must have a verifiable job offer or be working at least 30 hours a week.
- You must have a driver’s license in the state in which you reside
- You must be insurable (no DWIs or DUIs)
- You must not have any other vehicle in your household
- You must be drug free
- You must be able to cover fees for taxes, tags, and title (approximately an additional $500)
- If you are under the age of 25, you must have children
- You may need to meet additional criteria required by your sponsoring agency.
If you’re interested in a car through Vehicles For Change, you can visit their website, or contact them at 855-820-7990 or email@example.com
Working Cars For Working Families
This national program, Working Cars for Working Families, partners with a lot of local programs to help as many families and individuals as possible get a working car.
On their website, you can find a list of over 120 local programs organized by state, which you can view here. Check out the individual program for eligibility information and the application.
If you’re interested in contacting Working Cars For Working Families, you can use their contact form here, or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Places to Get Free Cars
If you aren’t eligible to go through the charities mentioned above, here are some other potential places where you might be able to score a free car.
Ask a Friend or Relative
This might be a long shot for some people, but there may be a friend or relative out there who doesn’t have a car that they use who would be willing to give it to you.
Or if they aren’t able to let it go for free, maybe you could work out a payment plan or use the car when they are not using it.
Yes, this might seem a little old-school, but Craigslist and their “free” section is still around! This is a great place to find unwanted cars, some of these cars may no longer be running, but you can contact some of the charities above, and they can help you get low-cost or even free repairs.
If you end up with a free car that is no longer running, you could also contact your local place of worship, they may also help you get low-cost or free car repairs!
But please be aware of scams!
Facebook Marketplace is another place, much like Craigslist where you can sometimes find free or low cost cars.
Some of the cars may not be working, so if you’re willing to take a car like that on, make sure you get it inspected beforehand so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
Find a Job That Offers a Car
There are some jobs like a delivery person, or marketer where you could be provided with a free car.
GoFundMe can be a great option for crowdsourcing money to get yourself a car. You can either set it up yourself, or ask a friend or family member for help in setting it up.
This can be a great option if you’ve been a victim of some special circumstances like a natural disaster. Make sure you explain your situation in detail and explain how a car would help improve your life.
Just like the United Methodist Church car ministry, there may be other local churches in your area that have car ministries, help with repairs, or will give you a cash grant to help you purchase a car.
Check with your church for eligibility information, you may not even have to be a member of the church!
Grab this checklist to take control of your money and find a path towards financial independence.
Places to Get Grants for a Car
If you’re interested in places where you could get a grant for a car check out these places:
Car Loans For Low-Income Individuals and Families
If you aren’t able to get a car from the places mentioned above for free, there are some ways where you could get a loan for a new-to-you car.
Here are some places where you can get help obtaining a car loan:
- First Wheels
- Goodwill Wheels to Work
Some form of transportation is a necessity for most people and can be a huge help in creating a stable household. Don’t let the potential cost of acquiring a car stand in your way – check out some of the organizations mentioned in this article!
If you don’t think you qualify to receive help from the organizations mentioned, don’t lose hope! Check to see if there are any organizations that are local to you, there may be churches or other charities in your area that offer some kind of financial help.
Carol PerezCarol Perez has been dabbling in all sorts of side hustles and online money-making projects for over a decade now. From setting up her own e-commerce store to freelancing gigs, she's pretty much tried it all.
Grab this checklist to take control of your money and find a path towards financial independence.