Paycheck Chronicles

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?

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