frequently asked questions

What can I donate?

We accept vehicle donations, RVs, boats, trailers, trailer and mobile homes, motorcycles, jet skis, buses and snowmobiles.

Is there an advantage in donating my vehicle to Cars of Hope?

Yes definitely. Here are two reasons why:

  1. You have the potential of receiving the highest tax deduction possible. If your vehicle qualifies to be a Program Car you are able to claim the full market value when it was given to us. Most donation organizations sell vehicles donated that have been given to them and do not provide you the full market value.
  2. Our Program Cars are repaired with donated labor or significantly discounted services from local auto specialty shops. Cars of Hope is a 100% volunteer team of auto enthusiasts who have other sources of income and receive no compensation from this organization.
How much will I receive as a tax deduction for my used car?

The IRS allows you to claim a tax deduction of:

  • The market value of your vehicle for – if it becomes a Program Car that Cars of Hope donates to someone in the community.
  • The amount we sell your vehicle for – if it is too costly to repair and is sold for more than $500 you will receive an IRS form stating the sale amount. If is sold for less than $500 you may take a maximum deduction of $500.

Receipts will be issued by Cars of Hope which is classified as a 501(c)(3) charity organization.

What is a "Program Car"?

A Program Car is a vehicle that has been donated to Cars of Hope which will be given to a deserving family in our community. It is a vehicle that is safe, reliable and affordable.

My vehicle hasn't run in years. Can I still donate my car?

Yes, most car donations are accepted, running or not.

Where do I need to live to donate my vehicle to Cars of Hope?

We are based in the Chicagoland area. We accept and will pick up vehicles in most locations in the Midwest United States. It may take us a little longer to pick up your vehicle if you live outside the Chicagoland geographical area. Regardless of where you live, if your vehicle is in the Midwest United States, we will gladly pick up your donated vehicle.

Will you accept vehicle donations with an engine not running or with other mechanical problems?

Yes! Even vehicles that do not run have significant value.

What do I need to know about signing my title?

When signing your title, please make certain that you print and sign your name as the “Seller” in EXACTLY the way it appears on the face of the title.

What should I do with my license plate after I donate my car?

In Illinois you should remove the license plates before you donate your vehicle to Cars of Hope and return them to the DMV.

Do I have to be home when you pick up my car?

No! Just clean the car of any personal belongings and leave the keys and title on the passenger side front visor tilted back up to the ceiling of the vehicle. Please leave at least one door unlocked.

What happens if there's a problem with my car after it's donated?

You are only responsible for the car until it is picked up. You are liable for all previous storage charges and previous fines that might have occurred prior to the donation. Once the car has been picked up, Cars of Hope takes full responsibility.

Will I get a receipt at the time of pick up?

You will receive a temporary receipt from the towing company at the time of the pick up or we will send you an email acknowledging your donation. An official tax receipt will be mailed to you.

When will I get my official tax receipt?

Your official tax receipt will be mailed to you within two months if your vehicle becomes a Program Car. If your vehicle does not qualify to become a Program Car, it will need to be sold and we will send you a receipt shortly after we sell it.

Is there any expense involved on my part, like towing charges?

No. There is absolutely no charge.

What areas do you service?

We are located in the Western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.

Who will pick up my vehicle donation?

A member of Cars for Hope will arrange to have your vehicle moved. We generally use local towing contractors to pickup donated vehicles.

How long will it take for my car to be picked up?

The average pickup time for car donations is within a week from your initial contact with us. Generally we are able to do this sooner if there is an urgent need.

What if I don't have my title?

We do pick up vehicle donations without a title. We will require proof of ownership, which might be in the form of the Vehicle Registration, a Bill of Sale, Insurance Policy, etc.

If the owner of the vehicle passed away can the car still be donated?

We can pick up the vehicle as long as you have a copy of the death certificate and documentation that you are the official inheritor of the deceased’s property.

What if my car didn't pass the emission test?

We’ll be happy to accept your car even if it failed or time has lapsed for the emissions test.

Will my car be junked or used for parts?

How your vehicle donation will be handled depends on its condition and on other factors.Very few vehicles are junked or sold to a salvage yard.

Can I donate an abandoned car?

If the car is in your possession, we can sometimes pick up your vehicle donations without a title. We will require proof of ownership, which might be in the form of a Bill of Sale, Insurance Policy, etc.

How does a family obtain a car from Cars of Hope?

All Cars of Hope clients apply for a car through an approved agency that acts as their sponsor. The client must go through a detailed application process to verify needs and determine the car type needed.