Second Life of Cars

The life of cars after they leave the road, how auto recycling gives them a second chance.

For many of us, cars are trustworthy and reliable modes of transportation, bringing us smoothly from destination to destination. But what happens when that car breaks down?

It can be hard to say goodbye to a beloved car that has been with you through red lights and road trips, but remembering the benefit to charities and the environment can make saying goodbye a little easier. With advances in auto recycling, you may even see your car again, in its second life.

Car Donation Wizard can help you benefit amazing charitable organizations, from Habitat to Humanity, to American Cancer Society, to Feed the Children. But did you know that donating a vehicle can make the world and the environment a better place?

auto recycling

How You Can Help

Globally, at least 50,000,000 vehicles reach the end of their life every year, and at least 95% of those cars are recycled.

Some of the recyclable components include:

  • Metals
  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Rubber
  • Tires
  • Batteries
  • Fluids
  • Carpets

Metal is a major component of vehicles that can be recycled into everyday consumer products, from soda cans, to new appliances, to new cars. By recycling your old car, you can help save energy, save water, and help amazing charities with an eco-friendly donation!

The tires on your old car can be used to pave roads, make shoes, and even create sustainable train tracks! Rubber train tracks last longer than the traditional wood material, which saves trees and helps us all breathe better air.

The junk car taking up space in your garage or driveway can help your favorite charity and the environment. Sometimes, your beloved vehicle can be even more useful in its second life.

To make a sustainable, charitable car donation, give us a call at 877-999-8322.


Giving Back for Mother’s Day

Car Donation Wizard wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day!

car donation mother's day

Looking for a way to give back this Mother’s Day? Check out UNICEF’s inspired gifts page, whose proceeds go to save children worldwide.

Mother’s Day Inspired Gifts

In the parched Sahel region of West and Central Africa, children are becoming truly desperate – desperate to find any scrap of food, desperate for hope, desperate to keep the last spark of life alive. For malnourished children like these, the Child Survival Food Pack is the ultimate care package. With a simple box containing therapeutic food, high-energy biscuits, and more, you can breathe life into a child dying of starvation.

Help save a life this Mother’s Day. It’s a truly heartwarming gift.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF also accepts vehicle donations. Do you have an old car, boat on a trailer, truck, RV, motorcycle or other vehicle? Consider donating it to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF today. Visit our vehicle donation to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF page today for more information.


Celebrating Earth Day Through Car Donation

When  you think about celebrating Earth Day, Car Donation Wizard hopes you’re thinking of ways that you can reduce your environmental impact on the planet. For instance, taking shorter showers, learning more about what’s recyclable, cleaning up your neighborhood beach, planting more flowers and trees, biking to work part of the week. However you choose to give back, know that future generations will reap the benefits of your contribution.

When you donate a car to one of our amazing charities like Habitat for Humanity, the American Cancer Society, Car Talk or any of our other great partners, your vehicle goes to one of two places: to an auction facility or a recycling facility. Vehicles that get recycled are extremely valuable to maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Did you know that millions of tons of iron and steel enters the recycling stream because of how easy it is to separate from other materials (steel has incredible magnetic properties)? When you decide to donate that old junk car, you’re not only doing something great for charity, but you’re helping to take a car (or other vehicle) that may be producing harmful emissions off the road and into the steel recycling process. Steel never loses its strength, no matter how many times it’s been recycled, which makes it a valuable commodity and insures that when you buy future steel products, you’re always buying recycled steel. Making new steel requires a lot of energy, but the fact that we’re able to recycle steel from donated vehicles helps contribute to the statistic that the amount of energy needed to produce a ton of steel has been reduced by 34% since 1972.

So the next time you’re considering whether that old vehicle taking up space in your driveway is donation worthy, consider the value of steel recycling and know that Car Donation Wizard can help you stay green and give back at the same time. Now that’s an Earth Day promise we can all stand behind.

Check out our video on how donated cars get recycled:

Happy Earth Day!


Spotlight on our Partner: The American Cancer Society

We are proudly partnered with the American Cancer Society’s Cars For a Cure vehicle donation program. The American Cancer Society is an organization that believes in saving lives by helping people around the country prevent cancer or detect it early, when it’s most treatable. At its core, the American Cancer Society is a vigilant grassroots force of citizen-soldiers; passionate volunteers who tirelessly seek to save lives from cancer. Whether it’s passing smoke-free laws, increasing funding for cancer research, improving access to quality health care, or inspiring communities to take up the fight, ACS fights on all fronts, because the lessons we learn from one battlefield can mean victory on another. Through community events like Relay For Life® and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®, we mobilize the world’s largest movement to defeat cancer once and for all.

Cancer Research, Car DonationCars for KidsSupport cancer research through car donation

Fight for everyone.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate; neither does ACS. The American Cancer Society fights for every birthday threatened by every cancer, in every community. ACS fights so one day no one has to ever face cancer.

Combine wisdom with passion.

Their unwavering commitment is based on a century of experience. ACS turns what they know about cancer – like how to prevent it – into what they do. And they fight on every front, because lessons from one battlefield can mean victory on another.


The list of accomplishments ACS has achieved with their more than 3 million supporters is long, but the bottom line is that more than 11 million cancer survivors – and countless Americans who have avoided cancer – are celebrating birthdays this year because of the progress they have made.

Together with millions of supporters, the American Cancer Society saves lives and creates more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. Give back today through vehicle donations. Donate a car, truck, boat, motorcycle, trailer, airplane, motorhome or other vehicle today and help the American Cancer Society continue to save lives

Cars For a Cure


Where Does Your Donated Car Go? Learn About Auto Auctions…

Donated car goes to auction in RI

Ocean State Auto Auction on a bright clear day

One of the ways that Car Donation Wizard processes donated vehicles is by selling them to licensed dealers at wholesale auctions across the country. The proceeds from each vehicle sale are forwarded to the donor’s charity of choice. The donor then gets the ability to deduct the sale price of the vehicle from their taxes.

To get a better idea of this process we attended one of these auctions in person to show you in detail just how it all works.

The auction we chose to attend was Ocean State Auto Auction right nearby in our home state of Rhode Island. Ocean State Auto Auction is the only wholesale auto auction in the small state of Rhode Island. They facilitate the sale of thousands of vehicles each year.

where does your donated car go?

An old Corvette in very good shape attracted a bit of attention

These vehicles are not just donated cars. Actually, the majority of vehicles processed through Ocean State are former lease cars, former utility cars, bank repossessions, recreational vehicles, dealer sales, and insurance loss cars. The insurance loss vehicles, for example, consist of cars that were involved in some sort of accident, and that the owners chose to relinquish rather than repair. The insurance company then sells the vehicle to licensed dealers, who in turn either fix them for resale or part them out.

Ocean State does not ever technically own these vehicles. They are merely facilitating the sale of them. But they do so by attracting a wide range of buyers that come to buy the vehicles in their huge auction garage. Ocean State makes a profit by charging fees for buying and selling the vehicles.

All of the vehicles are stored outdoors in a massive lot. They are all inventoried and numbered. Chalk marks on the windshield denote the stock number and mileage.

cars donated to charity may enter the auto auction

Vehicles in the lot waiting to be auctioned

The auction itself takes place in a massive indoor garage with multiple “lanes” lettered in alphabetical order. There are garage doors at each end of the vehicle lanes for the vehicles to drive through. Inside, each lane is devoted to several categories of vehicles. One or more Ocean State employees are assigned to oversee each lane.

Before the sale, attendants prep the vehicles and line them up to the garage door in their respective lanes. Typically a preparation will consist of washing and detailing the vehicle, charging the battery or other quick minor adjustments to get the vehicles ready to go.

Donated VW Jetta to Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program

A 1999 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 is headed into the garage lane to be auctioned. The vehicle was donated to Car Talk

When the auction starts, the vehicles up for sale are driven into the garage. Cars that aren’t running are pushed in from behind by padded trucks. The vehicles then pause for brief buyer inspection. Prospective buyers have a chance to look the car over, examine any body flaws, and open the doors and look inside the interior. Diagnostic tools are not allowed. But there is really no point to that at a dealer-only auction. These vehicles are sold as-is, so it is implied they may have problems and the dealers are fully aware and prepared. The big picture is what influences buyers’ decisions: year, make, model mileage and condition. Most important is whether the vehicle runs and drive or not. The auction does certify and stand behind certain vehicles that are running with no major issues, so if the buyer does buy a vehicle that seems misrepresented, they can return it. But most of the time, that’s not an issue. These buyers know exactly what they want.

Donated Jaguar to Car Talk

A potential buyer inspects the interior of a 1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible generously donated to Car Talk

Bidding starts right away and only lasts a couple of minutes. Each lane has a tall bidding podium where the announcer is seated to accept bids. Buyers will subtly indicate they want to place a bid, usually with a non-verbal form of body communication: a raised hand, an arm motion, a nod of their head. The highest bidder wins. Not all cars are sold automatically, however. If there is an especially valuable or high-interest vehicle, off-site sellers will most likely review the high bid later and decide to accept or not. If the bid is approved on site, and if winners can provide payment on site and have temporary license plates to put on the vehicle, they can drive the cars home the same day.

Auctioneer of donated vehicles

Ocean State employees hard at work at the auctioneer podium

How is my donated car sold at an auto auction?

This sign lights up to indicate important information to buyers about the vehicle

Once the bidding is completed, the vehicle is then driven out the other end of the garage and back into the lot. Workers on deck mop the lane after the vehicles drive through to keep the area clean and tidy. The next car is then driven through, and the whole process starts over again, until the auction ends for that day. Typical auctions last a few hours.

So there you have it: an exclusive look into the hectic, fast-paced world of wholesale auto auctions, where your generous vehicle donation is processed. Your donated car is just one of many vehicles, but it’s still given special treatment and a chance to raise as much money as possible for a great cause.

For more information on how and who to donate to, visit

auto auction donated car sales