If you have a disability it is often quite difficult to get around. This often limits your ability to find gainful employment, make it to appointments, and is even a barrier to essentials like buying groceries.
You may be able to get a free car if you are disabled and meet certain criteria. You may be eligible if you:
- Have a medical condition
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have a true need for personal transportation
- Can prove you can’t afford to purchase a car
Method 1 of 5: Get a donated vehicle from an organization
Services such as FreeCharityCars help match vehicle donors to eligible recipients like disabled people. They provide a venue where generous people donate a used vehicle they no longer require (in exchange for a donation receipt for tax purposes) and match the donated vehicle to a person that most demonstrates a need for that kind of vehicle.
Services that match disabled people with donated vehicles don’t strictly work with disabled people. There are many different demographics that can apply for the few donated vehicles that come available. Those people include:
- Victims of domestic violence
- The working poor
- People in transitional homes
- Victims of natural disasters
- Non-profit organizations
- Military families
Because there is such high demand for donated vehicles and no way to foresee how many or what kinds of vehicles will be donated, there is no assurance that you will receive a free car from the organization. This process can take weeks to years and may never provide you with results.
Method 2 of 5: Spread your need on social media
There is no telling who might read your posts online. Social media has provided a venue that is far-reaching and simple to use. There are many ways to use social media to convey your need for a vehicle that can reach thousands of people, many of whom you probably don’t know.
Step 1: Use social media. Post on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Write a catchy post that provides details about why you need a vehicle for free.
Step 2: Be honest and concise. Give the reader enough information without going into more detail than is comfortable for the reader to take in.
Step 3: Share with friends. Ask your friends to share your post with their friends.
Step 4: Have contact info available. Most importantly, have a contact method in your post so potential vehicle donors can contact you directly.
Method 3 of 5: Approach local non-profit organizations
Whether you have a disease-related or accident-related impairment, there are support agencies and organizations dedicated to your specific disability. They may or may not have services that provide free vehicles as each organization has separate criteria and programs.
Step 1: Research local orgs. Find your local branch through an internet search, in the phonebook, or by networking with others in the same situation as yourself.
Step 2: Contact. Contact the branch and request information for a free vehicle.
- If the person you are speaking with isn’t aware of any vehicle programs, politely ask to speak with another person. You can also check with another non-local branch to see if programs exist.
Step 3: Be aware of programs. Some agencies may have programs available that subsidize a portion of a vehicle or cover a part of the expenses related to ownership, so be sure to take note of those details.
Method 4 of 5: Local churches
Step 1: Speak with your minister. If you are part of a place of worship or church, speak with your minister or an authority in the church about your need for a vehicle.
Step 2: Let them speak to the congregation. Allow them to communicate your need to the congregation where a generous donor may have a free vehicle for you.
Most churches are non-profit organizations and may be able to provide a tax receipt to a vehicle donor.
This can be a great way for the church to serve the needs of their community while still benefiting the donor in some way.
Tip: If you are not part of a church body currently, don’t begin attending for the purpose of getting a free vehicle. You can still approach church leaders in several local churches about a free vehicle for your situation in hopes of their generosity.
Method 5 of 5: Ask local mechanics
A popular practice for owners of older cars is to retire them when they require repairs that they don’t feel are beneficial or are too costly. Local mechanics may have a scoop on a vehicle that an owner plans on retiring or giving away.
Step 1: Research local mechanics. Approach the shop owner or mechanic, explaining why you need a free vehicle. Give them all the pertinent details that may sway them to assist you.
Step 2: Get connected. The shop owner can liaise with their customer on your behalf regarding donating a vehicle to you.
Step 3: Transfer old vehicle to your ownership. Occasionally, a vehicle owner may abandon a vehicle that requires repairs or that they no longer want. The shop owner or mechanic can help get you in touch with that person to transfer the vehicle to you.
Step 4: Request repair at low/no cost. Politely request the mechanic to check for repairs and even perform repairs at low or no cost.
If you are successful in getting a vehicle for free, make a point of expressing your gratitude to the person or organization you received the vehicle from. A vehicle donation is not to be taken lightly as it is a large expense for the donor.
Likely your new vehicle has several years of service on it already. It will require fuel, regular upkeep and maintenance, repairs, and will need insurance and registration. All of these items are at a cost to you and you should be prepared for the expense. Contact local repair shops and insurance agencies to see if they give discounts to disabled persons. Depending on your circumstances and location, you might need to pay taxes on your vehicle’s value even if it was donated.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Get a Car For Free When You Have a Disability and was authored by Jason Unrau.