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Cars for moms: Free cars for single moms and low-income families

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One of the most important necessities for many people is a reliable car. But if you are struggling financially, buying a vehicle or repairing the one you have is simply out of reach.

Help for those who need a free car

A single mom and her kids enjoy their free car.

Fortunately, there is help for those who need a free car. There are income-based qualifications for these free car programs that include:

  • Income based on federal poverty level
  • Family situation (children, medical needs)
  • Military and veterans
  • State-specific programs

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FreeCharityCars.org

FreeCharityCars.org is the free car division of 1-800-Charity Cars, a nonprofit organization that accepts donated vehicles to be given to families who are without transportation. The organization has been featured on Oprah, Good Morning America and in People magazine. The company has gifted more than 9,000 cars nationwide.

How do you qualify for a donated car from FreeCharityCars.org?

Free Charity Cars gives away donated cars throughout the United States to those in need, including:

  • Domestic violence victims
  • The medically needy
  • Victims of natural disasters
  • Families transitioning from public assistance to work
  • Families living in transitional living shelters
  • The working poor
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Military families

Those interested in applying for a free car from Free Charity Cars can complete the vehicle request form on the website, which requires applicants:

  • U.S. resident 
  • 18 years old
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level
  • Have a genuine need for a vehicle
  • Have access to a computer and internet service
  • Have the financial means to pay for tags, title, emissions, insurance, etc.

Cars 4 Heroes

Cars 4 Heroes is a registered nonprofit that provides free vehicles to veterans, active-duty military, first responders —  and their families if they do not have the means to obtain their own. The charity was founded in 1996 by used car business owners Terry Franz and Mike Van Noy with the program Cars 4 Christmas and gave away six cars that year.

Today, the organization gifts between 200 and 300 cars every year through Cars 4 Heroes. Charity officials announce awarded vehicles every Monday on radio station FM 101 The Fox in Kansas City, and the organization opens the program up to everyone at Christmas.

How do you qualify for a donated car from Cars 4 Heroes?

Those interested in applying for a free car from Cars 4 Heroes can do so on the website.

Required information on the application includes:

  • Name and contact
  • Military status and service
  • Honors and discharge
  • Military ID photo
  • Details about need

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Good News Garage (Vermont and Massachusetts)

Good News Garage has donated 5,500 cars to those in need who live in Vermont and Massachusetts since its founding in 1996. The nonprofit is working to expand to New Hampshire. 

The charity is part of Ascentria Care Alliance, Lutheran Community Services.

How do you qualify for a donated car from Good News Garage?

The program awards vehicles to Vermont residents in partnership with the Department of Children and Families’ Reach Up program and to Massachusetts residents in partnership with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

Learn more about charities and services for moms in Massachusetts and Vermont.

Hands of the Carpenter

Hands of the Carpenter is a faith-based nonprofit that provides working single moms with reliable transportation. Through the Transportation @ Low Cost (TLC) and Lift UP programs, you can get discounted repairs and access to a reliable car to get to work. This program serves seven counties in Colorado and is open to working single moms with dependent children.

After participating in TLC, you can apply for the Lift UP program which provides:

  • Discounted car care for up to three years
  • Vehicle placement for cars that are beyond repair
  • Vehicles for working moms that don't have a car
  • Car education to ensure the car stays in good working condition

Vehicles for Change (Maryland and Virginia)

Since 1999, Vehicles for Change has provided 7,500+ cars to those in need in Maryland and Virginia.

The organization does not give away cars for free. Instead, the charity, which is verified by GuideStar, sells the donated cars for about $700 and sets the individual or family up with a 12-month, low-interest loan, which in turn helps them establish credit.

How do you qualify for a donated car from Vehicles for Change?

To be eligible, Maryland and Virginia residents must work with a sponsoring agency and meet the following:

  • Resident of Maryland or Virginia
  • Referred by one of the sponsoring agencies listed here
  • Have a verifiable job offer or be working at least 30 hours a week
  • Have a driver’s license in the state in which you reside
  • Be insurable (no DWIs or DUIs)
  • Not have any other vehicle in your household
  • You must be drug free
  • 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

Find more charities and services for single moms in Maryland and Virginia.

Cars for Moms

Young woman happy behind the wheel of her car - for cars for free

Cars for Moms is a nationwide charity that provides transportation, vehicles, and car repairs for single parents who need help with reliable transportation. People donate cash or cars to support single moms in need.

How do you qualify for a donated car from Cars for Moms?

To qualify, you need a nomination for a donated car. You can nominate yourself, or someone can nominate you.

Cars for Moms vets all nominees and checks with partners in your state to see if there are donated cars to give away. If there are no cars available, the nonprofit saves your information until they are able to help.

Wheels from the Heart (Florida)

Wheels from the Heart is a nonprofit organization that provides reliable vehicles to single mothers. They currently help single moms in Florida in the following areas:

  • Boca Raton
  • Broward County
  • Delray Beach
  • Palm Beach County
  • Palm Springs
  • Lake Worth

How do you qualify for a donated car from Wheels from the Heart?

Wheels from the Heart works with specific Florida charities to identify single mothers who need transportation. Wheels from the Heart vets each nominee and adds qualified single moms to a waiting list to receive a donated vehicle.

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National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides

Young black family in a car on a road trip smiling to camera

Since the NABC Recycled Rides program started in 2007, more than 3,200 vehicles have gone to individuals, families, and social service agencies. NABC members, including collision experts, car insurance companies, and local businesses work together to refurbish and donate reliable vehicles. This is a nationwide program.

Recently, a single father of six in Sacramento, who had been biking 16 miles roundtrip to work, was gifted with a restored 2019 Hyundai Elantra from the NABC Recycled Rides program. It was a combined effort of Caliber Collision Roseville, Travelers Insurance, and Family Promise of Sacramento:

How do you qualify for a car from NABC Recycled Rides?

To qualify for a car from NABC Recycled Rides, you must be referred by an NABC partner organization, such as a nonprofit or charity like the United Way. 

This program donates cars to people who:

  • Have a valid driver's license and a safe, clean driving record
  • Are able to get car insurance and pay for registration, title, and other fees
  • Do not currently own a reliable vehicle
  • Can afford fuel and service for a vehicle
  • Have household income around 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL)
  • Are honorably discharged (if a veteran)

Contact your local charities and nonprofits to find out if they work with NABC or ask your case manager if you receive government benefits.

Working Cars for Working Families

The National Consumer Law Center’s Working Cars for Working Families program serves as a support system for low-income families and the charities that help those families with transportation.

How do they help?

  • Improves consumer protection to stop abuse in car sales and finance
  • Promotes nonprofit efforts to provide cars or financing to those in need
  • Collects data and analysis regarding car ownership and working families

The organization publishes a comprehensive list of find-a-car programs across the nation.

Churches and other local orgs

Churches have long been a place to turn to for help, and many low-income families can find assistance with transportation needs there as well. In addition to providing a car, some churches also help with car repairs and affordable vehicle loans.

Catholic Charities USA runs a vehicle donation program that benefits those struggling to afford a car.

What are some other faith-based organizations that can help?

Search for local chapters of these faith organizations and inquire about help with vehicles:

  • United Methodist Church
  • Jewish Federation of North America
  • Lutheran Social Services
  • Episcopal Church
  • Knights of Columbus
  • The Salvation Army

Local car dealerships

Car dealerships aren’t nonprofit charitable organizations, but many of them do offer give-a-ways and promotional events, especially around the holidays. These events could prove successful for someone in need of a car.

Chat with representatives from local dealerships and small car lot owners about what they may have to offer in terms of community and charitable events or cars they may be willing to let go of for little money.

Where can I sell my car for the most money in 2023?

Local charities

Local charities are a good resource when it comes to getting a free car. They work to build relationships with the community they serve and are able to identify people who need transportation.

Recently, the Military Warriors Support Foundation worked with a local dealership and Wells Fargo to donate a 2023 Buick Enclave to a veteran wounded in Iraq who is the father of five children who was wounded in combat:

FAQs about getting a free car

How can I get a free car from the government?

There are some federal grant programs that may provide help with the purchase of a car for people in some circumstances —. Benefits.gov details government programs for low-income families and individuals. By qualifying for some programs, such as child care assistance, it could free up income that could go towards a car loan.

Can Goodwill help me get a car?

The Goodwill Wheels to Work program allows low-income individuals to purchase a car for low, interest-free payments. The program is not available in all areas, however, so those interested should check with a local Goodwill Industries Headquarters.

What program helps you get a car?

Many programs such as Good News Garage and Wheels from the Heart can provide you with a free car. However, if those programs do not serve your area, you can search for “free cars for single moms near me” to find local programs that can help.

Not eligible for a free car?

Here are more transportation-related articles:

Free gas
Free car inspections
Free car repair
Free tires
Help with repossessions
Free rides
Free bus passes
Free roadside assistance
Cash for junk cars

Some charities are focused on helping those in need find a reliable ride, including getting financing that will not leave you broke. You can also check our state-by-state guides on services for single moms to find local programs.

Need to buy a car? Start by checking your credit score, and then seeing about getting an affordable car payment.

If you're ready to buy a car, but you have low or no credit, Auto Loan Express is a quality lender:

  • Better Business Bureau rating of A+
  • In business since 1999
  • For new or used cars
  • Auto loans and refi for buyers who have low or no credit, or who have gone through bankruptcy or had a vehicle repossessed
  • Pre-approval within 30 seconds

24 hours to a car loan with Auto Loan Express >>

Bottom line: There are cars for moms

Having a reliable vehicle can make your life easier, whether you use it to get to work, pick up your child, attend after-school activities events, or visit the doctor.

Need financial assistance? These posts can help:

Help for single moms: 16+ resources$500 monthly single mom grant
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Free prescription glassesFree money
10+ charities that help single mothersTutoring and homework help
Free or low-cost after school programsHealth insurance
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Free school suppliesFree housing
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Buying a car with no credit
How can I get a car with no money?

If you're ready to buy a car, but money is a problem, we recommend myAutoLoan, a marketplace for auto loans.

How can I get a free car from the government?

There are some grant programs that may provide help with the purchase of a car for people in some circumstances. Benefits.gov details government programs for low-income families and individuals. By qualifying for some programs, such as child care assistance, it could free up income that could go towards a car loan.

Can Goodwill help me get a car?

The Goodwill Wheels to Work program allows low-income individuals to purchase a car for low, interest-free payments. The program is not available in all areas, however, so those interested should check with a local Goodwill Industries Headquarters.

6 Comments

Thank you so much for all of this very valuable information. I will definitely pass it along to other single moms who just need all the help that they can find.

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