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he 2017 Ig­ni­tion New Ve­hi­cle Buyer's Guide is pri­mar­ily a re­search and in­for­ma­tion tool for those in the mar­ket for a new car – that's why we pub­lish it.

How­ever, for many con­sumers a big part of buy­ing a new ve­hi­cle also in­volves the dis­posal of an older car. While many new car shop­pers elect to dis­pose of their old ve­hi­cle by sell­ing it pri­vately or us­ing it as a trade in against the pur­chase of a new ve­hi­cle, there is a third op­tion that is be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly at­trac­tive op­tion – do­na­tion.

Kid­ney Car is a unique ve­hi­cle do­na­tion pro­gram de­vel­oped by The Kid­ney Foun­da­tion of Canada. Pro­ceeds from the pro­gram are in­vested in ac­tiv­i­ties that help peo­ple liv­ing with kid­ney dis­ease, such as peer sup­port, fund­ing for in­no­va­tive re­search and rais­ing aware­ness of kid­ney health and or­gan do­na­tion. This year Kid­ney Car marks its 25th An­niver­sary, mak­ing it the long­est run­ning ve­hi­cle do­na­tion pro­gram in Canada.

The idea of do­nat­ing a car might seem a bit con­trary to our in­grained in­stincts as con­sumers, es­pe­cially when it comes to a big-ticket item like a per­sonal ve­hi­cle that is of­ten deeply con­nected to our per­sonal iden­ti­ties and is there­fore treated like a prized pos­ses­sion.

It's hard to imag­ine just giv­ing some­thing that im­por­tant away for noth­ing more than a tax re­ceipt and the warm feel­ings that come from do­ing a good deed.

De­spite be­ing a bit at odds with hu­man na­ture, tens of thou­sands of Cana­di­ans, coast to coast, make the choice each year to make their car a Kid­ney Car.

It's not hard to see why it's an at­trac­tive op­tion ei­ther, es­pe­cially for older ve­hi­cles.

Most cars do­nated are high-mileage, roughly 12-14 years-old, which makes them of rel­a­tively lit­tle value on the used car mar­ket or as a trade-in can­di­date.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, ve­hi­cles worth as much as $15,000 – $20,000 will be do­nated but most cars Kid­ney Car sees are ones that are worth much less.

And that usu­ally suits its donors just fine.

Most aren't con­cerned with the fi­nan­cial return that comes from sell­ing a used car, and many are un­will­ing to in­vest the time and ex­pense in sell­ing a car pri­vately. For them, Kid­ney Car is an ideal so­lu­tion. “We mar­ket this very much from a busi­ness stand­point. It's a prob­lem-solv­ing tool for peo­ple who don't want to have to go through the has­sle of go­ing on to Ki­jiji, or they don't want to ar­gue at the deal­er­ship,” says David Cy­bul­ski, Se­nior Man­ager for the On­tario Kid­ney Car Pro­gram.

“They just bought their new car and need to make space in the drive­way, or a loved one has passed and amidst all the stress of set­tling their af­fairs, the last thing some­one has time for is hag­gling over the sale price of a ve­hi­cle left be­hind. Th­ese are com­mon sit­u­a­tions that we see ev­ery day and where Kid­ney Car is the feel good an­swer.”

There can also be some trep­i­da­tion when it comes to sell­ing a car pri­vately, some­thing the Kid­ney Car pro­gram is well-suited to al­le­vi­ate.

“We've been do­ing this for a long time. A lot of peo­ple's con­cerns in deal­ing with sell­ing a car is the lack of per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence. That's some­thing we have as an or­ga­ni­za­tion. We un­der­stand the im­por­tance of mak­ing it a safe and re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the donor. We help them ev­ery step of the way. We make it as sim­ple as pos­si­ble,” Cy­bul­ski says. And it's a pretty easy thing to do. All one has to do to donate a ve­hi­cle is call the Kid­ney Car hot­line (or visit the web­site), and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive will call back within 24 hours to ar­range a pick-up time.

Kid­ney Car works with pro­fes­sional auto re­cy­cler part­ners and tow­ing com­pa­nies, and in most cases, the ve­hi­cle can be towed away within 48 hours. In terms of the tax re­ceipt, it's $300 min­i­mum but can be much greater depend­ing on the con­di­tion of the ve­hi­cle.

He says that for many donors the top three rea­sons they donate their ve­hi­cles are the ease with which a pick-up can be ar­ranged (Kid­ney Car as­sists with the pa­per­work, in­clud­ing ti­tle trans­fer), the free tow and the char­i­ta­ble as­pects as­so­ci­ated with do­na­tion.

Cy­bul­ski calls ve­hi­cle do­na­tion a self­less act, and the idea of do­ing some­thing that serves the com­mu­nity res­onates with many donors.

Most take com­fort, he says, in the knowl­edge that their older car is, “go­ing to a good place.” That feel­ing of­ten turns first-timers into re­peat donors. And there are num­bers to back it up. Cy­bul­ski says that sur­veys the Foun­da­tion has con­ducted re­veal that 98 per­cent would rec­om­mend Kid­ney Car and 96 per­cent said they would donate again.

Ve­hi­cle do­na­tion won't ap­peal to ev­ery car owner – those with high-priced ex­otics or col­lec­tor cars, for ex­am­ple, will usu­ally feel com­pelled for some sort of fi­nan­cial return – but for an old sedan or pick-up truck gath­er­ing dust in a garage or in the cor­ner of the drive­way, it pro­vides a fitting end for many years of faith­ful ser­vice.

lo­cal Automotive Ser­vice Pro­fes­sional can change those tires for your car with­out com­pro­mis­ing its war­ranty.

Many new car buy­ers be­lieve that they have to say good­bye to the con­ve­nience and re­la­tion­ship they have built with a trusted lo­cal in­de­pen­dent garage un­til the new car war­ranty ex­pires.

The truth is that there is noth­ing in a new car war­ranty to com­pel you to return only to the dealer for reg­u­lar main­te­nance. While the word­ing in owner's man­u­als can vary from man­u­fac­turer to man­u­fac­turer, what you should no­tice upon read­ing is that while they may de­tail a sched­ule of reg­u­lar main­te­nance ser­vice items, they will not spec­ify where that ser­vice must be per­formed.

In each prov­ince in Canada, there are Automotive Ser­vice Pro­fes­sion­als who are qual­i­fied to ser­vice any ve­hi­cle make and model. The good news is you still have the right to bring your new car to that qual­i­fied Automotive Ser­vice Pro­fes­sional you have trusted over the years.

A great first step is to talk to your shop of choice to en­sure that the main­te­nance sched­ule for your ve­hi­cle is fol­lowed—this will be out­lined in your car's owner's man­ual and war­ranty/ ser­vice book. Par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion should be made to en­sure that man­u­fac­turer rec­om­mended flu­ids are used and ac­cu­rately doc­u­mented in your record of ser­vice. It is im­por­tant to rec­og­nize that

• Work­ing with your lo­cal Automotive Ser­vice Pro­fes­sional, you can main­tain your ve­hi­cle's war­ranty while also re­tain­ing the con­ve­nience and per­sonal ser­vice of­fered.

• Your in­de­pen­dent garage has ac­cess to prod­ucts that meet the re­quired spec­i­fi­ca­tions to main­tain your car's war­ranty.

• Your in­de­pen­dent garage has ac­cess to sched­uled main­te­nance in­for­ma­tion re­quired to main­tain your car's war­ranty.

• Your in­de­pen­dent garage can doc­u­ment your ser­vice to en­sure there are records of ser­vice should there ever be a dis­pute re­gard­ing war­ranty.

• The only ser­vice that MAY be re­quired to be done at a car dealer are war­ranty re­pairs and re­calls. Your in­de­pen­dent garage can help keep you in­formed of th­ese ser­vice re­quire­ments.

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