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.