How to Get a Donated Car from Goodwill?

Goodwill is one of the largest zones for donated items in the United States. Normally, when items such as clothes or cars are donated to this charity organization, the goods are auctioned on their website. Goodwill has a catalog of nice cars, and they usually come cheap. However, getting a car from this thrift store isn’t as simple as ordering items from Amazon. This guide outlines how to get a donated car from Goodwill as well as tips to get good deals.

Getting a Donated Car from Goodwill

According to Goodwill, the items auctioned on their site are donated from participating members across the country. Buyers don’t need to worry about stolen or substandard items. Money received from sales of these items is mostly used for charity works. Hence, buying a vehicle from Goodwill, you’re assured of getting the needed paperwork that certifies you as the real owner.

Also, if you’re interested in learning how to get donated cars on Goodwill, the first thing you should know is that when cars are donated to Goodwill, they’re not listed on Rather, they’re taken to Capital Auto Auction where you can bid for the cars using the capital auto auction website.

Go through this guide to gain more information about buying cars on auction.

Auction Locations

Auction Locations

Cars donated to Goodwill are usually transferred to the Washington DC area capital auto auction. There are two auto auction locations in the city. One at Northeast DC and the other at Temple Hill Maryland. Car auctioning for Goodwill car is usually held every Saturday morning at these locations.

Most times, the live auction starts by 9:00 am and bidding usually commences then. Normally, those that attend the live auction have a better chance of getting the vehicle than those who stumble on it online. The online auction is held on the website of the capital auto auction every Saturday at 2:00 pm.

The exact location for the auction is mentioned below

Capital Auto Auction – Washington, DC

  • 1905 Brentwood Road, NE
  • Washington, DC 20018
  • Every Saturday 10:00 am
  • While that of Temple Hills holds 9:00 am

Capital Auto Auction – Temple Hills, MD

  • 5001 Beech Road
  • Temple Hills, MD 20748

Shopping For Other Items on Goodwill

Shopping For Other Items On Goodwill

Signing Up

All internet users can view items listed for sale on Goodwill. However, you will have to sign up for a free account before you can start bargaining. Once you sign up, your email has to be verified as well.

To open an account, visit “” and go to the signup page.

Shopping For Items

There are several ways to shop for what you want on Goodwill. You can simply log in and start browsing through the listings on their home-page or use filters to find what you want to save time. Also, you can browse by category by clicking “categories” from the main page and selecting “clothes” if you want to get donated clothes.

However, you will hardly find what you want doing this, which is why we recommend using the advanced search option to locate items of your choice.

Apply one of these filters to help you save time when searching for items:

  • Search Terms: This filter allows users to search for items using matching keywords. Rather than going through the entire category, you can simply type in the keyword “sneakers” to view the list of sneakers on auction.
  • Using the search filter, you can access the advanced search option which allows you to filter by attributes (colors, price, now items only, show pickup items only or hide pickup only items)
  • Location Filters: This will enable you to find items based on a specific geographical location
  • Price Filter: This filter allows you to select the price range of vehicles you’re likely interested in.

The advantage of using filters is that you can apply more than one to find the perfect match.

Tips To Get the Best Deal on Goodwill

Since shopping on Goodwill is tricky, this video shows you items to avoid.

There’s no guarantee that you will get an item you place a bid for. But, knowing how things work will increase your odds. As earlier mentioned, items vary in categories but tend to have the same shipping rate when listed. To get the best deals, follow the tips below:

  • It’s much easier when you bid on items with no bidding. However, ensure you go through the description before placing a bid. If others are avoiding the item, it could be a sign that it’s defective.
  • Most members on Goodwill tend to make a bid in .99, naturally, if someone bids $27.99 and you bid $28.04 your odds of winning are higher.
  • Browse through items at different times, especially at the end of the auction. It’s possible that increasing your bid at the last minute will swing things in your favor.
  • On Goodwill, there are items with the “Buy it now” tag, such items are sold instantly without any bidding war.

Lastly, when you search for items on Goodwill, and you find one you’re ready to bid on, go through the description to ensure the items are in good order. Goodwill has a 7-day money-back guarantee on items sold, so you can return it if you’re not satisfied with the item.

However, if you still go ahead and place a bid on items that show damages or wear in the description, you won’t get a refund.

Making the Right Bid

Bidding for the first time on Goodwill, you want to ensure your bid is higher than the previous ones. However, it’s important you’re happy with the amount you’re paying. Before placing a bid, search for the price of similar items on sites like Amazon, eBay or other retail sites. For instance, new Nike sneakers are sold for $59 on eBay, your bid for the Donated version on Goodwill should be less or in worst cases equal. Make sure an item is valuable before placing a bid.

Brush up your bidding skills at car auction when you go through this.


This is mostly all the information you need on how to get a donated car from Goodwill. The auction processes can get pretty intense as you might be priced out by bidders who have more money. If you’ve had any success in getting a car from Goodwill, we will love you to share a few tricks that helped you outsmart other bidders in the comment session below.