Dirty Car Upholstery? Clean It in 4 Steps


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Your car is essential. It gets you to work, the grocery store, doctor's appointments, and wherever else you need to go. If you have kids, you probably use your car even more often as you drive them to all of their school events and activities.

As great as your car is, with all this running around, it can get dirty quickly, especially if you have pets or kids. You may not love sitting on a grease-covered seat multiple times every day. If you need to give your car's fabric-upholstered seats a good cleaning, keep reading. This blog can teach you how to do the job.

1. Prepare

First, pick a warm, sunny day to wash your seats. That way, the sun will dry the seats for you when you're done cleaning. Next, clean out your car. If you have booster seats, papers, or other objects laying around on the seats, get rid of them so that you can get your work done.

Before washing the seats, you'll need to remove any debris, like hair, crumbs, and lint. A vacuum is the best tool for the job. Use a handheld vacuum or a hose-and-brush attachment on your regular vacuum. Make sure to get into the cracks so that nothing gets left behind.

2. Find or Make a Cleaning Solution

You have several options for what to use to clean the fabric. You can always buy a product specifically made for cleaning fabric, or you can make your own solution. Be warned that while making your own solution is cheaper, it may not be as strong as a store-bought cleaner, though most car seats will not need harsh chemicals anyway.

If you want to make your own fabric cleaner, you have several options. Basically, you need to make a soap and water solution. People have had success with dish soap, laundry detergent, and even shaved pieces from a bar of hand soap. Whichever kind of soap you use, mix it with hot water. Use about a tablespoon of soap per cup of water.

Put whatever solution you buy or make in a spray bottle. Before you start cleaning, spray a little bit on an inconspicuous piece of upholstery so you can see if it will discolor or damage your car seat. If it looks okay, you can move on to the next step.

Upholstery Cleaner Recipes

3. Spray and Scrub

Spray down whichever seat you want to start cleaning first. However, don't be too enthusiastic-if the seat gets soaked, it may get moldy. You don't want to wet the seat through. Just get the top layer of cloth wet.

Once you've finished spraying, grab a scrubbing brush with soft bristles. Don't grab a stiff one, or you could hurt your upholstery. Using short strokes, scrub the car seat, focusing on any areas that are particularly stained or dirty.

The soap and dirt will bubble up as you scrub. Use a wet microfiber rag or towel to wipe off the grime and rinse the area, then use a clean, dry microfiber towel to wipe off any extra water. Once you've finished the seat you started with, you can spray and scrub the next one.

4. Let It Dry

Once you've finished scrubbing and wiping your seats, they will still be damp. This dampness is fine-- after all, you picked a sunny day to do this chore, remember? Just leave your windows down and let the sun do its job.

If you take the time to clean your car's seats, you'll have a much more enjoyable time driving. To learn more about taking care of your car so that it stays in great shape, read more of our blog posts./p>
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Beyond The Oil Change: 3 Important Car Maintenance Tasks


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Keeping your car running like new requires keeping up with its suggested regular maintenance. While there may be other required service tasks, like brake line flushes and transmission repairs, regular maintenance is the number one thing that will give your vehicle a long life. When most people think about car maintenance, they immediately think of oil changes.

While keeping your oil fresh and clean is a critical part of taking care of your car, there are other important car maintenance tasks to consider. Read on to learn about the top three more important car maintenance tasks that take you beyond a simple oil change.


Tire Alignment and Rotation

Your tires have a critical impact on how your car handles the road. Everything from how your car accelerates, steers, handles, and brakes comes down to your tires. While replacing your tires can help keep them fresh, doing so too often will get expensive. Instead, it’s worth having your tires aligned and rotated as part of your regular maintenance routine. A tire alignment is a process of adjusting the angles of your tires so that your car will travel along a straight line instead of pulling to either side. Tire alignments are a relatively low-cost maintenance item that should be done about once a year unless you routinely drive in poor road conditions. Doing this task will ensure a better and safer driving experience along with giving your tires a longer life. On the same note, tire rotations involve removing tires from one location of the car and moving them to another. Where the tires move depends on your vehicle’s drivetrain. The purpose of rotating your tires is to prevent uneven tire wear. Most cars should have a tire rotation every 5,000 to 8,000 miles which is often done during an oil change. The benefits of a simple tire rotation include a smoother overall ride, better fuel efficiency, and a longer-lasting suspension.

Click Here For Road Trip Maintenance Tips


Air Filter Replacement

air filter

Your engine requires oxygen to burn fuel. The air that comes from outside of your car into your engine is often dirty, dusty, and full of debris. Your engine compartment contains an air filter that cleans the air, and this protects the engine from unwanted particles that could damage the system. Your air filter goes into a special compartment between the intake and the actual motor. Over time, this filter gets clogged. It’s easy to tell when an air filter needs to be replaced as it will turn black with dirt and debris. A clogged filter reduces the necessary airflow to your engine, which hurts your engine’s fuel efficiency. If unchecked long enough, the air filter will eventually fail and allow harmful particles to damage your fuel system. Every vehicle has a different recommended time frame for changing the air filter. It’s often best to visually inspect the filter during every oil change to evaluate if it’s ready to be changed or not.


Brake Pad Replacement

No one would argue against the idea that your car’s brakes are an important part of the vehicle. Your brake pads use friction against the brake rotor or brake drum to slow and stop your car. This friction eventually wears down the pads until they need to be replaced. When brake pads become too thin, they are less effective at stopping your car and can create additional heat that can cause a host of problems. While some vehicle manufacturers include sensors that let you know when your brake pads need to be changed, most cars require other evaluation methods. In some cases, you might start to notice a squealing or grinding sound when the brakes are applied, which is a sign that a pad replacement is overdue. Pad life varies greatly depending on your driving style. With that in mind, most owner’s manuals recommend checking the brake pads every time you get an oil change. Just like your oil, your brake pads are one of the most critical car maintenance tasks on your vehicle.

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5 Criteria to Consider When Choosing a Charity


choosing a charity

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Whether you're choosing a charity to work with, want to donate to, or want to raise funds for, it's important to do your research so that you know your efforts are actually going towards a good cause. While there are a number of great charities to choose from and support, there are unfortunately a handful that might not be the best to invest your time and energy in.

While most charities are working towards a good cause, being able to spot the ones that are more efficient in their goals allows you to better target your own efforts when deciding what charity to work with. So just how do you figure out which charity to support? We’ve got 5 criteria to consider when choosing a charity.

1. Transparency

One of the most important aspects of a great charity is transparency. If a charitable organization can be transparent with the public about its allocation of funds, its administrative costs, its mission, vision, and goals, then this is a charity that is set up for success. If you're finding it difficult to figure out the information you're looking for, this probably isn't a charity that's fully transparent.

2. Understand How Donations are Used

Well-organized charities have a very clear outline on how donations are used. As you select a charity, explore how these donations are allocated and don't be afraid to ask questions. Going along with transparency, if you are able to quickly arrive at the answers to your questions, this is likely a charity that you'll want to work with.

3. Alignment With Your Values and Goals

Picking a charity that aligns with your personal values and goals is one of the best things to consider when choosing a charity. When a charity's mission speaks to your heart and your core values, the end result will always be one that is more fulfilling, productive, and fruitful.

charity donation

4. A Strong Public Presence

One of the best ways to vet whether or not a charity is a reputable organization is by assessing its public presence. As a general rule of thumb, you should look for an organization that has a strong public presence. This means they have a well-run website, and a social media presence, and regularly convey their message online, through digital prints, and through traditional outlets including television and radio ads.

5. Results and Accomplishments

If you're looking to work with a reputable and accomplished charity, then you're going to want to explore their past results and accomplishments. Reputable charities will have these accolades posted on all their digital platforms. If you're having a hard time finding these results, this is an indication that it might not be as strong a charity as you may have imagined.

Final Thoughts

At Newgate School, we're committed to supporting, promoting, and working with students of all backgrounds who are interested in transitioning into the automotive industry. In partnership with reputable and well-intentioned charities, this is a commitment that we come closer to each and every day. We hope our list of how to effectively consider different charities has helped you as you move forward in your own efforts to support and invest in charities you care about.

We firmly believe in transparency, and in fact, we even offer tours on a regular basis. If you want to learn more, attend a tour or donate your vehicle, contact us directly.

Benefits of Corporate Sponsorship For Nonprofits

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Commercial Car Wash Vs. Self Car Wash: Which Should You Choose?


Car Wash

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If you are a car owner, and having a clean vehicle is especially important to you, then you should know the best methods for keeping your car clean and spotless. There are two main ways which people go about keeping their cars clean and tidy, and that would be either the self-service car wash or the commercial car wash, otherwise known as the automatic car wash. Both systems get your car clean, but it is the how that sets these systems apart. How you clean, and keep your car clean, is an essential aspect of someone’s tastes and habits. So, which way is best for you?

What is Best For You?

Two get a better idea of what will best fit you, let’s take a look at both.


The Commercial Car Wash

As the word commercial suggests, this method of cleaning your car focuses on efficiency and consistency. Many commercial, as known as automatic car washes are systematic, robotic, and repetitive. Every commercial car wash comes with a pre-set system or a set of pre-set systems that allow their users to sit back, relax, and watch as their car is cleaned with absolute certainty. These car washes are ideal for corporations that want to keep their fleet of company cars clean and professional looking. Not only does this help their cars stay clean, but it also saves time, time that corporations need to keep their own operations running efficiently. For businesses such as car rentals or truck companies, the commercial car wash is their only viable option. There are too many vehicles to wash manually, and the automatic option best suits their needs. In this case, such businesses will buy this service in bulk to cut down on costs. Such a practice reduces the risk of scratches or damage to their vehicles and ensures their cars are always on the read. Additionally, if you are an entrepreneur, a traveling salesperson, or someone who desires their car to be constantly clean, then this option might be the best for you.


The Self Car Wash

The self car wash, as known as the self-service car wash, is geared toward the individual who values variety and accessibility. Not everyone operates on a set schedule like businesses and corporations. Sometimes a person wants to clean one area of the car and not the other. That is what sets the self-service car wash apart from the commercial. The self-service is a bit more personal, considering it is often the vehicle owner who cleans his or her car. On top of that, the self-service car wash allows the washer to wash their car on their own time. They can also decide what products and methods to use when cleaning their car. This can cut down costs, or increase them, all depending on how they clean their car. If you are very particular about how your car is cleaned, then this is the best method for you. The only downside to this method is that it is not nearly as efficient, but that shouldn’t be a problem for some people. Just be willing to get your hands a little dirty while cleaning your car.

Clean Your Upholstery In 4 Steps

If it's time to trade in your car, donate it to Newgate School. Your car provides our responsible students with hands-on automotive training.

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Want Your MPG? 10 Factors That Affect Fuel Economy


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Fuel economy isn’t just a number you find out about at the car lot; it’s also something that can change. Many regular driving and maintenance habits can reduce your fuel economy. Here are ten factors that affect fuel economy that you can change today.

Frequent Braking and Acceleration

When you’re in town, you frequently brake and accelerate because of traffic and stoplights. Even on the highway, driving aggressively by braking heavily or accelerating too quickly can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 30%.

How Fast You Travel

Like quick acceleration, maintaining a high speed can negatively affect your fuel economy. Maintaining a constant speed lower than 60 miles per hour reduces how much energy your engine uses and increases fuel efficiency.

How Far You Travel

An engine that isn’t fully warmed up won’t operate at the best efficiency, which means it will use more fuel. Warming up your engine while driving takes a bit of time, so traveling only short distances in your vehicle can use more gas than if you took a lengthier trip.

General Maintainance

Regular maintenance like oil changes, air filter cleaning and replacement, and more may feel like a chore than a benefit. But all of these things can change the performance of different parts of your car, including the engine and fuel efficiency, so make sure to get regular maintenance done on your vehicle.


Learn more about car maintenance here



Maintaining tire pressure prevents increased friction - and more engine power and fuel use. The same goes for worn tires; newer tires have better tread and fewer friction issues, meaning they’re better for fuel economy because less engine power and fuel are needed to move the same distance.

The Surface You Travel On

Driving on rough terrain wears out your tires faster. Going uphill or via winding roads can also cause your engine to work harder despite going the same distance. This means things like off-roading and taking a winding backroad home can reduce your fuel efficiency on your trips.

The Oil You Use

Motor oil can reduce friction in your engine and make a difference in your gas mileage. Because of this, it’s essential to use the proper oil in your car - it’s recommended that you use synthetic, friction-reducing oil.

The Weather

Just like you use more fuel on shorter, more frequent trips, you also use more fuel in cold weather because heating your car enough to drive it before you head out on your trip still uses gas. It’s hard to avoid driving in cold weather, but if you can limit it, it’ll be better for your fuel efficiency in the long run.

Engine Part Damage

Just like maintenance, when engine parts are damaged, it reduces engine performance and increases fuel use. Worn or damaged spark plugs, head gaskets, and pistons can reduce engine performance if they aren’t taken care of quickly.


Increased weight from passengers, lots of cargo, or towing something behind your car can decrease your fuel efficiency. Consider how much your vehicle can reasonably hold or haul before going on trips.


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DIY Upholstery Cleaner For Your Car - 5 Super Easy Homemade Recipes


DIY Upholstery Cleaner For Your Car

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Stop wasting money on car cleaning products that you can make right in your own kitchen using ingredients that you likely already have on hand. Today, we’ve got 5 super easy homemade recipes for making a powerful DIY upholstery cleaner for your car. 

Whether you’ve got cloth or leather upholstered seats, these DIY upholstery cleaners are sure to get your vehicle squeaky clean

How to Spot Clean Car’s Fabric Upholstery

What You’ll Need: 
    • One part baking soda 
    • One part warm water
    • Toothbrush

Mix together the baking soda and warm water until you've created a paste. Dab the paste onto the stain of your car's fabric upholstery and use a toothbrush to gently scrub along the grain of the fabric. After you've scrubbed, blot the area again with the paste and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. The baking soda will work to help lift the stain up. After 30 minutes, use a clean cloth to wipe away any leftover residue. 

How to Freshen up Your Car's Fabric Upholstery

What You’ll Need: 
    • One fourth cup of vinegar
    • A couple drops of dish detergent
    • Oe cup of warm water
    • Soft bristle brush 

Pour the vinegar, dish detergent, and warm water into a spray bottle. The spray bottle is how you will apply the mixture onto your car's fabric upholstery. Next, use your soft bristle brush to gently rub the mixture into the seats. You can even use the brush to focus on specific stains that are on your car's fabric. Finish the job by using a towel to pat dry the seats. 

How to Spot Cleaning Leather Car Upholstery

What You’ll Need: 
    • A microfiber cloth 
    • Non gel toothpaste
    • A toothbrush 

Apply a bit of the gel toothpaste directly onto the stain of your car's leather seats. It's important to use non gel toothpaste in order to remove the stain and not damage the leather. Using  an old toothbrush, gently scrub at the stain. Use a microfiber cloth and wipe away the toothpaste. If parts of the stain still remain, repeat the process until you've cleaned the leather entirely. 

How to Clean Your Car's Leather Upholstery

What You’ll Need: 
    • 1/4 vinegar
    • 1/4 cup
    • Lemon essential oil (for disinfecting) 

Pour the vinegar, olive oil, and 10 drops of the lemon essential oil into a spray bottle. This will be your cleaning solution to freshen up your car's leather upholstered seats. The vinegar will help to remove bacteria and stains while the olive oil will bring back your leather’s shine. Lemon essential oil is also great for helping to disinfect too. Spray the mixture onto a microfiber cloth and scrub your leather seats in a  circular motion.  use a towel to wipe away any excess moisture. 

Before you apply the mixture on your leather seats, do a spot test on an inconspicuous part of your seats. This is to make sure that the mixture does not react with the dye in your leather seats. 

How to Clean Your Vehicle's Interior Surfaces

What You’ll Need: 
    • One part vinegar 
    • One part water
    • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Mix the vinegar, water, and essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the hard surfaces of your vehicle's interior. Using a microfiber cloth, rub the mixture onto your vehicle's surfaces to help to lift away stains, dust, and any other imperfections. 

Commercial Vs. Self Car Wash

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What You Should Know About Spark Plugs, Their Adjustment, and Their Replacement (2022)


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What happens if the spark plug gap is too small?

If the spark plug gap in your vehicle is too small, the spark won’t have enough exposure to the fuel mixture to properly ignite it. The spark generated by a smaller spark plug gap is sometimes too weak to start the engine. Several engine issues result from a spark plug gap that is too small.

Click Here For Car Maintenance Tips

2. Spark plug gap too small symptoms

Symptoms of a spark plug gap that is too small include continuous cylinder misfires (which can sound like knocking or popping), hard starting (if all spark plugs have a gap that’s too small), engine hesitation, and rough idling. A way to recognize a spark plug with a too-small gap on sight is that it will be black or wet due to unburned fuel. 

3. Is a smaller spark plug gap better?

A smaller spark plug gap is not better because a gap that is too small can prevent the vehicle’s fuel mixture from being ignited and create engine performance issues. While making a spark plug gap that’s too big smaller can be helpful, making the gap smaller, in general, isn’t better for your vehicle.

4. Does the spark plug gap matter?

Yes, the spark plug gap matters. If your vehicle’s spark plug gap is too big or too small, this can cause issues with engine performance or even prevent your engine from starting. Having the ideal spark plug gap in your vehicle ensures your car runs more smoothly.

5. What happens if the spark plug gap is too big?

If the spark plug gap in your vehicle is too big, the spark plugs will need a higher voltage to get the ignition spark to cross the gap. The engine can’t always provide the extra voltage needed to cross the gap, so the spark is weaker and won’t ignite your fuel mixture properly. This can cause engine performance issues.

6. Spark plug gap too big symptoms

Much like with a spark plug gap that’s too small, symptoms of a spark plug gap that is too big include cylinder misfires, rough idling, engine hesitation, and the engine not starting. You can identify a spark plug with a gap that’s too big on sight by it being wet or black due to unburned fuel or completely coated in a substance that looks like dirt.

7. How does the spark plug gap affect performance?

A spark plug’s gap affects performance by changing how an engine starts, runs, and idles. With an ideal spark plug gap, things will run smoothly. With a gap that’s too big or too small, you’ll notice quickly that your engine (and, by extension, riding experience) is rougher and riddled with hesitancy and strange engine noises.

8. Spark plug gap chart

A spark plug gap chart can be used to determine what the ideal spark plug gap is for specific vehicles or engines. It can also be a reference for measurement conversions when determining the size of an existing spark plug gap using a gauge. Anyone attempting to measure or change a spark plug gap should have a spark plug gap chart handy.

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Benefits of Corporate Sponsorships With a Non-profit Organization


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Benefits of Corporate Sponsorships With a Non-profit Organization

Non-Profits can Win with Corporate Sponsorships

The idea of corporate sponsorship is not groundbreaking. Companies have been working with non-profit and charitable organizations for hundreds of years.

In fact, many Fortune 500 companies even dedicate certain funds towards corporate responsibility programs meant to align with non-profit groups to help better the community.

The idea of corporations throwing money into something that may not directly impact their stock price may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually an amazing plan. Here are some of the main benefits that corporate sponsors receive when they work with a non-profit organization.

Street Credit

When businesses donate money to worthy and needy causes, that company earns a better perception from the public. People love to see when corporations aren’t just worried about the bottom-line. Since these companies do often make a good deal of money, putting some of that profit back into the community is a well-received gesture.

While every consumer doesn’t consider a company’s charitable donations when making purchases, some shoppers pay very close attention to this. There are enough people who go out of their way to support companies that care about the community that it’s worth the effort.

Greater Visibility

The mere act of making a financial donation to a non-profit helps a company stand out in the eyes of the community. Often, companies will get to put their names and logos on the non-profit’s newsletter, advertisements, event flyers, and more. People who see these PR pieces also see the donating organization’s information, which increases the company’s brand recognition.

In some cases, corporations make large enough donations to justify naming a conference room, computer lab, library, or even building after them. This kind of visibility is worth the cost because it increases overall sales. It’s almost too easy to sell a product when everyone already knows who you are and believes that you care about your community.

Plenty of Perks

Another benefit that corporations enjoy when donating to a non-profit organization is that contributions often come with perks. For example, a local museum may have a large gala event with fancy foods, special celebrity guests, and classy music. Corporations that make donations to that museum may be invited to attend the gala with free tickets. The company may also get special access to celebrity guests or to a VIP area.

While corporations don’t typically donate to a local charity just to get free tickets to an event, non-profits do want to thank donors for their generosity.

Your Business Can Help

At the Newgate School, we work with at-risk adults to help them improve their lives. Our school offers tuition-free programs that teach students valuable skills that will land them good-paying and honest jobs. To maintain our program, we rely on donated cars and funds from the community. Our students learn to repair those cars, and the proceeds from those vehicle sales go back into funding the programs.

If your company is looking for a way to make an impactful difference in the community, we’d love to talk to you about partnering with the Newgate School. Give us a call, and let’s start a conversation that could change the shape of our community.

Safety And Emission Standards

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Newgate School Upgrades Their Facilities with New Air Exchanger System


Newgate School Upgrades Their Facilities with New Air Exchanger System

A Major Upgrade Puts The Newgate School Ahead

The Newgate School is proud to announce that it made a significant improvement to its facility: a new air exchange system.

While this new system may seem like an ancillary expense for a non-profit program, it means a literal breath of fresh air to our students. It took a while, but we were finally able to make it happen thanks to the kind auto and monetary donations from our supporters.

Why is Shop Ventilation So Important?

An unventilated shop can lead to a variety of health concerns. Various particles from metals, paint, chemical fumes, and tons of other contaminants tend to always be floating through the air. Auto shops also deal with flammable materials every day. The gases from these materials can also pose the risk of explosion or fire.

Because these elements can cause health problems, accidents, or even deadly situations, it’s critical that dangerous particles are removed from the air and replaced with clean, fresh air.

How Does An Air Exchanger Work?

An air exchanger is essentially a system that moves fresh air from outside into the shop’s interior. Stale and contaminated air is pushed to the outside of the shop. This basic concept of air exchangers is similar to the vents in your car on the HVAC system in your house. Any time you have dirty air getting pushed around, there are going to be problems.

To get more specific, an air exchanger is a large box with two inputs and two outputs. There is a fan inside of the box that helps suck stale air from inside the shop through one input port in order to push it out of the corresponding output port. Another fan works to bring in fresh air through an input port and into the shop through its corresponding output port.

This kind of system does more than bring in the good air while pushing out the bad. It can also decrease the growth or appearance of mold, removes odors from the shop, and provides a more comfortable breaking environment.

So, if you’re asking yourself, “How does a fresh air ventilation system work?” you now have the answer. Of course, the exact location and set up of the input/output ports, ductwork, and fan sizes depend heavily on the size and layout of any particular shop.

Everyone Wins When Our Students Are Safe

Because humans aren’t very good at detecting small amounts of nasty particles in the air, many shops overlook their ventilation systems until it’s too late. We knew this was something that needed upgrading for a while. Luckily, we were finally able to make the move.

As we continue to work with at-risk adults in the community, we want to do more than teach them valuable job skills. We also work to help them make better choices regarding their health and their families. Even though a ventilation system may not be the most exciting upgrade for an auto shop, it’s one we’re proud to provide to ensure our students remain healthy and active in turning their lives forward.

Find out more about how you can help continue the mission of the Newgate School and call us today.

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Newgate School Partners Up with Project CAR


Newgate School Partners Up with Project CAR

Newgate School + Project CAR = A Community Win

Providing value to the community is at the heart of Newgate School’s mission. By providing tuition-free vocational training in the Twin Cities area, Newgate sets low-income young adults up for a successful automotive industry career.

A New Partner in Community Service

Newgate is pleased to announce a partnership with Project Clean Air Repair—also known as Project CAR. Part of the Environmental Initiative, Project CAR teams up with mechanics and garages to identify and correct vehicle exhaust systems in older passenger vehicles. This is especially beneficial for low-income neighbors who don’t have the financial resources to fix an old exhaust system or upgrade to a newer car. Newgate is excited to find a community partner whose ideals and activities align with those of the School.

How did Project CAR Get Started?

Recent studies estimate that 90% of vehicle air pollution is caused by just 25% of passenger vehicles with broken or outdated emission systems. Project CAR is the result of Environmental Initiative’s 2017 pilot project that partnered with The Lift Garage and Cars for Neighbors. As part of this project, these partner shops corrected the exhaust systems for 51 vehicles. Following the pilot program's success, Environmental Initiative received additional funding to continue and expand the program.

How Project CAR’s Program Works

Through Project CAR, participating garages are reimbursed by Environmental Initiative to repair catalytic converters, evaporative emission control systems, oxygen sensors, and exhaust gas recirculation valves. These services are provided at no cost or for a nominal fee to drivers from low-income households. This allows them to keep their otherwise reliable older car while reducing pollution caused by vehicle emissions.

Newgate + Project CAR

Newgate School evaluates every vehicle before accepting it for donation. A donated vehicle must be in such condition that it can be repaired in a cost-efficient manner through its auto mechanic and auto body programs. In the past, the school has had to decline vehicles with broken emission system components. Working with Project CAR, Newgate can accept more passenger cars, vans, SUVs, and trucks that require exhaust system repair.

A Valuable Component to the Newgate Curriculum

As part of the auto mechanics training program, students learn how to diagnose and repair major vehicle components, including engine, transmission, drivetrain, and HVAC. Through its partnership with Project CAR, Newgate can now add emissions system diagnostics and repair to its comprehensive automobile curriculum.

Additionally, Project CAR’s grant funders require detailed reporting and documentation. Such reporting gives students experience with documentation, such as calculating and creating estimates for parts and labor costs. These are skills that not only prove valuable when working at a garage, but they are transferable to any other future career they choose to pursue.

Funding for Newgate School and Project CAR

Newgate School is funded through vehicle donations. Once a vehicle is repaired and reconditioned through the school’s auto body and auto mechanics programs, it is resold. The proceeds from vehicle sales fund the school’s educational and administrative activities. Through Project CAR, Newgate is reimbursed for each exhaust system repair completed in its program.

As part of the Environmental Initiative, Project CAR’s activities are funded by grants from partners including the City of Minneapolis, Flint Hills Resources, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

A Valuable Collaboration that Further Benefits the Community

Newgate School values its collaboration with Project CAR. Through this partnership, the school can accept more vehicles in its programs. This also allows Newgate to accommodate more students, sell more vehicles, and award more free cars to local working mothers through the Wheels for Women program.

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How to Get Rid of a Car That Doesn’t Run


How to Get Rid of a Car That Doesn't Run

How to Get Rid of a Car That Doesn't Run

If you have a broken-down vehicle that needs more attention than you can give it, it's time to find out how to get rid of a car that doesn't run.

Your old clunker finally gave up the ghost, and when you tried to trade it in for a new car, the dealer laughed. So how do you get rid of a vehicle that doesn't run? We've got five ideas to help you get that clunker out of your driveway.

5. Sell it Privately

You may still be able to put some cash in your pocket by selling your old clunker on your own. You'll need to be realistic about the value of the car. You should also be upfront with potential buyers if you're expecting them to tow it themselves and negotiate the price accordingly.

Of course, like any private car sale, you'll have the hassle of placing advertisements and meeting prospective buyers, which comes with its own set of safety concerns.

4. Sell it to a Junk Service for Cash

Although many junk removal services expect payment for hauling away non-running cars, some will pay you for your old vehicle. Make sure to negotiate a price that includes the cost of towing, so you don't get hit with a surprise charge that nets you less money than you expected.

3. Sell it for Parts

Are you handy with tools and know your way around a car? You can sell your old vehicle off for parts. Some makes and models have a high demand for parts, so you may be able to make significantly more money selling it in pieces versus trying to sell the whole car.

The caveat to this option is, having a dismantled vehicle in the driveway is unsightly. If you have particularly persnickety neighbors, you may face complaints from the Homeowners' Association. So, you'll want to clear space in your garage or backyard shed to stash your car parts.

2. Sell it to a Mechanic or Body Shop

Some auto repair and body shops use disabled vehicles either as spare parts or for their service technicians' continuing education. You'll want to be sure to have them evaluate your automobile before settling on a price. If the shop doesn't know how they will end up using the car, it may be challenging to negotiate a price.

1. Donate it to a Charity

Donating your car may be your most profitable option. Many charities will come and pick up the vehicle at no charge, and you're more likely to get a better value for the car and potentially save big on your taxes.

There are hundreds of charities throughout the United States who accept vehicle donations. If you haven't had success trying to sell your car, you can get a tax deduction by donating it to a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

When you gift your vehicle to a charity, you'll get a receipt for the car's fair market value, which you can use when you file your tax returns.

The Right Charity Matters

The charity you choose can make a difference, not only in the amount of your tax deduction but in the value that your donation offers to the community.

If you're in the Greater Minneapolis area of Minnesota, you can donate your disabled car to Newgate School. Newgate provides vocational training in auto mechanics and auto body repair at no cost to young adults from disadvantaged homes.

In addition to training students for a stable, well-paying career in the auto industry, Newgate also has a Wheels for Women program. This program helps working single mothers by giving them a car.

When you donate your vehicle, the Newgate School staff will pick up the car and evaluate it immediately to ensure you get the largest possible tax deduction. So, you save money on your tax bill while giving a helping hand to local men and women looking for financial stability and independence.

You Don't Have to Be Stuck with That Old Clunker

Now that you see how many options you have, you can finally stop stressing over what to do with your non-running car. There are ways to sell it for some spending money, or you can have a charity take it off your hands (and charities like Newgate School will even take care of the title transfer for you).

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How to Get Rid of an Old Car


Saying Good-bye to an Old Friend

The sedan you inherited from your grandparents got you through college, your first breakup, your first apartment, and your first job. But now it’s time to retire it and get a new vehicle. Now you’re wondering what’s the best way to get rid of an old car. There are several options available, including donating your vehicle to charity. We’ll explore the plusses and minuses to each option below.

What is the Best Way to Get Rid of an Old Car?

The short answer is: “it depends.”

The biggest factor in deciding your old car’s ultimate fate is its current condition. If it’s under 10 years old, runs well, and the body and interior are in great condition, you may be able to trade it in or sell it. If the vehicle’s best days are far behind it, your options may be more limited, but you can still come out ahead financially with a little creative thinking.

 Option 1: Trade the Car In

Many car dealers have tools on their websites that allow you to preview the value of your trade-in. If you’re planning to finance your purchase, it’s a good idea to know how much value the dealer will give you for it (or if they’ll take it at all).

Getting a high value on your old car can save you cash on your down payment on a new vehicle. Many dealers may not take older cars for trade, especially if they lack technology such as a rear camera. If you were counting on your trade-in to lower your down payment, you may be disappointed.

Option 2: Try Selling it On Your Own

If you’re determined to get some money out of your elderly coupe, you can pop an add up on Craig’s List or Nextdoor and try to sell it yourself.

Auto dealers want to make a profit, so they’re more likely to lowball your trade-in. You may be able to get more value out of it by selling it privately. Posting ads and responding to inquiries is a hassle. Then you have to find a safe, public space to make the transaction—and pray that the check is good.

Option 3: Hand the Car Down

If the dealer turned down your trade-in and you don’t want the hassle of selling it yourself, you can always hand it down to a younger sibling or cousin. You’re helping a new driver exercise their independence without draining their savings account. If something goes wrong with the car, it could make for some uncomfortable visits with the family.

Option 4: Donate the Vehicle to Charity

If you’re feeling stuck wondering where to get rid of an old car, consider donating it to a local charity. There are dozens of charitable organizations, such as Newgate School, that accept vehicle donations.

Donate now button

You may not get cash upfront, but you may get a chunk back when you file your taxes. You need to do your homework to be sure it’s 1) a 501(c)(3) charity and 2) is willing to pick up your car if it doesn’t run.

So, Where is the Best Place to Get Rid of Your Old Car?

Newgate School in Minneapolis, MN, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit vocational school whose mission is to help disadvantaged young men and women train for a career in the automotive industry. When you donate your car to Newgate, it is used in our mechanics or auto body training programs.

We’ll pick up your car, even if it’s not running, and we take care of the title transfer on-site. And we’ll make sure you get the maximum value for your vehicle so you can get the biggest write-off on your taxes. So, stop wondering how you can get rid of that old car and give Newgate School a call today.


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Is My Car Too Old to Donate?


Is My Car Too Old to Donate

Every Car Deserves a Second Chance

You may be thinking about giving your old car a second chance by donating to the Newgate School in Minneapolis. Here’s what you need to know if you’re asking yourself, “is my car too old to donate?”

The Newgate School depends on donations from drivers like you to keep the school running. By offering tuition-free programs for at-risk adults, the Newgate School can give many students a second chance. Similarly, your old car can gain new life. Of course, you may be wondering, “is my car too old to donate?”

Here are some things to consider when you’re thinking about donating that old vehicle to the life-changing programs at the Newgate School.

What Should I Look For In My Older Car?

While we’re happy to accept nearly any vehicle, some essential qualities make a donated vehicle an excellent learning tool for our students. The goal is to use your unused vehicle as a hands-on textbook to teach our students about auto body and mechanics. We then sell the cars to put money back into the program. Sadly, that means some vehicles may not be of much use towards our goals.

Here are some important qualities we look for:

  • The vehicle has been mostly well-maintained
  • It has under 150,000 miles, give or take
  • Minimal rust underneath the car
  • The engine and powertrain are in good shape
  • The normal repair costs aren’t more than the vehicle’s value

If you’re unsure if your car meets these qualifications, give us a call and tell us more about your potential donation.

Who Typically Donates to the Newgate School?

Some people don’t just think to themselves, “is my car too old to donate;” they also wonder if they are the right kinds of drivers to donate a vehicle to our program. We’re fortunate enough to take donations from various people, many of whom are just like you.

Here are where some of our cars generally come from:

  • Recent college graduates who are upgrading to a newer vehicle
  • Grandparents or others who have stopped driving
  • Drivers who are upgrading their cars and don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling their old ride
  • People in our community with huge hearts and want to help those in need.

Learn more about our program online or look for one of our videos on YouTube, showing our impact within the community.

Write-Offs That Matter

If you typically itemize your taxes, you can donate your old car to earn a tax credit. As a 503C non-profit organization, your donation is entirely tax-deductible. When you bring in your vehicle, we’ll even help you fill out all of the appropriate paperwork to get the full value of your deduction.

The value of your deduction is based on the final sale price of the vehicle after our students get it back into shape. Don’t worry. We’ll go over all of the details when you stop by.

A Chance to Make a Difference

If your old car seems like a good fit for our program, give us a call or stop by today. We’re authorized to transfer titles in MN, so you only have to bring your title. We’ll take care of the rest.

Your donation helps our students learn life-improving skills that put them on the right track to success. We couldn’t do it without you and your old car. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.



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Wheels for Women “Cribs Edition” with Vannesia Thomas on Twin Cities Live Blog



Impacting Real People Everyday

Everyone remembers the MTV program “MTV Cribs,” where celebrities would show you all around their houses and brag about all of the things they were proud of.

Thanks to a Minneapolis-based non-profit program, women are feeling like celebrities since the 1980s. The Newgate School has provided cars for working mothers through it’s “Wheels for Women” program.

In the spirit of MTV’s Cribs, the latest Wheels for Women recipient proudly shows us all around her new ride.

“I’m Vannesia, and this is my ride.” Says Vannesia Thomas with a massive smile on her face standing in front of her new-to-her car. “I love the color. It feels like it’s one of those colors that blends in with other cars. I love it, and it’s so spacious. In the back of the car, we have beautiful leather seats and a bunch of space. I have three kids, so there’s just enough room for all of us. I have three boys. They’re very vibrant, energetic, loving, and they keep me on top of my toes.

“I did have another car” explains Vannesia, “that I bought four or five months ago. I knew that it had problems, but I needed a car. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I needed a car. It had so many problems that I had to visit the shop a number of times. I just couldn’t get it fixed, and one day it just broke down. I spent well over $700 just to get it fixed. What I love about the front of the car is that it has a wood grain finish. That’s not something I’d expect from a 2004, but it looks really good. The car is super huge in the front seat. To have a company do something like this is awesome. It means a lot to me.”


Wheels for Women “Cribs Edition” with Vannesia Thomas on Twin Cities Live Blog


“In hearing Vannesia’s story,” says Richard Herod III of White Bear Mitsubishi, “how she is a mother of three who bought a car, spent a bunch of money in repairs, and then that car broke down, leaving her with no way to get to work. That’s a troubling situation. The fact that the Newgate School has a program where people can donate their vehicles, and then students come there, tuition-free, to learn how to fix cars, and those cars are then donated to mothers who need a vehicle is pretty awesome. Vehicles that aren’t donated are sold to help fund the program. It’s the best karma circle I’ve ever been part of.

Michael Scott, an instructor at The Newgate School, explains, “on occasion hen we give a car away, we still have unforeseeable things that will happen. In this case, a car is running too cold. As we get into winter weather, the thermostat says it’s running too cold. She can come back in and we’ll fix it for free. We usually give away a car and then support that person for the next three to six months, handing any repairs we may not have caught on its final inspection.

Richard Herod III is optimistic about the future of the program: “Our goal for 2020 is to double the number of cars we give to women. We are so proud to partner with the Newgate School. We believe with your help; we can get more cars donated.”

If you are interested in donating a car or need a vehicle, make sure to contact the Newgate School or White Bear Mitsubishi. You can be part of a movement that not only helps single mothers obtain reliable and safe transportation but a program that teaches at-risk adults valuable skills that will better their living situations.

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Donate the Old Clunker Sitting in Your Yard



Still Hanging on to that Old Clunker?

If you've got an extra car taking up space in your driveway or on your lawn, consider donating it to Newgate School. You can get a tax break, and the neighbors won't complain about your extra driveway decor.


Give New Life to Grandma's Old Car

Most of us have faced the problem of a parent or grandparent who can no longer drive. Besides dealing with the emotional toll of losing their independence, you may also get stuck in their old car.

You could try to sell it privately, but that is a big hassle, especially when you need to deal with the title transfer. Newgate School accepts vehicle donations of all kinds: cars, SUVs, trucks, vans, you name it, we take it! And we'll handle the title transfer, too.

Donate the Old Clunker Sitting in Your Yard

If You Can't Trade It, Donate It.

If you've tried to trade in your old car for a sweet new ride, you know the frustration of getting good trade-in value. Every car donation to Newgate School is tax-deductible. We use donated vehicles in our programs that train students in auto mechanics and body repair.

Once the car gets repaired and reconditioned inside and out, we will either offer it for sale or give it to a local working mother who needs reliable transportation.


We Love Fixer-Uppers!

Newgate is a not-for-profit school that provides tuition-free training to young men and women looking for a stable career. If you've got a car you no longer use because it's old or needs repair, call us. Your problem car provides our students with an opportunity to learn from body damage to engine repair and transmission work.


How Your Donation Can Lower Your Tax Bill

There are two ways that we determine the amount of the deduction on your donated vehicle:

  1. The amount we get for the car when we sell it
  2. The vehicle’s fair market value if we donate it

Newgate School has been operating as a non-profit for over 40 years: we know how to get the maximum value from your donation. Our staff is happy to walk you through completing the IRS forms to claim your deduction when you file.

If the Kids' Old Car Conked Out, Call Us

That car you got your kids when they got their license is now well past its prime. The kids have moved on, and now that old jalopy is perma-parked in front of your house. Before the Homeowner's Association calls you, give us a call.

Your vehicle donation to Newgate School will make a massive difference in many people's lives. If you're looking for a virtually hassle-free way to get rid of a surplus vehicle, call us.

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Helping Single Mothers in MN Regain Their Independence



Helping Single Mothers in MN Regain Their Independence


A reliable car can make the difference when it comes to being self-sufficient. As you get older, owning a dependable vehicle is a sign of true independence. It gives you the ability to get where you need to go. This independence is especially important for single moms.

The hard-working staff at White Bear Mitsubishi has teamed up with the Newgate School in Minneapolis to provide single moms with much-needed transportation.

The Newgate School has been part of the Twin Cities community for over forty years. We started in 1975 with a mission to help support lower-income young adults. These men and women learn to become more self-sufficient and independent members of the community.

Wheels for Women starts in the 1980s after we noticed a high need from a specific group of people: single mothers. The lack of access to reliable transportation is a real barrier to this group. These moms have difficulty finding work, managing a household, and raising children.

White Bear Mitsubishi is proud to partner with the Newgate School’s Wheels for Women program in several ways:

  1. Become a drop site where people can donate vehicles to the school
  2. Helping source vehicles to donate to the program

Helping Single Mothers in MN Regain Their Independence

One recipient of a repaired car said, “It was the biggest blessing. Me and my kids have to walk about ten blocks to get on the bus. We have to leave around 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, so I can get them to daycare and make it to work on time. I have a 12-year-old son, a nine-year-old daughter, and boy-girl twins who are seven. Caiden is my video gamer. Kylie is definitely the mother figure; she loves taking care of people. My twins are crazy. They get in trouble quite often as they are mischievous. We’re able to go out and do more. I don’t have to rely on other people or the bus system to take us places. It could take a week just to go grocery shopping just because I’d have to wait on a ride, or you can only take four bags on the bus. Thank you again for this blessing. It meant the world to me and my kids.”

The most important part of our program is the car donations that we get from the community. We depend on those and the generosity of the people who bring those into us. The Newgate School uses donated vehicles to help educate and train students on vehicle repair. Whether it’s engine repair or body repair, all vehicles donated get fixed up so they can be donated to eligible mothers.

Vehicles can also be fixed up so they can be sold to help fund the school. The school doesn’t actually charge tuition for students learning how to fix engines or body issues.

Our goal is to at least give away three cars per month. That’s 36 cars per year. With the new partnership we have with White Bear Mitsubishi, we’re really hoping to expand that program.

“Coming from a single-parent household myself in a low-income situation, I certainly identify with the program. It’s really great to be part of it,” says Richard, one of the Newgate Schools employees.

If you would like to donate a car to the Newgate School or you’re in need of a car through their Wheels for Women program, you can learn more by visiting www.newgateschool.org.

A Chance for Change

The programs at the Newgate School wouldn’t operate without generous donations from members of the community. Your car donation helps at-risk students learn valuable skills while also providing reliable transportation to those in need. Your donation can even earn you a sizable tax credit.

Don’t let an unused car go to waste when it could make a huge impact on your community. Contact the Newgate School today to learn more.


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Flat Tire? How to Change a Tire Like a Pro


How to change a tire

You’re taking a well-deserved weekend trip to enjoy some fresh air and your favorite Minnesota lake. Then suddenly, you feel and hear a thump, followed by some vibrations and a loud flapping noise. You spot a safe location to pull over. And once get out of your car, you notice that one of your tires has gone completely flat.

What do you do?

Your car insurance may offer road-side assistance, but you also have a spare tire and a jack on you. The only problem is you’re not sure how to change a tire.

How to Change a Tire

Car maintenance has never been your thing but lucky for you, we have you covered because changing a tire is simple and important to know how to do properly.
Here’s a list of what you need to change a tire:
• A Jack
• Lug wrench
• Replacement (spare) tire
• Vehicle owner’s manual

Bonus points if you also have these available, too:
• Gloves
• Flashlight
• Screwdriver
• Wheel wedges
• Wood (small cut 2 X 6)

Follow these next steps to become an expert in tire replacement:

1. First thing to do is find a safe space to park: If possible, avoid high-traffic areas and definitely avoid hills, dirt, and grass.
2. Now secure your vehicle: Turn on your hazards, engage your emergency or parking brake and if you have a wheel wedge, put it in place.
3. Remove the hubcap or wheel cover: If your vehicle has a hub cap or wheel cover remove this with the flat end of your lug wrench to expose your lug nuts. This works for most vehicles, but you might want to consult your vehicle owner’s manual because some hub caps use a different tool, like a screwdriver, to be removed.
4. Loosen the lug nuts: Using the lug wrench, turn the lug nuts counterclockwise until you break their resistance. You may have to use some force, don’t be afraid if you use your foot or body weight to accomplish this. After breaking this resistance, loosen the lug nuts about a quarter to half of a turn but DO NOT completely remove them.
5. Lift your vehicle: Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for the best place to secure your jack and follow their directions carefully. The usual placement for the jack will be beneath the vehicle frame, alongside the tire that is flat. Some vehicle’s frames have molded plastic on the bottom with a cleared area of exposed metal specifically for the jack. Carefully raise your vehicle at least six inches off the ground, or however much is needed past that. If you notice any instability lower your vehicle and then reposition the jack. NEVER place a jack under the axle or suspension member.
6. Remove the lug nuts and the flat tire: Loosen and remove all lug nuts. Place these in a secure location because you’ll need them again when you put your spare tire on. Carefully remove the tire by slowly sliding it straight off the lug bolts. Place it flat on the ground.
7. Install the spare tire: Be sure that the spare tire is correctly lined up with the lug bolts on the car and then slide it on them. Screw the lug nuts back on by turning them clockwise, only hand tight.
8. Lower the vehicle: Slowly lower the vehicle to the ground, then remove the jack. Fully tighten the lug nuts by turning them clockwise and replace the hub cap or wheel cover.
9. Clean up and go: Place your flat tire in your vehicle’s trunk and clean up your tools. Be sure to inspect your area, gather up any other belongings, and then you can be back on your way.

A Note of Caution: Many spare tires provided in vehicles are not full-sized normal tires, because of this it’s important to only drive short distances and at lower speeds to not damage your vehicle until you can get a full-size replacement tire. Consult your vehicle owner’s manual for further instruction and any warnings regarding use of the provided spare tire.

Learn More from Newgate School

That wasn’t too hard, was it? For more tips on how to maintain your vehicle, stay connected with our blog page for helpful resources on car maintenance. And if you’d like to learn more about Newgate School and how your car donation in the Twin Cities can help low-income young adults find rewarding careers as auto body technicians, browse through our website or contact us today!

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Is Donating a Car Good for the Environment?


Is Donating a Car Good for the Environment?

The short answer is yes! If you're interested in "going green" this year, you might wonder what sort of activities you can do to show your support for environmental protection.

Perhaps, you already practice the following daily habits:

• Recycling
• Opting for reusable shopping bags
• Conserving both water and electricity

These small changes in your routine offer huge benefits to the environment! Now what about some of those bigger decisions you’ve made in life, such as donating a car to charity? Why is this practice such a huge win for the environment—and also your community?

Why is Donating Your Car Good for the Environment?

Older vehicles can be inefficient with their fuel emissions. Therefore, no longer using these cars will cause less air pollution. In addition, leaks of oil, gas, and antifreeze from used vehicles can contaminate soil and water. Therefore, removing these unused cars from your driveway or yard helps protect the environment from getting exposed to such toxic fluids.
Recycling the steel parts within a vehicle can have massive environmental benefits, as well. It reduces the need of mining for iron ore, which can destroy wildlife habitats. In addition, recycling steel conserves a vast amount of energy rather than manufacturing new steel from raw iron ore.

Why is Donating Your Car Better for Your Community?

Your choice to donate a car is a conscious decision that ends up helping others in your community.

How does it do this?

You’re giving an individual and/or family the support and resources they need to go to work (i.e. contribute to the local economy) and provide for their loved ones (driving to grocery store, school activities, doctor’s appointments, etc.) 

At Newgate School, we take your donation a step further. When you donate your car, you’re giving a second chance on life for underemployed men and women, as well as single working mothers. Our vocational school offers free tuition to help students receive hands-on training to prepare them for future careers in the automotive industry. And their training begins with your donated vehicle!
Once vehicles are repaired, many of them are sold at auction, and those funds go right back into our school’s programs, allowing us to offer more opportunities for young adults to enroll in our programs, graduate, and become responsible, working citizens. And many of the vehicles that are not auctioned off are given (free of charge) to single, working mothers—as part of our Wheels for Women program.

Remember, the more you actively invest in your community, the more you make it a better place to live, work, and grow!

Why Is Donating Your Car Also Better for You?

Aside from all the outstanding community benefits it offers, donating your car can also save you time, money, and hassle. Between taking out an ad, negotiating a price, and filtering out real potential buyers, you can spend a ton of your free time trying to sell your old car without much success.
If you choose to donate your old car, truck, or van in the Twin Cities, we invite you to contact us to learn more about our nonprofit school, the programs we offer, and why Newgate is the best car donation charity in Minnesota!

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Common Misconceptions About Making a Car Donation


Donating a used vehicle to a local charity is a wonderful way to give back to your community. But simply typing into Google, “where can I donate my car” may not give you the exact answer you’re looking for. In fact, the search results can seem overwhelming, at first. The truth is before you can decide which charity is right for you, it’s important that you understand an organization’s mission so that your goals are aligned with that of the charity. A big part of that is to learn about the process for collecting and using donations. This way you can ensure that your vehicle is in the best hands possible, and it will leave the most impact on the those around you.  

At Newgate School, your car donation has a local and immediate impact. Your car’s proceeds—and sometimes the car itself—are used to help train unemployed or under-employed adults for high-demand careers as auto body technicians and auto mechanics. As part of their curriculum, students repair your donated cars, which are then sold at auction. And those dollars alone primarily fund our automotive school's operations and career-training programs.

Common Myths About Donating a Car

If you are struggling with the decision of whether or not to donate your car, here is a quick breakdown of 4 common misconceptions that may be the cause!

Myth 1: Car Donations Equal Financial Loss

Truth: Because of recent changes in tax laws, there’s been a lot of misinformation surrounding car donation tax credit eligibility. Many people worry that they will no longer receive a tax break for donating a vehicle to charity. Donated vehicles do qualify as tax deductible gifts if you itemize when filing your income taxes.  You should discuss your concerns of eligibility with your tax accountant. As for the vehicle, depending on its type and condition, you can quality for financial benefits if the charity plans on using it in its operations or plans to repair it so it can be given to an individual or family in need.

As mentioned earlier, Newgate School will use your vehicle for one of two purposes: (1) Our students will repair your donated car as part of the auto body and auto mechanic training program. After which, every cent of the revenue from the sale will go directly back into funding our schools’ operations, or (2) your donated vehicle will be repaired by our students and then given to a single, working mother in the area, as part of our Wheels for Women program.

So, no matter how we use your vehicle, you will still qualify for a tax credit!

Myth 2: Making a Car Donation is a Complicated Process

Truth: Depending on the charity, donating a vehicle can actually be quite simple. For example, at Newgate School, we take the hassle out of donating a car by processing all the necessary paperwork for you. How it works is one of our auto donation experts prepares the title work and reports the transaction electronically to the State of Minnesota. Afterward, you receive a donation receipt and a copy of the title. All you have to do then is cancel any insurance you have on the vehicle.

Myth 3: Some Vehicles Can’t be Donated

Truth: Every charity has a different set of guidelines on what kinds of donated cars they’ll accept. With Newgate, we accept every car, truck, or van of any year—as long as it is in repairable condition. Though newer models are helpful in training our students on the latest auto technology, we will never turn away a vehicle that can be repaired at a reasonable cost, and used to aid our school’s mission. If you are uncertain if your vehicle is repairable, contact the school and ask for Dennis. He will assist you in determining if your car is repairable. 

Myth 4: Communities Don’t Benefit from Donated Cars

Truth: As discussed under myth #1, when you donate to Newgate School, your car will directly impact the surrounding community. As a nonprofit automotive technical school, we offer auto body and auto mechanic training for unemployed or under-employed adults, which allows us to continue to help low-income young adults succeed in their quest for self-sufficiency. In addition, our Wheels for Women program has helped us provide hundreds of cars to low-income single working moms. Because our school is primarily funded by your donations, you can rest assured that your car will be in good hands and will have the biggest impact on those around you.

If you’re interested in donating your car to Newgate School,  contact us today and you’ll quickly discover why we’re one of the best car donation charities in Minnesota!

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Smart Tips for Donating a Car to Charity


Donating a car to charity

You have this extra car that has been part of your family’s life for some time that you almost never use.  You don’t want to trade it in because you don’t really need another vehicle in the family, or it won’t bring a fair price on trade. Selling it means you have to engage potential buyers in the negotiating process, and that’s not what you want to do. So, you have decided to consider donating it to a worthy cause.  Now you have questions.  How does the process work, and what are the factors to consider when donating a car to charity.

Let’s explore the process further to help you learn how to donate a car with confidence and how to identity which non-profit organization will offer the most value and return on your investment, and leave you feeling like your used car will continue to be an important part of a person in need's life.

What Criteria Should I Look for in a Local Charity?

For many non-profits, the goal of helping struggling families and individuals receive the support and assistance they need to achieve a higher quality of life plays a fundamental role in how they run their organization.

But how do you know if a charity is reputable?

Questions to Ask a Charity Prior to Making a Car Donation

Before making any type of donation, it’s essential that you first understand how the organization plans to use your donated vehicle to help support the local community.

Important questions to ask prior to making a car donation:

 Does the organization plan on using the vehicle in its operations?
 How will the organization use the vehicle to better its mission?
 Will the organization give my car to someone in need?
 How does the organization determine who receives the vehicle?
 What percentage of proceeds does the organization receive from the car’s sale?
 How does the organization use these proceeds to benefit others?

Understanding the answers to these questions will allow you to make well-informed decisions on whether a charity stays true to its mission and whether its practices reflect your values.

How Can I Qualify for a Car Donation Tax Credit?

An organization that plans to use the vehicle in its operations or gives it to an individual or family in need will allow you to receive a car donation tax deduction. If your vehicle is sold, your deduction will be based on its selling price. In this case, the minimum deduction of up to $500 can be claimed for vehicles that are either sold or used for parts. 

Since the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it’s necessary that you itemize your charitable deductions to receive a car donation tax credit. Be sure to secure a receipt from your charity (within 30 days) that documents how the vehicle was used, so you can determine the amount of your car donation tax deduction.

Extra Tips for Donating a Car

Have Your Title Handy: In order to make a car donation, you’ll need to have your title ready. If there is a lender listed on the title, you will need a lien release at the time of donation, even if the lien has been satisfied for some time.  The lender is typically listed on the front of the title. 

Take a Picture of the Car. If you plan on claiming a deduction for a car donation, you may wish to take photos of the vehicle for future reference. 

About Our Car Charity

Newgate School is a nonprofit automotive technical school located in the Twin Cities that offers auto body and auto mechanic training for unemployed or under-employed adults.  When you donate your car to Newgate, your vehicle will be used to help train and prepare students for their future careers as auto mechanics.

The goal of our charity is to place graduates into meaningful careers in the auto trades throughout the Twin Cities area. The students, along with their instructors, work together to evaluate each donated car, truck, or van to determine what level of repair is the most cost-effective. If it is determined that a donated vehicle is not cost-effective to repair, it will be used for parts, and your tax deduction will be up to $500. But if it is determined that your donated vehicle is cost-effective to repair, a student is then assigned to perform the repairs to the vehicle. Once the work has been completed, the car is detailed and prepared for sale at the local wholesale auto auction. 

A portion of all donated vehicles are given -at no cost- to a promising single working mom to help her transition to self-sufficiency—as part of our Wheels for Women transportation assistance program. Both of these options allow you to receive the fair market value car donation tax deductions, and most importantly, allow you to make a huge difference in the lives of others.  

We invite you to contact us to learn more about our nonprofit school, and discover why we are one of the best car donation charities in MN!

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4 Best Qualities to Look for in An Auto Mechanic


auto mechanic refilling motor oil in car engine

Whether your car is due for a routine oil change or your check engine light has just come on, finding the right auto mechanic shop can be a daunting task. As your primary mode of transportation, you’ll want to ensure your car is in good hands with an experienced auto mechanic, who has the best tools and knowledge to get the work done right!

To help narrow down your search, here are the 4 best qualities to look for when choosing an auto mechanic to service your vehicle:

1. Great Communication: Coming in at number one on our list is great communication and customer service skills. Your car may be in the shop for a variety of reasons (e.g. tire rotation, new brakes, engine repair, diagnostic testing, etc.). And depending on the type of repair or replacement needed to get your car back on the road, you’ll want a mechanic who’s personable and who talks you through your options, so you can make well-informed decisions. A quality auto mechanic is one who explains the issue and is committed to ensuring you understand every step of the repair process as well as one who encourages you to ask questions.

2. Auto Mechanical Expertise: In addition to great communication and customer service skills, it’s essential that your mechanic has a superior knowledge of the auto industry and is trained to perform the type of work needed. Cars break down for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to choose a mechanic who can diagnose a problem quickly, come up with a practical solution, and use the best tools and equipment to fix the issue.

3. Professional Work Ethic: It should be easy to spot a professional work ethic. This is someone who doesn’t waste time standing around. Instead, this person is ready to get his or her hands dirty and does so by getting right to work on your repair, so your car is back to optimal function in no time! 

4. Experience: Although this relates back to expertise, experience is a must have when choosing an auto mechanic. Because the auto industry is constantly evolving to keep up with new car designs and technology, your mechanic must have the hands-on experience, know how, and equipment to handle new and older vehicles.

At Newgate School, we work to ensure that every student who enrolls in our auto mechanic training program reflects these same types of qualities when they enter the workforce. Through our hands-on auto repair vocational school, we help students receive the training and experience they need to reach their full potential and obtain rewarding careers in the auto industries. And we’re able to achieve this because of generous car donations from people like you! To learn more about our school’s auto programs and how 

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Why Make a Car Donation in the Twin Cities?


Man makes car donation in the Twin Cities

The new year is traditionally a time for new beginnings. It’s the perfect occasion for setting new goals aimed at bettering ourselves and improving the world we live in. Perhaps one of your new year’s resolutions is volunteering or donating some of your personal belongings to local charities to support others in your neighborhood. But deciding which charity aligns with your values, works to make a difference in the lives of others, and helps promote a stronger community can be tricky.

Depending on your personal situation, you may not realize that the perfect donation is actually sitting right in your garage or on your driveway. If you have an older vehicle in your possession that you’re thinking of selling, why not consider Newgate School first.

Why Donate a Car to Newgate School:
Do you believe in second changes? We do at Newgate School. And we believe this starts with a quality education and real hands-on learning opportunities. At our auto repair vocational school, we offer unemployed or under-employed adults the chance to pursue rewarding careers as auto body technicians and auto mechanics.

When you donate your car to Newgate, it will be used to help train students on how to professionally restore cars, which are then sold at auction. The money received after the sale is used to fund our school’s autobody mechanic training programs, allowing us to enroll more students and help them become contributing members of our great Twin Cities area.
And your car donation extends well beyond our school’s training programs. Your auto donation also supports our “Wheels for Women” transportation assistance program, which awards single working moms throughout the Twin Cities a refurbished vehicle (at no cost) to help them become self-sufficient.

How to Donate a Car to Newgate School:
The first thing you need to do is bring your used vehicle and title to our school during regular business hours. No appointment is necessary! Once you arrive, we’ll help you prepare the title work and report the transfer electronically to the State of Minnesota. Once you receive a donation receipt and a copy of the title work, you can immediately cancel your auto insurance.

In approximately 30-days, you will receive the final auto donation receipt that complies with IRS guidelines. The receipt shows how we used your vehicle and will help you determine the amount of your car donation tax deduction.

If your vehicle is not drivable, call Dennis Dunn, Newgate’s transportation manager, at 612 378-0177, and he may be able to schedule a tow to collect your vehicle. 

If you’re looking to make a real difference when you give, why not donate your used vehicle to Newgate School rather than selling it. Contact us today or visit our website for more details. Your donation makes a difference!

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Understanding the Difference Between All Season Tires vs. Winter Tires



Minnesotans are gearing up for another winter season. For many drivers, the recent shift in icy temperatures means it’s time to purchase a new set of tires before the heavy snow hits. One popular question we’re often asked at our auto mechanic training school is whether all season tires are a better investment than winter tires, or vice versa.

While all season tires perform well in snowy conditions when compared to traditional (or summer) tires—not to mention also spare you the hassle of switching your tires before/after winter—the fact is all season tires lack the dependable grip and traction of winter tires, making them less desirable for the snowy roads ahead.   


To help you choose the right tires for your car, here’s a quick list of each tire’s pros and cons:

All Season Tires

Pros of All Season Tires:
• Year-Round Performance
• Low Maintenance Required
• Affordable Alternative

Cons of All Season Tires:
• Low Traction in Freezing Temperatures
• Less Grip on Snowy Roads
• Tread Patterns Won’t Prevent Snow Build Up

The sole purpose of all season tires is to provide adequate year-round performance in various driving conditions. What this narrows down to, however, is that your tires will perform well in moderate weather conditions, but they won’t offer advanced capabilities to handle extreme elements. So, if you’re living in Minnesota or any state that experiences intense seasonal changes, such as a snowy or below freezing winters, all season tires cannot protect you and your family from harsh outdoor elements. 

Winter Tires

Pros of Winter Tires:
• Ideal Traction on Ice, Snow, and Slush
• Deeper Tread Depths
• Tread Patterns Reduce Snowy Buildup

Cons of Winter Tires:
• Easily Wear Down
• Costly to Replace
• Routine Maintenance

Winter tires are ideal for heavy snow conditions or freezing temperatures. Because winter tires are made of soft rubber, its tread is more flexible and won’t harden when temperatures drop.

For more tips on how to winterize your car, stay connected with our blog page for helpful resources on car maintenance. If you’d like to learn more about Newgate School and how your car donation in the Twin Cities can help low-income young adults find rewarding careers as auto body technicians, browse through our website or contact us today!

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Where Can Newgate School Take You?


Newgate School is all about transformation – both for the auto donations we receive and the incredible students we are able to teach. Each class of students is made of young men and women who are interested in mechanic training and want to make a change in their life. Some left high school before graduating and want to find a career. Others are learning English and auto skills simultaneously. Most find that the low student-teacher ratio and apprenticeship approach is where they really thrive.

Diverse, passionate, and goal-oriented, each Newgate class receives a year and a half of auto body training or auto mechanic training. Additionally, the faculty provides personalized instruction on the soft skills needed to create a successful career.

Today, Newgate graduates are auto body technicians and mechanics at shops like:
• Midas Roseville
• Fridley Auto Body
• Abra Auto Body
• Morrie’s Bodyworks
• Latuff Brothers Auto Body
Additionally, many students end up in jobs such as:
• Painting large furnace/air conditioning systems across the country
• Building complex concrete pump engines
• Performing aviation mechanics at MSP
• Painting products for an international airline vehicle supplier
• Repairing and maintaining taxi radios and electronics
Our students’ success speaks for itself. “I'd hire more Newgate grads in a minute," said one employer of our mechanic school’s graduates.

If you or someone you know is interested in mechanic training or auto body classes, consider Newgate’s two certification programs – Auto Body Technician and Auto Mechanics. "If you like figuring out how mechanical things work and enjoy a challenge, you will have a good career in auto mechanics," says Mike Scott, a Newgate instructor. "With over 4 million cars in Minnesota alone, there’s sure to be a mechanic’s job for you!"

Unlike other trade schools, Newgate is funded through local car donations and restorations, giving each student the ability to have a free education that consistently delivers strong job placements. Learn more or start your application by connecting with Transportation Manager Dennis Dunn at 612 378-0177. 

Students at Newgate School

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Wheels for Women Works


Meet Tyesha! She's the latest amazing single Mom to receive a vehicle through Newgate's Wheels for Women program. She heard about the program through the Jeremiah Program, which prepares determined single mothers to excel in the workforce, and decided to complete the on-line application. "My experience with the application process was efficient and convenient. I was able to apply online and heard back a little over a month via email! The representative provided the VIN number the same day and we arranged pick up within the week."

Newgate's Wheels program provides reliable transportation to single, working Moms who would otherwise not have a vehicle to maintain their jobs and get kids to school & daycare. Our students refurbish & repair eligible donated vehicles to get them ready for new ownership. "Our previous car was over 20 years old and our daily commute during the week is over an 1hr and 40 mins. round trip. With the winter coming it was imperative to have a reliable vehicle so my children and I could make it to school and work." Now she has the peace of mind a reliable vehicle brings for her family. "I am grateful for the generosity of those who donate to this program!"

 Her overall experience with the program from the application process to picking up her new car was awesome. "Their was absolutely no cost to me and the process was really efficient. This vehicle will help our family accomplish our goals of maintaining employment, finishing school, and pursuing additional streams of income as we work towards homeownership! This was the perfect Christmas present!"

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Meet Our Students!


Meet Benedicto, one of our newest students in the Auto Mechanics program at Newgate School. Benedicto has always known he wanted to work on cars for a living. As a boy he worked on cars with his Dad, and then went on to pick up additional skills from his uncle, who worked as an auto mechanic. To start earning a living though, he wanted more formal training to add advanced skills and knowledge; but like many kids his age, he couldn't afford the costly tuition of many technical schools.

That didn't stop him though and he started doing research online to find local options for training. That led him to Newgate and our tuition-free training programs. Once he came in and talked with our staff and instructors everyone knew he would be a great fit with the school! Waiting for an opening to become available was the hardest part and once his turn came around he dove right in to the hands-on training. At Newgate there are no textbooks and lectures. Everything is learned by actually working on the vehicles that need repair. That way students come out of the program with the experience and technical skills needed to be successful in their future careers.

Newgate's reputation as a school that produces hard working and technically sound employees is well known. The placement rate for our students is in the upper 90th percent! And that means the majority of our students can start earning a good living as soon as they graduate. But that's not even the best part of the program! According to Benedicto, "the best part about Newgate is the way I can pay it forward even as a student here. I learn how to fix the cars I'll be working on in the future, and those cars are brought to the auction to be sold for revenue that comes back to the school to help future students. I'm learning but also helping make sure that future students get the same chance that I'm getting right now".

We think it's pretty awesome, too! If you have a vehicle you'd like to donate to the school to help future students like Benedicto, please give us a call at 612-378-0177 and we'll be happy to give you the details. Plus, you'll receive the best tax deduction possible depending on the final use of the vehicle you provide. We'll assist you in capturing that value as well as with all the required paperwork. 10 minutes in our office is usually all it takes!

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Student Spotlight: Meet Shawna!


Shawna is one of the awesome new students in our Auto Mechanics program at Newgate. She grew up in a family that races cars so was around engines her whole life. Her initial career choice took her into health care where she spent 10 years nursing, but she always maintained her interest in cars and worked part-time at a local auto parts store. She eventually realized she was burned out on nursing and started thinking about what other careers she could get into for the future.

Then her car broke down and she was told the new radiator she needed would cost $600! Instead, Shawna went and bought the parts it needed for $100 and installed it herself. That got her thinking she could work on engines for a living. It was fun and with the right schooling she could make some good money. That's when she learned about Newgate from a colleague at work.

At first she didn't really believe it. What school would train her in auto mechanics for free? But she came in and talked with Dennis, Newgate's transportation manager, and Mike, who runs the Auto Mechanics program. It was a great fit and she started the program once an opening became available. She's a couple of months in now, and loves the training she's received so far. She gets her own vehicles to work on, and there's always someone available to help out with a problem if she needs it.

Once she graduates, she plans to continue working at her current auto parts company as a service writer. She'll make a great living using her training to evaluate and diagnose vehicle problems, and looks forward to enjoying her work everyday. She's a great example of what Newgate School is all about and we look forward to following up on Shawna's story in the future!

Shawna with her latest car project

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Your Donations At Work


Meet Vicki, the most recent recipient of a vehicle from Newgate's Wheels For Women program. Vicki is a full-time working mom of 2 who recently separated from her children's father. "It was difficult starting on the road to self sufficiency after being in a completely dependent relationship. There was so much I needed to learn. I was left high and dry without a vehicle or funds to support myself and my children."

 "I started a full time job, but had to find ways to get to work each day. Not knowing whether I would find transportation to get to work or to bring my children to the sitter was one of the hardest parts about not having a vehicle. Doctor's appointments, and trips to the grocery store needed to be planned accordingly. It meant walking to our destination, borrowing someone's vehicle or finding a ride from a family member. It was definitely a struggle."

Her sister was aware of their situation and told her about Newgate's Wheels For Women program. "I have never owned my own vehicle before.  I am so grateful for the Wheels program at Newgate because I can now say I have a vehicle to call my own. I am able to take my children to the sitters, get to work each day, drop the kids at basketball practice, make doctor's appointments etc. It has changed our lives tremendously."

Newgate students who work to repair and refurbish these vehicles are really proud to be able to "pay it forward" as well. The program provides them with tuition free training and they are able to provide single working moms with reliable vehicles at no cost. As one of our students said "This is the best part about the entire Newgate program." Vicki defintely agrees! She said "When picking up the car, I was filled with joy and disbelief.  I could not believe that I was being handed a vehicle to call my own. Words cannot express how grateful I am. I appreciate you all at Newgate for helping me and my family out with a vehicle.  It has been life changing."

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Simple Ways to Maintain the Value of Your Vehicle


Vehicle maintenance involves repairs, oil changes and many other recommended services. However, it is common for even extremely responsible car owners to overlook the details and lose money on a vehicle they otherwise maintained carefully. Here are some simple tips for preserving the value of any vehicle, and most take only seconds to complete.

Check Tire Pressure

You have more to worry about than just fuel economy when tires are underinflated. The tires will wear out faster and the risk of a blowout increases. Getting a flat tire while on the road could lead to an accident or other types of damage to the vehicle.

Checking the tire pressure is a very simple task that takes only a couple of seconds per tire. Keep a gauge in the vehicle, and check the pressure about once a week before leaving for work. Always recheck when the outside air temperature drops rapidly because cold weather will cause the pressure to decrease. If your tire pressure is correct and you are experiencing a right or left steering pull while driving, your wheels may be out of alignment. This will result in premature tire wear. You should bring your car to a qualified mechanic who will correct the problem.

Clean Off Droppings

It would seem as if birds really despise vehicles. The messes they leave behind are unsightly as well as dangerous to the surface of the paint. Bird droppings contain uric acid that quickly discolors the paint and, if left for too long, will cause extensive damage. The dropping dissolves wax and eventually the paint, leaving behind a dimpled, damaged surface.

Review Fluid Levels

Checking fluid levels in between service appointments prevents breakdowns and unfortunate damage from a leak or other mechanical problem. A few minutes, when the vehicle is on a level surface and the engine is cool, is all it takes to check the oil, coolant and brake fluid and power steering fluid. Refer to your vehicle's owner/operator manual for information regarding your vehicle's specifications and follow recommended procedures when checking fluids. Top off the washer fluid too while under the hood so it is always available.

Keep It Orderly

Always remove garbage and clutter when exiting the vehicle. This is important to help prevent the buildup of odor, mold growth from old beverages or food, and stains if those things are knocked over. Leaving food in a vehicle is also enticing to rodents who love to use car wiring, insulation and seat cushions in their nests.

Clean It Up

Every couple of months it is important to dust the surfaces and vacuum the floors and the seats. Use a UVprotectant cleaner on the solid surfaces to prevent cracking and fading. Deep clean upholstered cloth seats with a shampooer, and apply a fabric protectant to make stains easier to remove.

Leather seats need to have a leather cleaner and conditioner applied regularly to keep them clean and to prevent them from drying out and cracking. The same products will help to keep the steering wheel clean and protected as well.

Wash the Exterior

Many experts recommend weekly baths for every vehicle. Not everyone has the ability to do this at home or the time and money to go to a car wash. It is a good idea to at least rinse every vehicle down once every couple of weeks and give them a good scrubbing about once a month. This can be especially important in winter months when an excessive amount of road salt is in use. The two things that have the greatest impact on the value of a car in the northern regions are miles and rust!

It is also important to add an extra trip to the car wash in certain circumstances. For example, wash your car after driving over a newly tarred road or exposing your car to road salt. Remember to wax the vehicle every few months for additional protection.

The resale or donation value of a vehicle should matter to every car owner. It is easier to use as collateral when it is maintained, and it will receive more as a trade-in when the time comes. If you already have a well-maintained vehicle that you feel still has some usable life in it, please consider donating it to our innovative educational program at the Newgate School.

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The Little-Old-Lady Car: Is It Really the Deal of a Lifetime?


An amazing vehicle tucked away and forgotten in a retiree's garage is a dream of many used-car buyers. The idea of something purchased new, rarely driven and then stored for a decade or two may seem like an ideal find, but there are some very good reasons this type of car may not be as great a deal as it seems. Here are some points to consider before making a purchase.

Know the Reason

It is important to know why the vehicle was kept in storage. There are some very valid reasons.

  • It was a keepsake kept in memory of a deceased loved one.
  • The owner was unable to drive due to health concerns.

Both of these examples are reasonable answers, but another common reason is cause for alarm. Some vehicles may have repeatedly experienced mechanical issues, and the owner no longer wanted to pay for its repairs and maintenance. Parking it may have been the only solution they had at the time because it was not fit to sell or drive.

Check the Location

Vehicles are not always safe just because they are kept in a garage. Water damage from floods, burst pipes or a leaky roof could have made the vehicle unusable. Rodent infestation is another concern. Not only is there the mess of clearing out their nests but also the very real concern of the damage rodents cause when they chew on wiring.

Inspect the Condition

Sitting in one spot without any use can cause a great deal of damage to any vehicle. The tires could have flat spots and dry rot. Any rubber on a vehicle is at risk of drying out and cracking over time. The list includes door and window seals, hoses and belts and even the rubber bushings on the suspension system that may all need to be replaced.

Consider the Climate

Cars and trucks exposed to constantly changing temperature extremes and high humidity levels without regular cleaning and maintenance could develop mold and mildew issues. Deep cleaning the carpeting and upholstery may not be enough to prevent the problem from reoccurring. If not removed, it could be a potential health risk to anyone riding in the vehicle.

Review the Maintenance

It is unusual for a stored vehicle to receive any maintenance. The engine oil, brake fluid and other fluids will usually need to be replaced and the systems flushed before the vehicle is driven. Regular lubrication and the replacement of parts as they begin to corrode may have been neglected. Once the vehicle is in use, these parts could start to break or cause problems.

Understand Storage Concerns

Even if the vehicle has only been stored for a year or less, there are still some issues to remember. The gasoline could have separated or caused corrosion in the tank or fuel lines. The battery will usually have lost its charge and could be heavily corroded too. If the vehicle was not clean and dry at the time it was stored away, there could be damage to the paint.

Choose Other Options

Finding an old vehicle with low mileage or inheriting one may seem like a dream come true, but it is not uncommon for these cars and trucks to become endless repair projects. Choosing to donate the vehicle is a better option than leaving it stored away to continue rusting. There are charities that accept vehicle donations, and the donor benefits through a tax deduction.

Newgate School is a non-profit that goes even further than most charitable organizations by using the donated vehicles to train disadvantaged young adults seeking careers in the automobile service trades. Call us for more information.

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6 Signs Car Donation Is Right for You


Someone donating their carIf you've heard ads on the radio, TV or internet extolling the virtues of car donation, you may be wondering if that move is right for you. Should you donate your car? Is that the best decision in your situation? Here are six signs car donation may be right for you.

1. The Repairs Cost More Than the Value of Your Vehicle

All cars need repairs and upkeep once in a while, but as your car gets older, it can get to the point where you're throwing more money into the car than it's actually worth. If you're in that boat, it may be time to just cut the cord and get rid of your vehicle through sale or donation.

2. You Want to Get Rid of Your Old Vehicle Quickly

Selling used cars can take up a lot of your time. You have to put up an ad, field calls and emails and haggle with potential buyers. In contrast, donating your car is quick and painless. You simply bring your vehicle to a charity that accepts cars—some charities will even pick up your car. Then, you sign a couple of documents and the process is over. Consider donating your car if you want to get rid of it fast.

3. You Don't Like the Trade-In Value

Truth be told, trading in your vehicle can be almost as easy as donating it. However, in most cases the trade-in value is far less than the actual value of the car. Who profits from the difference? The car dealer. If you don't like the sound of that arrangement, you may want to let a charity benefit from the value of your vehicle instead.

4. You Want to Help a Local Charity

When you donate a vehicle, you don't just save yourself time and hassle. You actually get the joy of contributing something useful to your community.

For example, at the Newgate School, we use donated cars to train low-income adults to be mechanics. Car donations allow us to provide free education and useful vocational skills to people who really need it. We also have a program where we give recently fixed-up vehicles to single moms in need of transportation. With a simple donation, you could contribute to all of that.

5. You Want an Extra Tax Deduction

Donating a vehicle doesn't just save you time and benefit local charities; it can also help to lower your tax liability. You earn tax deductions when you make donations. The specifics can be a bit complicated, but in general, you get to subtract the value of the vehicle as an itemized deduction. That deduction reduces your taxable income and decreases the amount of income tax you owe to the IRS.

Additionally, if you donate your car to an educational institution where it will be used to train students, you will be able to use the private party fair market value as the tax deduction—the most favorable value available.

6. You've Found a Great Charity

The final piece of car donation is finding the right charity. Oftentimes, you just really want to support your local community and you want to take an active role in supporting a charity’s cause. If you find a charity that you believe in, then the answer is clear: it's time to donate.

The final piece of car donation is finding the right charity. Oftentimes, you just really want to support your local community and you want to take an active role in supporting a charity’s cause. If you find a charity that you believe in, then the answer is clear: it's time to donate.

Contact the Newgate School for more information on how your donation could benefit the lives of others in the community.

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How to Choose the Right Motor Oil for Your Car


Choosing the right oil is vitalYou probably realize that motor oil is essential for any vehicle. Oil is what lubricates and cools your car's moving engine parts while your vehicle is running. Without it, the engine in your car would lock up, which potentially causing major damage to your engine. Even if your engine doesn't have enough oil in the system or if the oil is too dirty, it could still cause engine problems.

Knowing that oil is crucial for your vehicle is one thing, but you should also know how to choose the right motor oil for your car.

There are two important factors when it comes to choosing motor oil for your car. One of them is something called viscosity, and the other is knowing what type of oil you need.

What is Viscosity?

When you look at a container of motor oil, it will have two numbers, along with the letter "W" and a dash. Here are some examples:

  • 5W-20
  • 10W-30
  • 0W-30

Viscosity is used to measure a liquid's resistance to flow and usually refers to its thickness. For example, water has low viscosity while honey has high viscosity. The molecular structure of a liquid also figures into how viscosity is measured. Because there is friction between the molecules of a fluid, viscosity determines how much energy is required to make a liquid flow.

All of this comes into play with motor oil. Something else that plays a huge role in how well motor oil flows through the engine is temperature. When it comes to the viscosity of motor oil, most people think the W stands for "Weight," but it actually stands for "Winter."

The number before the W refers to how well oil flows at 0 degrees F. The lower the number, the less chance it has of getting too thick in colder temperatures. The number after the W refers to how oil flows at 212 degrees F. The higher the number, the less chance it has of becoming too thin in warmer temperatures.

How do you know which viscosity to use for your car? One way to know is to look at the owner's manual for your vehicle. However, if you live in areas where the winters are freezing cold but the summers are very hot, you may want to switch your oil from season to season accordingly.

What Are the Different Types of Oil?

Besides knowing which viscosity of motor oil to use, you'll also need to know what type of oil your car needs.

  • Conventional: Most people use this type of oil for their vehicles, and it is usually recommended for engines with a basic design.
  • Synthetic: Chemically engineered, this type of motor oil contains fewer impurities and more additives. It is often recommended in climates with extreme changes in temperature.
  • Synthetic blend: A blend of conventional and synthetic oil that works well in lower temperatures, this type of oil is better able to resist oxidation.
  • High Mileage: This oil is designed specifically for vehicles that have over 75,000 miles on the engine.

It's also important to note that while conventional motor oil is fairly common, some car companies, such as BMW, recommend that only synthetic oil is used.

When Should the Oil Be Changed?

In the past, mechanics have recommended changing the oil every 3,000 miles. However, in recent years, it has been proven that some vehicles can go 7,500 before an oil change. If, however, you drive in what are considered "severe conditions," such as driving in stop-and-go traffic in hot weather, you may want to continue changing it every 3,000 miles.

To learn more about proper car maintenance, take a moment to look through our other blog posts. If you are thinking about getting a different vehicle, consider donating your old one to Newgate School.

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Which Type of Brake Pads Is Best for Your Needs?


Brake pads provide the muscle you need to stop your car, so their composition is important. Brake pads are composed of several different substances but can be put into a few major groups. Below is more information about the various brake pad groupings and some of the advantages and drawbacks of each type.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

A common type of brake pad in use with passenger vehicles, semi-metallic brake pads are composed of metals and a special binding agent. Some of the metals used in semi-metallic brake pads include steel, copper, and iron, though brake manufacturers may add more exotic metals for special applications such as racing.

Semi-metallic brake pads also contain their own special sub-classification, low-metallic brake pads, which are a hybrid of semi-metallic and organic brake pads and have characteristics of both major groups.

Though the exact percentages vary depending on the specific product, the usual composition of semimetallic brake pads is half metal and half binder. Semi-metallic brake pads offer numerous advantages that make this type of brake pad the favored choice for a lot of vehicle owners:

  • Economical to produce and buy
  • Good heat dissipation characteristics during average driving
  • Firm, confident braking "feel" when pedal is depressed
  • Average to above-average durability

Semi-metallic brake pads do have a few drawbacks, most notably their tendency to make squealing or grinding noises under certain circumstances. In addition, semi-metallic brake pads tend to generate more wear on rotors, which may necessitate more frequent rotor replacement.

Organic Brake Pads

Organic brake pads are another major group of brake pads. Organic brake pads originally consisted of asbestos bound with other fibers and resins, but knowledge of the dangers of asbestos have nearly eliminated its use in automotive products, including brake pads.

Today's organic brake pads use safer fibers, such as glass or Kevlar, mixed with a binding agent. These pads excel in several areas, including the following:

  • Extremely affordable cost
  • Quiet braking action
  • Most environmentally friendly of brake pad options
  • Relatively low levels of wear and tear on other braking components

Organic brake pads aren't perfect for every application, as they do have a few disadvantages, including a less certain feel to braking action. In addition, organic brake pads tend to wear out much faster than other pad types and are more sensitive to overheating.

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads make up the third major group of brake pad types. As their name indicates, ceramic brake pads are composed primarily of ceramic materials, but the pads also have metallic fibers interspersed throughout.

Ceramic brake pads are the newest, but they represent a major stride forward in braking technology. Ceramic brake pads offer several advantages to vehicle owners and operators, including:

  • High durability and longevity
  • Extremely quiet operating characteristics
  • Lower levels of brake dust production
  • Stable heat-dispersion characteristics

Since ceramic brake pads are a fairly new technology and also require more attention during manufacturing, one of their chief disadvantages is cost. Ceramic pads are the most expensive brake pads to make and sell, though the longer lifespans do help offset the upfront costs.

If you have questions about brake pads and what type might be best for your vehicle, then it is important to talk with automotive repair professionals for assistance. They can make recommendations on brake pad types as well as perform replacements that will match your driving needs and available budget.

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What You Need to Know About Tax Deductions for Donating Cars in Minnesota


When you donate a vehicle to charity, you can receive a tax deduction on your income tax return. Wondering how that works? Here's an overview of what you need to know.Deductions for your donation

1. Charitable Tax Deductions

The Internal Revenue Service allows you to claim a deduction on your tax return for charitable donations. Essentially, the value of the donation lowers your taxable income. As a result, you owe less tax. To put it simply, let's say you have $60,000 of taxable income and you make a donation of $5,000. That $5,000 lowers your taxed income to $55,000.

2.   Qualifying Charitable Organizations

A 501(c) (3) organization is the most  common non-profit organization.  The majority of them are operated in support of religious, educational, literary, and scientific purposes.  The advantage of donating a vehicle to a 501 (c) (3) organization is that you may use fair market value for your tax deduction, if the donation is used to support the charity's mission.  For example, donating a car to a school will qualify for a fair market value deduction when the car is used for training purposes and is substantially improved in the process.

3. Value of Vehicle Donations

When you donate a vehicle, the amount of your deduction can vary based on the selling price of the vehicle. As of 2017, if your donated vehicle sells for less than $500, you can claim the fair market value of the vehicle up to $500. To illustrate, imagine the fair market value of your vehicle is $1,000. The vehicle sells for $399. In this case, you can claim $500. On the other hand, if your vehicle sells for $399 but the fair market value is only $300, you can claim only $300.  If the charity sells your vehicle for more than $500, you can claim the sale price as a tax deduction. For instance, let's say your vehicle sells for $3,000. That is your tax deduction, regardless of the actual value of the vehicle.

4. Qualifying Donations

To claim a tax deduction, you need to donate the vehicle to a registered  501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. If you give the vehicle to a relative, a friend trying to start a business, or to a local organization that is not registered as a nonprofit yet, it is considered a gift and does not meet the tax deductible guidelines .

5. Paperwork

Once you donate your vehicle, you should receive a receipt (form 1098-c) so you are able to claim the deduction on your tax return. Most organizations mail this receipt to you within 30 days after they sell the vehicle, but some organizations can give you a receipt when you drop off your vehicle.
You also need to provide your title -and lien release if necessary - to complete the process.

6. Claim for the Deduction

To claim a deduction for a donation on your federal tax return, you need to itemize your deductions. This means that you take several deductions such as the home mortgage deduction and others rather than just taking the standard deduction. Generally, only homeowners fall into this category. Unfortunately, if you claim only the standard deduction, you can't claim charitable donations on your federal tax return.
Luckily, Minnesota lets you claim a special deduction on your state taxes if you don't itemize and can't claim the donations on your federal taxes. You can claim half of your donation over $500.

7. Trades

Finally, if you get a benefit in exchange for your donation, you will have to subtract the value of that gift from your donation. Imagine you donate to a charity and receive a free radio for your donation. In this case, you will have to subtract the value of the radio from your donation. This is also true if you donate a vehicle and receive a "thank you" gift.
If you're interested in donating your vehicle and receiving a tax benefit, contact  Newgate School today. Because we are a registered charity that has been accepting car donations for years, and we make the paperwork easy and the process simple for you. Best of all, when you donate a vehicle to Newgate, you help support our tuition-free mechanic training program and our mission to help low-income adults become self-sufficient.

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Everything Vehicle Owners Need to Know About Fluid Leaks



Engine Fluids Safety

Your car relies on a variety of fluids to keep the engine cool, powered, and well-lubricated. Sometimes, you find these fluids in a puddle underneath your car instead. Certain fluid leaks require immediate attention and repair, while others aren't as serious.
In this blog, we give you the basics that you need to know when you notice a vehicle fluid leak. 

Types of Fluid That May Leak

While you may assume that the liquid dripping from your car is gasoline or engine oil, several different varieties of vehicle fluids can leak.
Common fluids found in leaks include:
• Brake fluid. This oily liquid usually ranges in color from yellow to brown. Brake fluid leaks are rare in most modern cars.
• Coolant. Also known as antifreeze, coolant may appear pink, orange, or green. This sticky, sweet-smelling liquid is one of the most frequent vehicle leaks. 
• Engine oil. Depending on how old your oil is, the puddle may look dark yellow or brackish brown. Engine oil leaks may smell like burning rubber.
• Gasoline. If your vehicle's leak smells like a gas station, the liquid is probably gasoline. A puddle near the back bumper may indicate a faulty tank, while a leak near the front bumper could be due to fuel pump damage.
• Power steering fluid. Power steering fluid leaks may look reddish. If you have one of these leaks, you may also notice that it's harder to take sharp turns in your vehicle.
• Transmission fluid. Like power steering fluid, transmission leaks are usually red. Your car will usually spring a transmission leak near the front or middle of the vehicle.
• Water. Most steady dripping leaks under a car are water from the climate control system.
The severity of the leak often depends on what the puddle under your car consists of, so identifying the possible fluids involved is an important first step.

Common Signs of Fluid Leaks

While an active drip or standing puddle can clue you in to the presence of a leak, not all leaks are immediately visible. If you suspect a leak, but haven't seen the problem in action, first check your fluid reservoirs.
Slow or small leaks may affect your fluid levels over a long period of time, so it's important to know what fluid consumption is normal for your vehicle. If your dashboard lights recommend fluid changes too often, this issue may also indicate the presence of a leak.
If you suspect a leak, place a ground covering underneath your car overnight. If there is a strong odor of gasoline, you may wish to move it outside the garage to protect against a potential fire hazard.  Coverings like aluminum foil or even paper may work because motor fluids show up clearly on the surface.
If you can't explain why your car loses fluids so quickly, visit a mechanic. You may have an engine inefficiency or other mechanical problem rather than a fluid leak.

When to Worry About a Fluid Leak

Certain fluid leaks are considered normal. For example, water condensation often drips from underneath cars that use their air conditioning in warm weather. In most cases, leaks that do not cause sudden and dangerously significant drops in fluid levels or large puddles aren't serious.

Potential dangers of fluid shortages:
Brake  fluid.  A shortage of brake fluid is a potential safety hazard.  If you suspect a leak, have your car towed to a shop as soon as possible, regardless of how much fluid actually escapes.  Do not attempt to drive a car with a suspected brake fluid leak since a drop in fluid pressure can cause your brakes to stop functioning unexpectedly.
Coolant.  A shortage of coolant will affect your engine's ability to perform in a safe operating temperature range.  Look at your instrument panel to determine if your vehicle is running at an abnormal temperature.  An overheated engine will soon fail and the repair is extremely expensive.
Gasoline.  Easily recognized by its odor, gasoline is explosive, and an accumulation is extremely dangerous and a safety hazard.  Call your mechanic immediately to determine the level of severity so that its repair can be expedited.
Engine oil.  A shortage of engine oil will result in internal engine components not receiving sufficient lubrication and the engine will overheat and eventually fail - an extremely expensive repair.
Power steering fluid.   Insufficient power steering fluid will make your vehicle difficult to steer which has potential for a driving safety hazard.  Have it checked out immediately by your mechanic.
Transmission fluid.  If you feel any abnormality in your vehicle shifting, it may be a result of low transmission fluid.  If it is not replaced to the appropriate level, an expensive repair will likely ensue.
Always refer to your owner's manual to determine appropriate fluids and your car's maintenance schedule.  Timely care and attention to your vehicle's operating symptoms can save you a lot of money and allow you to avoid downtime.
If your car springs a leak and you decide to trade up, consider donating your current car to Newgate School. We use vehicles in varying conditions to teach our students the basics of car mechanics.

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Maintaining Your Windshield: A Timeline


Your windshield is one of the most important safety devices in your car. Not only does it shield you from the wind, but it protects you from flying debris. It also keeps you inside the car during a car accident, protecting you from injury.

However, your windshield requires some work on your part. Follow this timeline to keep it in top condition.Windshield care for your vehicle

Weekly: Clean Your Windshield

Streaks and stains on your windshield impact visibility, so it's important to clean your windshield as often as possible. Fortunately, the cleaning process is simple:

  1. Spray half your windshield's exterior with glass cleaner. Wipe it with a microfiber rag in a straight, up-and-down motion.
  2. Wipe the same half again in a straight, right-to-left motion.
  3. Repeat on the other side of your windshield.
  4. With a new microfiber rag, move your hand in a circular motion until you've buffed the entire windshield.
  5. Now it's time to clean the windshield interior. Put some towels on the dashboard to shield it from the spray.
  6. Spray a few squirts of windshield cleaner on a scrub pad, and a few squirts on the windshield itself. Wipe one half of the interior windshield in a straight, up-and-down motion.
  7. Repeat for the other half of the windshield.
  8. Wipe off any remaining glass cleaner with a dry microfiber rag.

This process ensures that you cover every inch of the windshield without leaving streaks behind. If your windshield needs a touchup, use the provided squeegee at the gas station each time you gas up.

Every Few Months: Top Off Windshield Wiper Fluid

Your windshield wiper fluid cleans dirt and bugs from your windshield as you drive. However, you don't want to run out of it when you need it most-so make sure the windshield wiper fluid level remains high.

Check your windshield wiper fluid level at least every few months. You should also check it during times when you use it more often, such as periods of rainy weather. You can find the fluid reservoir by looking under your hood for a symbol that looks like windshield wipers. The reservoir should have a line indicating how high to fill it.

Add more fluid by unscrewing the cap and placing a funnel over the reservoir's opening. Pour windshield wiper fluid through the funnel until the fluid level reaches the fill line. Finally, replace the cap.

Every Year: Replace Windshield Wipers

If your wiper blades leave streaks on your windshield or if they make loud noises, it's time to replace them. An auto mechanic can install fresh wiper blades.

As Needed: Get Cracks and Chips Repaired

A chip or crack in your windshield isn't just unsightly. It can compromise the integrity of your windshield glass, putting your safety at risk. You may be able to fix tiny chips with an at-home repair kit. But to ensure the highest quality repairs, your best bet is to take it to an auto repair shop. Many car insurance plans cover crack or chip repair and replacement.

Auto repair shops can typically repair chips that are an inch or smaller in diameter or cracks that are three inches long or less. For larger, more complex chips and cracks, you may need to get your windshield replaced. This also applies if the chip or crack is near the end of the windshield, where it could compromise the windshield's integrity.

An auto mechanic can evaluate your windshield and determine whether repair or replacement is required. You can't afford to neglect your windshield, so follow this timeline to keep it clean and intact.

Keep reading our blog for more car care advice. If you'd like to donate your old car, contact us today.

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Your Vehicle Has Served You Well for Many Years


But as the New Year approaches, you're thinking of finally achieving your goal to buy a new vehicle.
One of your most important decisions is which year of vehicle to purchase, especially if you’re leaning towards a used car instead of a new one. If you don't get a new car, how old of a car should you buy? Here are some benefits and drawbacks of buying a car from different time periods.

You may be able to find a reliable car from the 1990s, but buying a car from this time period has some risks.
The car may be nearing the end of its life cycle, so you may end up with the same problems you incurred with your old vehicle. Depending on its mileage and how it's been treated over the years are critical to determining how it will last into the future.  If you find a car that's been driven hundreds of thousands of miles with little maintenance, you may end up spending as much on repairs as the vehicles cost. 
Plus, keep in mind that it can be difficult to find replacement parts for cars from the 1990s. These cars' repairs are most likely no longer covered by a warranty either.
Also, a 1990s car might not have all the safety features you're looking for. After all, side airbags and anti-lock brakes didn't become common until the late 1990s. Dual airbags weren't federally mandated until 1998.
In conclusion, if you are purchasing a car from the 1990's you are taking some risks that are inherent to vehicles of that age. There are many cars out there that have had exceptional care, and have reasonable miles. Find one of these!  It is best to test drive the car and listen for suspicious noises, abnormal tire wear, and weak suspensions.  These are signals that you may have to invest in future repairs.

If you plan to buy a car from the 2000s, make sure it has been cared for over the years. It is a good idea to look online to learn about known problems for certain models.  Regular maintenance is probably the most important indicator of the car's longevity—perhaps even more important than age or mileage. Thus, make sure you get an inspection on the car before you buy it. Especially important in the northern states is to inspect the bottom side of the car for rust.  Safety items such as brake lines run underneath the car and are susceptible to failure from exposure to salt found on roadways.
There are plenty of cars from the 2000s that are still in great shape. You just need to do your homework to make sure you're getting a solid deal.

2013 to 2016
Many people consider this the "sweet spot" of car buying. Various auto experts recommend that you buy a car that's two or three years old. Many believe that this range of used cars, two- and three-year-old cars are the most reliable.
Cars lose most of their value during their first three years on the road. That means that a two- or three-year-old car provides the best return per dollar spent. Thus, you can afford a better make and model that offers more features than you would if you bought a new car. A consideration many car buyers overlook is that used cars are less expensive to insure.

The major benefit to buying a new car is that it should last for many years. You will be in control of the maintenance history from day one, therefore will have a huge impact on the car's life span.  Car experts say that today's cars can easily drive 100,000 miles without major problems. Another benefit of new cars is that you can choose the latest features, such as heated and ventilated seats, panoramic sunroofs, and voice activation.
You'll likely pay much more for a new car than you would for a car that's just a year or two old. Along with the cost of your car payments, don't forget about taxes and fees, registration, and gas and maintenance costs.  So, if you are looking for a new vehicle, consider making your purchase when new models are arriving at the dealerships.  Year-end closeout pricing, coupled with low financing and warranty can make a new vehicle the right choice for you.

In summary, your budget will determine your personal preferences. If you are opting for a good used car, make sure you get it inspected before you buy.
If you wish to avoid the hassle of trading or selling your old vehicle, consider donating it to Newgate School where it can be refurbished and put back on the road.

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What Are Safety and Emission Inspections and Do I Need One in Minnesota?


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You may have heard the term "safety and emission check," but you're not sure exactly what it entails. Safety inspections are a way to ensure that all the vehicles on the road are safe and not likely to cause harm. Similarly, emission inspections make sure vehicles aren't emitting chemicals that harm the air.

Many U.S. states require safety and/or emission inspections every year or every other year. A mechanic shop must be certified to perform state inspections. Here's how they work.

Safety Inspections

When you bring your car in for a safety inspection, mechanics check many different parts of your car to make sure they're working properly. They might check:

  • Brakes
  • Tires and wheels
  • Bulbs, lamps, and reflectors
  • Windshield wipers
  • Mirrors
  • Seat belts
  • The exhaust system
  • The steering wheel and horn
  • Window tinting and coating
  • Gas caps

Which Gas Should You Use?

If the mechanic notices any major problems with a part, he or she will ask you to get that part repaired or replaced. This is important for protecting both you and other drivers. For example, if your brake pads are worn down, it might take you longer to brake. This could cause you to get in an accident, which would harm both you and other drivers. Thus, you'll need to replace your brake pads as soon as possible.

Once you pass the safety inspection, the mechanic will give you a sticker to place on your car's window. This shows law enforcement officers that your car is safe to drive.

Emission Inspections

Certain states require regular emission inspections to protect the air and the environment. If your state requires you to get an emission inspection, you must visit a mechanic certified to perform emission inspections. Mechanics test your car's exhaust system for unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides.

If your car fails the emission inspection, your car might have a problem that requires repair. This could include:

  • A malfunctioning ignition system
  • A faulty oxygen sensor
  • An injector leak
  • A vacuum leak
  • A malfunctioning air injection system
  • A defective valve or gas cap
  • Problems with the emission control system
  • Worn spark plugs and wires
  • A faulty carburetor or fuel injection unit

You'll need to have a mechanic fix these problems to lower your car's harmful emissions.

Do I Need a Safety and Emissions Inspection in Minnesota?

Minnesota does not currently require regular safety checks for personal vehicles. You do need to get regular safety checks if you have a commercial vehicle. This is classified as a vehicle that carries 16 or more people, transports hazardous materials, or weighs over 26,000 pounds.

If you don't need a regular safety inspection to register your vehicle, you should still make sure your car is performing at its best. If you haven't had your car checked in a few years, bring it in to a mechanic for a thorough inspection.

Minnesota required emissions inspections from 1991 to 1999 because the Twin Cities did not meet federal air quality standards. But in 1999, Minnesota's air status was reclassified. Emission testing is not currently required in Minnesota.

Even though you don't need to get regular emissions inspections, you can still do your part to cut down on emissions. For example, you could ride public transportation or carpool instead of driving every day. You should also have a mechanic check that your car's engine, electrical systems, and fuel and air filters are performing properly.

New cars have better safety and air quality than older cars. Replacing your aging car with a new one can help protect you, other drivers, and the air. If you're ready to turn in your old car, consider donating it to Newgate School.

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What Transportation Assistance Is and Why It’s Important


Think back to your last bad day at work. Perhaps you slept through your alarm. You rushed to get ready, hopped into your car, and then hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. When you finally arrived at work, your boss was furious at your tardiness. Your clients left multiple voicemails and emails for you to return immediately. You were putting out figurative fires all day long, then you drove home.

Now, imagine you didn't have a car. Imagine that the only house you could afford to rent is so far from work that public transportation involves a two-hour round-trip commute. Your income, which is low, prevents you from being able to purchase your own automobile. Lastly, imagine that you have children who you want to be able to drop off and pick up from school.

With these transportation barriers, you may find it difficult to get yourself to work on time, handle your daily tasks, and still accomplish everything by the end of the day. Your employment opportunities may even be limited to the neighborhood where you live. How can you break out of this cycle? Below, we discuss how transportation assistance programs provide a solution.

How Transportation Assistance Programs Work and Who They Benefit

This alternative, bad day scenario is a common one for many people in the US. Transportation to and from work fundamentally helps them show up on time, which can allow them to retain consistent employment and pay their bills. Without reliable transportation, low-income people risk losing their jobs and limiting their earning potential. It's a major obstacle to financial stability.  

Transportation assistance programs offer a great solution. These nonprofit, government-funded, or charitable organizations offer low-cost or free vehicles to people experiencing financial hardship. In some cases, they also provide free repairs for a specific period of time.

To benefit from transportation assistance programs, applicants have to meet certain income standards. They also need to find a nonprofit organization, government agency, or charity whose mission is to help them.

For example, some transportation assistance programs focus on giving restored cars exclusively to military veterans. Other programs offer transportation assistance to victims of natural disasters or domestic violence. Some programs only help the elderly, the medically needy, or the homeless.

However, the vast majority of transportation assistance programs are geared toward helping the working poor. With a free or affordable vehicle, low-income workers not only get transportation to and from work but they also have the ability to travel farther from home, opening up their overall employment opportunities. Over time, these efforts can break the cycle of poverty in rural and inner-city areas where public transportation is limited or nonexistent.

How You Can Join Transportation Assistance Efforts

Transportation assistance programs rely on car donations. When you donate your car, these organizations fix them up and then give them to qualified individuals two to three times a month.

If you're interested in combating poverty in your area, donate an older vehicle to a local transportation assistance program. In addition to giving a low-income family much-needed transportation, you will also receive a sizeable tax deduction for this donation.

The Newgate School runs Wheels for Women, a transportation assistance program for single mothers in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.

We select low-maintenance models from the vehicle donations we receive; use them to train low-income young adults in auto mechanics; and provide them to single, working mothers as a means of reliable transportation. Our program has helped countless moms get to work, keep their jobs, and bring their kids to school. If you're interested in donating your car to us, contact us today at contact@newgateschool.org.

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Which Type of Gas Does Your Car Need?


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You've probably heard that most cars run with regular gas. But when you pull up to the pump at your local gas station you see several different grades of gas and even different types of fuel. You might wonder why these different types and grades exist.

Using the right fuel type and grade is important because using the wrong fuel could potentially harm your car's engine.

Different Fuel Types

Most cars run on gasoline, a refined petroleum distillate. Gasoline makes up the majority of options at your local gas station. However, there are other types of fuel as well.

Diesel is a different type of fuel obtained from crude oil. Some gas stations offer biodiesel, which comes from vegetable oil. Diesel is more expensive than gasoline, but it allows you to drive longer distances. It only works on vehicles designed to run on diesel fuel. If you use gasoline in a diesel engine damage will likely occur as gasoline does not ignite properly and burns too quickly resulting in very low power output of the diesel engine.

Today, many vehicles are built to run on alternative fuels. E85 is the most popular and is a blend of 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol. It is less expensive than gasoline but leads to lower miles per gallon. There should be a decal or label on your car identifying that it is E85 compatible (also known as flex fuel).

Other alternative fuels include liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, and liquid nitrogen. However, most vehicles are not built to accept these fuels.

Electric cars are gaining popularity. They run on electricity rather than gas. Before these cars can drive, the operator needs to be sure the battery is sufficiently charged. Some hybrid models use both a gasoline engine and an electric engine to power the vehicle. The combination is set up to allow the car to run as efficiently as possible.

How Gas Grades Work

Now that you understand the different fuel sources, let's explore the different fuel grades. But first you need to understand why these different grades exist.

As you look at the different gas grades at the gas station, you'll notice that each grade has a number. This number is the octane rating, which measures how resistant the gasoline is to pre-ignition. When your gas ignites prematurely, you'll hear a rattling or knocking sound. This usually means you have used a lower octane rated gasoline than is recommended for your car. The higher the octane rating, the more resistant the gas is to pre-ignition. Most cars are designed to combat the effects of pre-ignition.

Differences Between Gas Grades

Most cars' engines are built to withstand pre-ignition. Thus, regular gas is a perfectly acceptable choice. Some luxury and high performance cars are equipped with higher compression engines, which are more likely to experience pre-ignition. These cars likely require a premium grade of gas. It is important that you read your owners' manual to confirm the octane rating required for your car. You should follow the factory recommendation, especially during the warranty period.

Choosing the wrong fuel type or grade can be a waste of money and could damage your car's engine. Manufacturers have spent significant testing time to determine the best fuel rating for your vehicle. The best bet for any car is to follow the manufacturer's recommendation when choosing the correct fuel for your car.

Read through the rest of our blogs to learn more about car maintenance, or, if your old car is on its way out, consider donating it to Newgate School.

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Are Manual Cars on Their Way Out?


You love the power and control of driving a stick shift car. But you wonder if you're the only one. All around you, people are trading in their manual cars for automatics.

Are manual cars disappearing? Yes and no. Let's look at some reasons why manual car sales have declined, and let's also explore some reasons why manual cars may stick around longer than we think.

The Case for the Disappearing Manual Car

If you suspect that sales of manual cars have declined over the years, you would be right. In 1980, 35% of cars manufactured in North America were manual. In 2014, just 10% were.

There are various reasons for this decline:

  • Improvements to automatic cars. In the past, manual cars often enjoyed better fuel efficiency, control, and performance. Today, updates to automatic cars have helped them meet and sometimes even surpass manual cars in these categories.
  • Manual vs Automatic transmission cars. For standard vehicles, the manual transmission models have historically been less expensive than automatics. People who have to operate their cars in city traffic prefer automatic transmissions because of frequency of stop and go traffic.
  • Drivability of automatic cars. Many teenagers learning to drive for the first time prefer learning with automatic cars. People who don't particularly enjoy driving also enjoy a less stressful driving option. People who prefer manual cars may have family members who don't know how to drive manual cars. Thus, they decide to purchase automatic cars for their family.

These reasons have caused manual car sales to decline. But is the manual car gone for good?

The Case for the Immortal Manual Car

Despite the strong reasons why automatic car sales have eclipsed sales of manual cars, these vehicles are still around. In fact, there were more stick shift sales in 2012 than there were in the years since 2006. The main reason why manual cars are still in demand is simple: people enjoy driving them.

Many people who have driven manual cars their whole driving lives don't want to switch to automatic. They feel that manual cars give them a better sense of control in different driving situations. They find driving manual cars exciting and driving automatic cars uninteresting and dull. They may feel that their manual car has better fuel efficiency and performance than an automatic car does, although this idea isn't necessarily true depending on the vehicle.

There are a couple of other perks to choosing manual cars as well. Since fewer and fewer people learn how to drive manual cars, your friends are less likely to borrow your manual car. It may also make people less likely to steal your car, since they may not know how to drive it.

Because of these reasons, people continue to purchase manual cars. Many car manufacturers have paid attention to the demand and continue to produce various car models with manual transmissions.

Should You Trade In Your Manual Car?

With all these reasons in front of you, is it time to give away your manual car and buy an automatic car? If you're holding on to your manual car only because you believe it gives you better fuel economy and performance, you may want to explore other car possibilities. There are many automatic cars available with performance that rivals that of manual cars. Do some research and figure out which car has all the features that meet your needs.

If you want to keep your manual car simply because you prefer driving it, there's no reason to give it up. Manual cars are still on the market for similar prices as automatic cars.

If you do decide to give away your manual car, donate it to Newgate School. We use donated cars to teach career skills to low-income adults.

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Way to Winterize: 8 Steps to Prepare Your Car for Cold Weather


As the weather changes, your car's functionality may change too. To ensure that your car maintains its fuel efficiency, performance, and safety, you must take steps to winterize the vehicle.

Most vehicle owners find that the best time to prepare their vehicles for winter is at the start or at the middle of the fall season, before temperatures drop and stay low for months at a time.

In this blog, we list eight important steps in winterizing your car.

1. Change the Oil

Your engine relies on oil to run smoothly. When the weather gets cold, oil can thicken and gum up the works. Your car may need a different type of oil in the winter months to maintain optimal performance. Opt for a high-quality, winter-friendly oil to keep your engine running efficiently.

2. Check the Tire Pressure

At the end of summer or the beginning of fall, make checking your tire pressure a regular part of your maintenance routine. When the weather gets cold, the pressure in your tires can drop, reducing your traction on slick roads. Keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure to ensure safe driving and precise handling.

3. Consider a Tire Change

If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, consider switching out your current set of tires for snow tires. Snow tires are designed to stay flexible in cold weather. This characteristic ensures that snow tires grip the road more effectively. If you don't want to switch over to snow tires, make sure that you have snow chains that are in good condition and that you know how to use them.

4. Have the Battery Inspected

A cold spell can weaken your battery. If your car battery is three years old or older, take your car in and have the mechanic test the battery strength. If your battery is weak, it could die when the cold weather strikes. Replace the battery to avoid jump-starting in the snow or becoming stranded.

5. Put Together a Winter Kit

In the summer, you may keep water bottles, sunscreen, and a basic emergency in your car. In the winter, you should expand your kit. Include a snow shovel, snow scraper, extra coat, blankets, and tire chains. You may also want to carry extra coolant, antifreeze, and washer fluid. As you expand your kit, take the time to replace any medical or automotive supplies you used up over the summer.

6. Replace the Windshield Wiper Blades

Visibility is particularly essential during the winter. Most windshield wiper blades last about a year. Autumn is a great time to replace your wipers each year since it usually represents a lull between spring and summer rain and winter snow.

7. Schedule a Belt Assessment

Cold makes materials more brittle and, therefore, more likely to break. When you go in for your oil change, have your belts and hoses looked at by a mechanic. Normal wear and tear can turn into a major problem with the help of low temperatures so it's better to handle replacements before the winter.

8. Top Off All Fluids

In addition to your oil change, you'll probably need to switch your fluids over to low-temperature varieties. Check your coolant, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluid levels in the beginning or middle of fall. Top off each fluid with a version that won't freeze when it gets cold.

Use this list to ensure that your daily commute, holiday travels, and routine errands aren't interrupted when the temperature begins to fall. Consult with a mechanic and read over your owner's manual for specific recommendations for your make and model.

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4 Instances of Maintenance Neglect That Can Harm Your Car


You use your car quite a bit. For every commute, road trip, or errand run, you hop in your car and go on your merry way. But an unexpected problem can easily throw a wrench into your routine or plans, causing frustration and stress. Oftentimes, these unplanned issues come from neglected maintenance and repairs.

To keep your car in good shape, avoid the four following mistakes. Ignoring necessary maintenance can be dangerous and eventually lead to worse problems.

1. Overlooking Tire Care

For the safety of yourself and your passengers, it's imperative that you regularly care for your tires. Bald tires can be especially dangerous during inclement weather, as the surface of the tire doesn't provide enough traction to keep you safely on the road. Be sure to check the tread regularly so you know when your tires need to be replaced.

You can do this easily with a penny. Simply press the edge of the penny into the tread with Lincoln's head facing downwards. If you can see his entire head, it may be time to change your tires. Until then, get your tires rotated every six months or so to prolong the life of your tires and allow an even wear on the tires.

Also, ensure your tire pressure is up to par. Over- or underinflated tires can be dangerous. You can find the suggested tire pressure for your car in your owner's manual, and you can use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure. If you need a little air, use an air pump at your local gas station.

2. Ignoring the Fluids

Most car owners know how important oil is for a car, but it's not the only automotive fluid you need to worry about. Consult your owner's manual to find out when your brake or transmission fluid needs to be changed and when your oil, coolant, and other fluids should be replaced. If you take your car in for regular maintenance, your mechanic can also warn you when a fluid needs to be changed.

If you neglect to change the fluids, a small issue can easily become large and expensive over time. Failing to change the fluids can even damage your engine so badly that you need to replace it entirely, which can be costly.

3. Letting Dirt Build Up on Your Car

Washing your car does more than restore it to its shining glory. Giving it a good scrub every now and then can protect your paint job from problems like rust, oxidized paint, and corrosion. If it's too cold outside to wash your car yourself, run it through an automated car wash to rinse off road salt and dirt.

4. Ignoring Signs of Trouble

As the owner of your car, you know your car better than anyone else. You know how it sounds, smells, and feels as you drive it. If your vehicle starts to make a small, odd noise, don't ignore it. If it suddenly struggles to make it up a hill it usually handles easily, don't brush it off. When you notice something different about your car, take note of it and consult a trusted mechanic to ensure it's not a concern.

If the check engine light comes on, don't disregard it, even if your car seems fine. You may need a part replaced, and letting it be can lead to more expensive and extensive issues.


Don't ignore regular maintenance; keep a careful eye on your vehicle and set up a care routine for your car. Check your tires and fluids, and don't brush aside the dashboard warning lights. And if you're worried something is wrong but don't know what, be sure to consult a specialist instead of shrugging it off.

However, if your car looks like it may be on its last legs, or if you're thinking of getting a new car, consider donating your car to Newgate School. Doing so can allow young adults to learn how to maintain and repair cars and pursue a career in the industry.

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Is It Time to Retire Your Old Car?


Are you trying to squeeze a few more miles out of your old, unreliable car? Many people hold on to old cars because they enjoy not having a car payment. Others hesitate to buy a new car because they don't think they will qualify for a decent car loan.

Despite the reasons you are putting off retiring your old car, there will come a time when it is necessary. The decision shouldn't be made lightly. You and your family's safety could be at risk if you continue to use an old, unreliable vehicle.

Here are some signs that it's time to replace your car.

The Car Isn't Safe

Are you nervous that your car will break down every time you drive it? If so, you should consider buying a safer vehicle. Unreliable cars could leave you or your family stranded by the roadside. Older cars can also cause accidents because of a system malfunction. When you drive an unsafe vehicle, you not only put your safety at risk but also the safety of other drivers as well.

If you notice jerking movements while driving your vehicle, or the speed of your vehicle randomly slows, it may be time to get a new car.

The Cost of Repairs Exceeds Your Vehicle's Value

If you are frequently taking your car to the shop for repairs to avoid buying a new car, you may be wasting money. Sometimes, frequent or costly repairs end up being more expensive than buying a new car.

Some car models are known to be less trouble than others. You may be able to avoid similar problems in the future by researching reliable car models before purchasing a new vehicle.

The Fuel Tank Drains Quickly  

Car manufacturers are constantly improving fuel efficiency in newer cars, whereas older cars tend to have poorer fuel economy.

Identify the fuel efficiency of your current vehicle. If you are spending more money on fuel than you would on a new car payment each month, consider buying a more fuel-efficient car. Otherwise, you will likely waste money by frequently fueling your vehicle.

The Car Doesn't Work With Your Current Lifestyle

There are many changes in life that may require a new vehicle. For example, the old beater car you used to commute to work with may not be the best car for you to take your family on a road trip. Other life events may include a new addition to your family, all of your children moving away, a new job, or losing a car in an accident.

The Service Engine Light is Frequently On

If you have started to ignore the lit service engine light because it's always on, you may need to retire your old car. The service engine light on many cars can be checked to determine any necessary repairs. However, if repairs are made and the light remains lit, the light may be failing to function properly. Such a failure will not allow your vehicle to alert you when there are serious problems with your engine.

You may also have other dashboard lights that remain lit in your car. If so, seek the help of a mechanic. If he or she can't fix the problem, consider looking for a new car.

The Vehicle's Current Safety Features Are Outdated

Modern vehicles are much safer than older vehicles. Most new car models have safety technologies and features that can even decrease your chances of getting in an accident. Some features warn the driver of hazards; other features can automatically stop a car to avoid an accident.

Here are some examples of safety features included in many newer vehicles:

  • Rear Back-up camera
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Curtain airbags
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring

Consider buying a new car to take advantage of these beneficial safety features. Even if you don't buy a brand new car, many cars built within the last five years still have many of these safety features.

If you noticed one or more of these signs, consider donating your old car to Newgate School. Not only will you benefit from a new car, but the students at Newgate will have an opportunity to learn from the damages on your old car.

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Considering Donating Your Car? Understand How Your Donation Benefits Others


Are you ready to buy a new car? Great! Now the question is what to do with the car you currently own.

If your car is repairable and has a reasonable amount of miles, donating your car is a great way to go. Donating can benefit you and benefit an automotive school like Newgate School in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Schools like Newgate use your donated car, van, or truck like a textbook. Students learn automotive repair skills directly from the vehicles.

You will receive charitable deductions on your donation. If you donate to a charity that actually uses the car in its mission, you can receive the highest deduction available, a fair market tax deduction.

But perhaps the biggest advantage to donating your car is the benefits it provides others. In this blog, we’ll tell you exactly how donating your car can benefit other individuals. Read on to discover why you should donate your vehicle rather than sell it.

Your Donated Car Provides Youth With Educational Opportunities

Automotive schools, like Newgate School, accept donated cars and use them to provide young adults with educational opportunities. Depending on their circumstances, some low-income young adults may not have the opportunity to receive a higher education.

However, your donated car provides them with a key material they need to learn auto body and mechanical repair skills. Over a course of 18 months or so, students in these programs will learn basic skills they need to become apprentices in the auto repair industry. These vocational skills allow them to be more successful as they pursue a career in automotive work.

You’ll find Newgate School graduates employed as mechanics at a cement pump manufacturer and at the airport support vehicle maintenance shop. You’ll meet them painting small jets, repairing bus engines, or painting fire trucks. You’ll see them at your local mechanic shops, too. They’re everywhere, thanks to Minnesotans helping Minnesotans.

Your Donated Car Assists Single Mothers in Need

Once students repair your donated car, the vehicle’s usefulness continues to grow. Many donated, repaired vehicles are given to single mothers who struggle with their circumstances. Many of these mothers are trying to become self-sufficient, but they may lack the resources to do so.

To receive a donated, repaired vehicle, a single mother must meet a few requirements:

  • She must be a single mother with one or more dependent, school-aged children.
  • She needs to have a full-time job that she has held for at least six months.
  • Her annual income must be less than $35,000.
  • She must have proof of car insurance to protect the vehicle.
  • She cannot own any other vehicles.

If a woman meets these requirements, she can apply to receive a complimentary vehicle that allows her to more easily support herself and her children. While not every applicant is chosen to receive a vehicle, those who do are able to be more self-sufficient.

Your Donated Car Can Aid Your Community

Minnesota has only a few locally based charities that take car donations, but many national charities collect cars here and send the proceeds outside of the state. Consider the location of the charity’s headquarters before you donate.

At Newgate School, all proceeds from the sale of donated and/or refurbished vehicles stay right here in Minnesota. Minnesotans helping Minnesotans—what a good thing!

Some car donation programs open up opportunities for folks struggling to make a future for themselves. Some haven’t performed well in traditional schools. Others are immigrants who find English challenging but respond well to hands-on automotive training. Some are young military veterans, some injured, who need job skills to re-enter civilian life. And there are others whose lack of skills has limited their potential earnings to minimum wage.

These low-income young people thrive in tuition-free automotive career schools. The possible ways your donated car assists your community are truly endless.

Ready to Donate Your Vehicle?

As outlined above, donating your car not only benefits you greatly, but it also benefits others around you. To get started with the donation process, get in touch with a representative from Newgate School. We accept cars of any make, model, and year as long as the vehicle is in repairable condition.

When you donate your car, you truly do impact the lives of other people. Choose to donate your vehicle and see just how much this choice can benefit your entire community. 

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What You Need to Know About Taxes After Donating Your Car


What You Need to Know About Taxes After Donating Your Car

There are many benefits you can receive after donating a car. Along with knowing you’ve helped another person, you will also be eligible to receive a tax deduction. If you are interested in receiving a tax deduction after donating your car, you will need to do some homework in order to get the deduction.

Here are some tasks you will need to complete to receive your tax deduction.

Find a Charity

First, find one or several possible charities where you could donate your vehicle. Ask coworkers, friends, family, and neighbors, or you might try your favorite mechanic for a reference. Be sure to search online, too.

Once you have found the name of a charity, look at its website. Then call the charity and ask for the transportation manager. Tell him or her about the vehicle you wish to donate, and ask how the charity will use your vehicle. The use is the key to learning what deductions you can expect.

Determine the Value of Your Vehicle

If your car is worth more than $500, the value of your car will depend on what your chosen charity plans to do with the vehicle. However, you can expect a minimum deduction of $500 when you donate any vehicle.

If a charity plans to sell your donated vehicle, then your deduction is the gross proceeds the charity will make from the sale. Once a charity sells your car, they will send you the receipt of the purchase, indicating the amount you can claim on your deduction. This receipt must contain the following information:

  • The gross proceeds from the sale
  • The date the car sold
  • A statement that says that your deduction can’t exceed the gross proceeds
  • A statement that says the car was sold between unrelated parties in an arm’s length transaction

Your chosen charity must provide you with the receipt and statements within 30 days after the car sold.

If your chosen charity doesn’t sell donated cars as part of its mission, you can use your car’s fair market value. You will use this same method to value your car if the charity donates your car for less than it’s worth or intends to use your vehicle. If your car qualifies under one of these circumstances, you will need a statement from your chosen charity verifying the use of your car.

Keep in mind that you are responsible to provide documentation if the IRS decides to audit your donation.

Complete Necessary Paperwork

One of the most common situations that the IRS chooses to audit is no-cash donations, which are donations that don’t involve giving money. Donors should keep detailed documentation as evidence after they donate a car.

Every donor will need to document the following information:

  • The name and address of the chosen charity
  • The date the vehicle was donated
  • A description of the vehicle
  • An acknowledgement from the charity

In addition to this documentation, people who donate cars that are worth more than $500 also need to fill out Form 8283, Section A. If a car is worth more than $5,000, the donor needs to fill out Form 8283, Section B. Cars that are worth more than $5,000 and meet one of the exceptions listed above will also need a written appraisal.  

Transfer the Title

The IRS usually recommends that donors personally transfer the title of car to the charity to avoid any confusion in the future. Most states require an individual to fill out a form through the state’s department of motor vehicles. This department will provide the donor with a statement that proves that the vehicle was donated.

Before you give your car to the charity, remove the license plate to avoid any potential liabilities. Also, make a copy of the car’s title for your records, and take pictures of your car before the donation.

Once you are ready to donate your car, ask the charity you’ve selected if they offer a towing or pickup service. If not, consider driving your car to the charity. You can help the charity save money on the donation by avoiding pickup or towing services.  

If you need assistance donating your car, the IRS does provide help. Visit www.irs.gov for more information regarding vehicle donation. Most charities also provide assistance to donors. Consult the charity you’ve selected if you have further questions about donating your vehicle.

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7 Steps to Prepare Your Car for Donation


Vehicle donation represents one of the best ways to dispose of a car that no longer works for your lifestyle or needs without creating unnecessary waste. While the requirements for each form of donation differ, you can take these seven steps to prepare your car (and yourself) for the donation.

1. Check Your Charity’s Requirements
A charity which refurbishes and resells car parts will have different requirements than an automotive school. Check with your charity to get a checklist of any paperwork, repairs, and preparations required. You’ll find many common requirements on this list. However, it’s always a good idea to go over your charity’s policies so you know how the car will be transported, what paperwork to expect, and how your car will be used.

2. Find the Title and Prepare the Paperwork
Regardless of charity type, you will likely need to produce the title before donating the car. Put together a folder of important paperwork, including the title, title transfer form, and any accident history for the vehicle. If you still make payments on your car, you must complete a lien release form to transfer the loan to your charity. Check with your organization to see if they accept cars with liens on them. Fill out your paperwork carefully, as the DMV does not accept title forms with errors.

3. Have a Basic Checkup
If you are donating directly to a church or a person in need, consider having a basic inspection performed. Check the condition of basic components, such as the windows, wipers, lights, brakes, and tires. Double-check the condition requirements of your charity, and make any repairs accordingly. While many scrap charities take inoperable vehicles, charities that provide second-hand vehicles to those in need may ask you to perform simple maintenance tasks beforehand if you can.

4. Perform Any Needed Cleaning
Similarly, evaluate the cleanliness of your car and the purpose it will serve after donating. If you’re donating to a local cause, consider performing some standard cleaning before turning your car over. Remember, you do not need to deep-clean the vehicle unless required by the charity. Many organizations, such as automotive schools, perform and teach these cleaning methods after you donate the car.

5. Put Any and All Keys Together
For many car donation charities, all you need to donate is the car, the title, and the keys. Put all the keys you have, including a remote key fob if you have one, together on a single key ring. To help you keep track of the keys, keep them in the same place as your paperwork.

6. Remove All Personal Belongings
The last thing your charity wants is to end up with a pair of your sunglasses and a pack of gum along with your car. During your cleaning, give your car a once-over to ensure that you have removed all personal items. Be sure to check under the seats, floor mats, and dashboard for any hidden personal items.

7. Wait Until After the Donation to Cancel the Insurance
Your last step when donating a car is canceling the insurance. While the title still belongs to you, you should maintain your usual insurance to avoid any legal complications. Do not remove your license tags or cancel your insurance until you drop your car off or have your car picked up and the transfer is complete. Return your tags to your local DMV along with the relevant paperwork. Questions about our donation program? Contact a staff member here at the Newgate School to get answers to your specific questions. Perform these tasks so that when you donate your vehicle, you can do so without wondering if you left something behind or neglected to finish a piece of paperwork.

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