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How to Find Free Car Repair for Low Income Families

How to Find Free Car Repair for Low Income Families

Looking for free car repair for low income families? You’re not alone! We’ve heard from thousands of people who need help with low cost auto repair and we’ve found help all around the country!

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At Low Income Relief, we are dedicated to helping people in need connect with resources in their local communities. This list will walk you through some nationwide resources and some additional organizations that may be able to point you in the right direction. At the end, we’ll have a state-by-state list detailing all of the auto repair resources we’ve found. If you don’t see your area in that list, let us know in the comments!

We’re constantly researching and updating our articles with new information so be sure to check back often for updates.

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Contents show

Nationwide Car Repair Resources

We’ve done our best to find every nationwide organization that offers free car repair. However, you need to understand that many of these organizations (such as The Salvation Army) are large networks that are comprised of smaller chapters. Each chapter can set their own rules and make their own programs. Just because some locations offer free car repair for low income families does not mean that every location will offer that program. Please be aware of that when you reach out for assistance.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities exist all over the United States but each organization is run locally. As such, details about these programs may vary depending on where you live. However, we were able to confirm that Catholic Charities does assist with auto repair in many areas, including upstate New York, Michigan and more.

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Community Action Agencies

There are Community Action Agencies all over the United States. These organizations can assist with many different needs but programs may vary by agency. Most Community Action agencies can assist with utility bills, weatherization services and basic needs like food. Some also assist with rent and even car repairs!

Availability will vary depending on your location, donation levels and funds. You can find a CAC in your area by searching your city or county name followed by “Community Action Agency.”

Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC)

JARC is a government program that is supposed to assist low income people with transportation. These funds can be used for public transportation, car repair and other needs.

Although many other websites will tell you this is an easy way to get free grants for car repair, that’s not exactly true. JARC is a program that provides funds to local organizations, who disburse those funds in accordance with the law. The program was very popular many years ago but seems to be outdated. Funds are dwindling and the program is not available in most areas at this time.

Lutheran Faith in Action

Lutheran Ministries, often called Faith in Action, often provide assistance with auto repairs. We were able to confirm that Lutheran ministries have provided low-cost or even free car repair for low income families in Idaho, Washington and more. If you’re looking for help, you may want to contact your local Lutheran church to see if they offer this service or know of a local ministry that can help.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Recalls

Although the NHTSA won’t pay to repair your vehicle directly, they do keep track of vehicle recalls and those recall-related repairs will be done at no cost to you most of the time. Federal law requires that all safety recall related-repairs must be provided for free on cars that are up to 15 years old. That 15-year clock starts ticking the moment that the vehicle is sold to its first owner. Even if your vehicle is older than that, the manufacturer may still be willing to complete the repairs for free because it’s a safety issue.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a nationwide organization that is comprised of local branches. Each branch offers slightly different services, so even though we’ve found that some local branches provide car repair assistance that may not necessarily be true at all of them. It is definitely worth reaching out and asking, though.

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We have been able to confirm that the Salvation Army has offered assistance with car repairs in the past in multiple states, including Florida.

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul is a worldwide Catholic organization. Their financial assistance programs are usually operated by local parishes, which serve only people who reside inside the parish boundaries. We have been able to identify SVDP programs that assist with auto repair in California, Texas, Wisconsin and more. I highly recommend contacting your local SVDP program to see if they can assist you.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The TANF program is best known for providing cash benefits to low income families. However, this program also provides supportive services to low income working families so they may be able to provide free car repair for low income families if those repairs are necessary to meet employment goals.

Workforce & Vocational Rehabilitation Programs

Some workforce and vocational rehabilitation programs assist with auto repairs when they will help someone get or keep a job. This isn’t universal and it definitely varies depending on the program, but it may be worth reaching out to your county or state workforce programs to see if this is something they can help with.

Wait – are you eligible for a free car?

There may be another way around your expensive car repairs. We’ve found some legitimate vehicle giveaways that may be able to help. If you need help with reliable transportation, check out this vetted list of giveaways!

Specialized Auto Repair Resources

Some resources only serve people who have an affiliation with a certain group, such as a specific disability or veteran affiliation.

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Army Emergency Relief

Soldiers and their families may be able to receive rent relief from Army Emergency Relief (AER). This program provides zero-interest loans and grants to those who need assistance. They can help with rent, security deposits, food, vehicle costs, utilities, funeral expenses, basic furniture, appliance costs, child care seats, dental care, home repair, clothing, and so much more.

Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront offers Critical Financial Assistance. In order to be eligible, you must be active duty military or a veteran who is deployed, wounded, ill or injured. If you qualify under that criteria, you may be able to receive assistance with auto payments, auto repair, child and dependent care, dental, food, essential home items, medical, moving and relocation assistance, rent payment assistance, mortgage assistance, travel and transportation, utilities, vision care, home repairs and more.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program is designed to help homeless veterans find stable housing. I have seen reports that financial assistance from this program may be used for rent, moving expenses, utilities, or even auto repairs in certain cases. You’ll need to check with your local SSVF provider agency for more information.

Local Auto Repair Resources

Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to find assistance in your area from non-profit auto repair shops, churches that help with auto repairs, or other organizations that provide free car repair for low income families.

If you do not see your area listed below, leave a comment below and let us know so we can research that for you. I also recommend calling 211 for more information. The 211 directory contains information about organizations like churches and charities that can assist with auto repair in your area.

Arizona

Voluntary Vehicle Repair Program (Statewide)

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality can provide up to $900 toward the cost of emissions-related vehicle repairs after your vehicle fails an emissions test! For more information, visit the website.

Auto Repair Good Guys Foundation (Phoenix)

Many resource directories point people to Auto Repair Good Guys but it is not clear if they are still in business. Their URL is no longer being served and their Facebook page hasn’t been active for a while.

California

Consumer Assistance Program (Statewide)

The Bureau of Automotive Repair’s Consumer Assistance Program seeks to protect California’s air quality by offering eligible people with repair assistance and vehicle retirement options. If you are eligible, you may be able to receive up to $1,200 for repairs or $1,500 for retiring your vehicle. Details here.

St. Vincent de Paul (Thousand Oaks)

The St. Vincent de Paul Thousand Oaks Conference may be able to assist you with auto repair and other basic needs. They have an intake form for auto repair requests on their website. Please note that they only serve residents of the Conejo Valley who live in zip codes 91359, 91360, 91361, 91362 and 91320.

Connecticut

The British Society

In order to receive help from The British Society, you must either be British (holding a passport of the United Kingdom or its dependencies) or a child of a British person who is residing in one of the six New England states. If you meet these eligibility requirements, then you may be able to receive one-time assistance with rent, airfare to the UK or car repairs.

Delaware

Community Resource Center (Sussex County)

The Community Resource Center operates an Emergency Needs Program that can assist with auto repairs, rent, utility bills, medicine and other emergency needs. For details and eligibility requirements, visit their website.

Georgia

Coastal Plain Area EOA Inc.

This organization administers a Minor Car Repair program that can assist with batteries, tires, water hoses, engine belts and other minor repairs. In order to be eligible, you must have at least six months of employment at your current job. Up to $300 in repairs can be authorized per vehicle.

Iowa

DeWitt Referral Center (Clinton County)

The DeWitt Referral Center offers valuable services to residents within the Central DeWitt Community School District. This organization can provide Iowa rent assistance, as well as assistance with gasoline, auto repairs, prescriptions, school supplies, diapers, Christmas gifts and more!

Maine

The British Society (Statewide)

In order to receive help from The British Society, you must either be British (holding a passport of the United Kingdom or its dependencies) or a child of a British person who is residing in one of the six New England states. If you meet these eligibility requirements, then you may be able to receive one-time assistance with rent, airfare to the UK or car repairs.

Community Harvest (Kennebunk, Kennebunkport or Arundel)

Community Harvest offers limited financial assistance to residents of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport or Arundel only. They may be able to assist you with fuel, utility payments, car repair, security deposits, clothing or rent.

Massachusetts

The British Society

In order to receive help from The British Society, you must either be British (holding a passport of the United Kingdom or its dependencies) or a child of a British person who is residing in one of the six New England states. If you meet these eligibility requirements, then you may be able to receive one-time assistance with rent, airfare to the UK or car repairs.

Michigan

Friends In Deed (Ypsilanti)

Friends in Deed may be able to assist with car repairs. They also pass on used cars for free when they receive donations! In addition, they may also be able to provide utility assistance, free furniture and more.

Here to Help Foundation (Wayne & Oakland Counties)

The Road Ready Repairs program provides grants of up to $800 to assist with needed vehicle repairs.

Minnesota

The Lift Garage (Minneapolis)

The Lift Garage is a nonprofit that provides low-cost car repair, free pre-purchase car inspections and honest advice. They have served the community since 2013.

Jesus Driven (Goodhue County)

Jesus Driven offers two types of service. Their nonprofit service provides free labor but you must purchase the parts. They can help you decide what you need, but they will not be able to provide financial assistance for the parts. This organization also offers job application assistance, financial counseling and vehicle ownership and maintenance instruction. Due to limited equipment, they are not able to assist with mounting, balancing or repairing tires.

Missouri

VAC MO (Boone County)

VAC assist with bus tickets, gas vouchers and even care repair assistance. However, someone at the address must be employed and must have a valid driver’s license in order to receive help.

Montana

Good Samaritan Ministries (Helena)

The financial assistance programs at Good Samaritan Ministries can help you with auto repair, as well as Christmas gifts, job skills development, lodging, motel vouchers, medical, dental, vision, prescriptions, propane, gas, bus passes, public transport, utilities and more!

Hope Rescue Mission (Missoula)

The Hope Rescue Mission may have funds available to assist with free car repair for low income families through their 549-HOPE initiative.

New Hampshire

The British Society

In order to receive help from The British Society, you must either be British (holding a passport of the United Kingdom or its dependencies) or a child of a British person who is residing in one of the six New England states. If you meet these eligibility requirements, then you may be able to receive one-time assistance with rent, airfare to the UK or car repairs.

New Mexico

Empty Stocking Fund (Santa Fe & Rio Arriba Counties)

The Empty Stocking Fund is organized by the Santa Fe Community Foundation. This fund provides assistance with rent, car repairs, home heating, utility bills or other basic needs. The fund is designed to provide one-time emergency assistance to those who have experienced significant financial challenges.

Los Alamos Cares (Los Alamos County)

Los Alamos Cares, also known as LA CARES, is a food bank. I have seen reports that they may also offer limited financial assistance with rent, utilities, car repairs, medical/dental assistance, or furniture/household goods. It is not clear what their requirements are for this program.

North Carolina

Next Level Church (Charlotte)

Next Level Church has a program that provides auto repair assistance for single moms who cannot afford it. The repair team provides free labor but they do not provide parts. You will need to supply the needed materials and get your vehicle to the Church for service. You must apply on their website in advance.

Ohio

Muskingum Economic Opportunity Action Group Inc (Muskingum County)

The Emergency Services Program may be able to assist with car repairs, as well as rental assistance, child care costs, water payments, laundry expenses and more.

Oregon

The Carpenter’s Garage (Portland)

Portland, Oregon, residents can find a non-profit auto repair shop across the Columbia in Vancouver. The Carpenter’s Garage has given back over $1 million to Portland and Vancouver residents in scholarships and discounted labor services.

Rhode Island

The British Society

In order to receive help from The British Society, you must either be British (holding a passport of the United Kingdom or its dependencies) or a child of a British person who is residing in one of the six New England states. If you meet these eligibility requirements, then you may be able to receive one-time assistance with rent, airfare to the UK or car repairs.

South Dakota

The Community Outreach (Sioux Falls)

The Community Outreach provides some transportation assistance. Their website indicates that they may be able to provide 30-day bus passes and assistance with vehicle repairs.

Texas

St. Vincent de Paul (Plano)

The Catholic Community of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton may be able to help you obtain a low-interest loan from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Mini-Loan Program. These loans must be paid back in 12 months and range from $500-$2,500 for emergency expenses like auto repair.

Virginia

Britepaths (Fairfax County)

Britepaths offers a Reliable Rides program that helps fund major car repairs for clients in need. You must receive a referral from the Fairfax County’s Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) in order to receive help.

Homestretch Incorporated (Fairfax County)

Homestretch offers assistance with car repairs, gas cards, medications, prescriptions, pharmaceutical items and more.

Washington

The Carpenter’s Garage (Vancouver)

Portland, Oregon, residents can find a non-profit auto repair shop across the Columbia in Vancouver. The Carpenter’s Garage has given back over $1 million to Portland and Vancouver residents in scholarships and discounted labor services.

OSLC Car Shop (Tacoma)

The OSLC Car Shop provides 10-12 free car repairs per month. Volunteers tackle easy tasks like oil changes and minor repairs, while certified mechanics take on tougher jobs.

West Virginia

EnAct Community Action (Certain Counties Only)

EnAct Community Action offers car repair assistance through their Wheel to Work program. They offer WV rental assistance as well as food, emergency home repairs, tuition, books, employment supplies, emergency transportation like bus passes and more.

Wisconsin

Operation Help (St. Croix County)

Operation Help provides emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities and car repairs. You must be a resident of St. Croix County and have some form of income. You can receive assistance once in a 12-month period and only three times in total. Details are available on their website.

St. Vincent de Paul (Wausau)

The St. Vincent de Paul Cabrini Conference assists with food, transportation, clothing, household goods and more. They specifically mention auto repair on their website.

Are you eligible for free car repair for low income families?

That’s a great and complicated question. As you can see by our list, we’ve found many different organizations that assist with car repairs. All of them set their own eligibility criteria. You will need to contact each organization for more details about who is eligible, how the application process and how soon you can get help.

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Have too much month at the end of your money? Me too - and that's how Low Income Relief got started. I have over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Over the years, I've worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. My work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow.com, Livestrong.com, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), The Chronicle (Centralia, WA) and others. At Low Income Relief, I use my professional research and reporting experience to help low income families save money and make ends meet. It's been my full-time job since 2016, and it's truly an honor to serve you.

Murry Green

Thursday 6th of January 2022

Is there help in Tennessee? Because i didn't see Tennessee.

Jennifer Hackney

Monday 3rd of January 2022

Tennessee is not listed; however, I am actually needing to just have a part put on, but I am also on disability and my condition is worsening to where I am going to need a crossover or a SUV in order to be able to get in and out of the vehicle more comfortably and I am on a very little to no budget for the income through disability and I have no credit check so no chance of a loan. I'm desperately needing a car for the many Dr appointments I have each week. Could you please send me info or tell me who can help me please?

Donna Shank

Monday 27th of December 2021

Colorado is not on your list

James A Simpson Jr

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

Do you by chance have a listing more specific to Clark County, Ohio with regard to car repairs? I am 59 on Soc Sec Disability/Retirement needing repair assistance with my one and only automobile.

Annette Gil

Tuesday 21st of December 2021

Im a 60 year old female on disability. Serpentine belt broke. Live out where their are no stores, public transportation ect. I need help in Paint Rock, Alabama