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Free Car Repair For Low-Income Families

Written by: Robert Taylor
Last updated: January 30, 2024

You may not always be able to afford to maintain a car if you own one. You sometimes have to pay more than you can afford for auto-repair expenses. As part of efforts to reduce additional burdens for low-income families, free car repair is necessary to manage out-of-pocket expenses.

Having limited means can make it difficult to find help with car repairs when your car breaks down or you need some other type of emergency vehicle maintenance on the road. The availability of free car repair can make a huge difference to those struggling to make ends meet. Low-income families especially suffer from the costs of car repairs, even if they have a stable income. 

Unfortunately, no government programs provide you with free car repair during such times of crisis. Low-income families can find free car repair assistance through many organizations and businesses willing to assist them.

It is estimated that, on average, car repairs cost anything between $300 and $500, according to Several factors determine how much the real number will be, such as the nature of the problem, the type, and model of the car, your geographical location, how long you wait before having maintenance done, and others.

If you live in Las Vegas and have no place to call home, read our blog post on where you can find Section 8 Housing in Las Vegas.

Programs That Offer Free Car Repair For Low-Income Families

Programs That Offer Free Car Repair For Low-Income Families

For many, repairs can be unaffordable because of their high cost. People who need free car repair can take advantage of various programs. Many people cannot afford repairs, so these programs provide free car repairs for low-income families. 

Those who struggle to make ends meet rely on them for a much-needed lifeline. Several grants and programs are available to help you cover car repair costs, according to your situation. Many national organizations and charities offer free car repair services. 

Most organizations listed below offer free car repair services, whereas others offer discounted car services. Here are some options for free car repairs that low-income families can take advantage of.

Job Access And Reverse Commute Program (JARC)

Commuters and low-income individuals receive financial support for traveling to and from work due to the Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program. Organizations such as nonprofits and local governments provide financial assistance. 

Vets, unemployed people, single mothers, and welfare recipients are all eligible for JARC. Several factors will be taken into account when determining eligibility:

  • Public transportation is unreliable in the area where you live. 
  • The work time will be considered if the work distance is not a problem.

Getting approved for a grant may be easier if you work late at night or on weekends when public transportation is scarce. This assistance may be available to you if you live in an area without public transportation and your car is broken when you need to go to work. 

Additionally, your application may be more likely to be considered if your job involves multiple trips. If you are a financially struggling single father, read our blog post on the kinds of financial support available for single fathers.

Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)

With Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF), you could receive monthly funds to help cover basic expenses, rent, and necessities. Low-income families can also get car repair assistance through TANF. To qualify for TANF assistance, you must meet any of the following criteria:

  • It's difficult to pay your bills while you're pregnant.
  • You take care of children under the age of 19.
  • In addition to being under 18 years of age, you are responsible for your household duties.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

In case of a flaw in your vehicle or a recall, you can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As NHTSA will contact the dealer directly about the issue caused by the auto defect, you won't have to pay anything.

The manufacturer will obtain vehicle registration data through a third-party company. It helps them identify car owners who have safety recalls on their vehicles. This car recall will be notified through the US Mail if you're one of the affected owners.

Modest Needs

Individuals and families experiencing temporary financial crises can receive short-term financial support from Modest Needs, a nonprofit organization. On average, you can get a cash grant of $750 to $1,250 to fix your car. The following requirements, however, must be met:

  • To participate, you must be 18 years old or older.
  • To participate, applicants must be US or Canadian residents. 
  • Ensure that your bank account is active.
  • If you want to stay up-to-date on your application, you need regular access to the internet. 
  • To qualify for a grant, you must meet income and employment requirements.

Here are the steps you need to take to apply:

  • Become a member of Modest Needs by registering online on its site.
  • Click "Apply for Help Now" after logging into your account.
  • Once you click the link, their online application will be displayed on the 'Apply for Help' page.

Lutheran Services

Providing financial assistance to low-income households is the mission of Lutheran Services, a nonprofit organization. Faith in Action, often known as Lutheran Ministries, assists with car repairs. 

Every state has its own eligibility criteria, but in most cases, employed people with financial hardship are prioritized.

The application process is as follows:

  • Application forms can be submitted online or at local churches.
  • Describe your need for help with auto repairs.

Salvation Army

As a nationwide organization, the Salvation Army is a charity that has local branches all over the country. In addition to assisting, the Salvation Army also provides funding for car repairs. You can get more information on the local transportation assistance options and free vehicle repair programs from your local chapter of the Salvation Army. 

Some locations can help people who have no money to fix their cars or trucks, although the specifics vary from county to county, and resources are limited. Volunteer drivers can assist with your repairs if necessary, and free bus tokens, gasoline vouchers, or free bus tokens can be provided for parts.

You must meet the following requirements to qualify:

  • Having citizenship in the United States 
  • Demonstrate your financial difficulties

If you would like to apply, please follow these steps:

  • Find out about the car repair program your local Salvation Army office offers.
  • A completed application form and proof of your income and financial hardship must be submitted.

United Methodist Church Ministries

Providing financial aid is the mission of United Methodist Church Ministries, a faith-based organization. In addition to providing transportation assistance for needy families or people who qualify, it also runs car ministries. Eligible applicants are typically those facing financial hardship or undergoing challenging life circumstances. 

In addition to providing proof of income and hardship, applicants may be required to write an explanation of their current situation and why they need assistance. A working person from a low-income family who needs financial assistance if their income cannot cover car repairs, for instance, has a chance at getting approved. Your church will determine how much you receive. 

Depending on the situation, you may only have to pay for labor and replacement parts in some cases if you receive financial support.

The application process is as follows:

  • Identify a United Methodist Church with a car ministry in your area. 
  • Apply for car repair assistance by submitting a letter.
  • Let the church know why you need their help.
  • You will need to provide proof of income and other financial documents to prove that you cannot afford the car repair.

Vincent De Paul

A nonprofit organization called St. Vincent De Paul offers free car repairs in partnership with local parishes and car shops. There will only be a charge for labor, and the replacement parts will be your responsibility. Families in need of financial assistance to obtain a car repair so they can get to work must be eligible. 

Applicants must also form a relationship with a St. Vincent De Paul parish near them by writing a letter or submitting an application. Those who do not qualify may be provided with bus passes or tickets or referred to auto repair shops where their cars can be repaired for a discount or free. 

Alternatively, you may be able to get transportation from a volunteer. Low-income families and individuals often find themselves needing car repairs with no means to afford them. This is where various assistance programs come into action and provide them with much-needed relief. 

For more information on the various government and private programs that can help ease your financial burden, check out the rest of our resources at the Gov-Relations website. For residents of New Jersey looking to purchase their first home, read our blog post on how you can qualify for the first-time homebuyer grant in New Jersey.

If you want to learn how to get lower car payments, visit our guide today to know more.

Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor is a talented writer known for his ability to communicate complex social care and government benefit topics with clarity and empathy. With a background in sociology and a passion for advocating for marginalized populations, Robert has authored numerous articles, reports, and books on these critical subjects. His writing has helped individuals better understand their rights and options within the realm of government assistance, empowering them to navigate the system effectively. Robert's compelling storytelling and dedication to social justice have made him an influential voice in the field of social care and government benefits.
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