Farewell, Suzuki Sidekick

We’ve been meaning to donate our Suzuki Sidekick since we took delivery on the Mini Countryman. Today was the day we finally did it, giving it to the local Ronald McDonald House Charities to auction off (or whatever) in order to benefit small hospitalized children and their families. Here is Krissy with the Sidekick and a coffee mug filled with balloon flowers, which she was given in appreciation for the gift. The donation coincided with a local radio charity drive for the Ronald McDonald charities, so when we handed over the title and keys, I was briefly on the radio to talk about it; shortly thereafter I was being asked on my Twitter feed if that was me on radio. Yup.

It was a bittersweet moment for Krissy, since the Sidekick was the first car she had bought new, and she’s had it since 1997. But we hardly drive it since we have the new car; it served us well and now it’s time for it to serve other people more usefully than it’s serving us. We treated it well so if whomever gets it continues to do so, it’s got some life left in it yet. So good luck to it and to those with whom it will eventually find a new home.

19 thoughts on “Farewell, Suzuki Sidekick

  1. we donated our corrolla to ‘habitat for humanity’ last year. its a pretty good system. didnt take much more than a phone call to do the whole thing.

  2. Nicely done–and kudos on your choice of charity! It’s a great cause. My wife & I have been donating to Ronald McDonald House since our kids were born preemie, and the local house put us up to be close by for the weeks they stayed in the neonatal ICU. We’ve been fortunate, but we saw that wasn’t true for most of the families there, so we support them annually.

  3. By the by, PopsicleMud, a lot of charities will accept even the most craptastic cars. They can part them out or sell them for scrap, so it still benefits the charity, and you can still write off whatever small value it has on your taxes. I donated my 1996 Nissan Altima back in 2008 when it had 180,000 miles on it and its Blue Book value was only about $300. It looked like a golf ball, it had so many dents. The Kidney Foundation was still happy to have it – they offered to have it towed, and seemed surprised when I told them it ran fine.

  4. Ronald McDonald House is a wonderful charity. I was born in Chicago with serious medical issues, and all my medical treatment until we moved to Houston took place at Children’s Memorial Hospital. Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, supported CMH/RMH until his death. My mother’s a very gifted quilter, and since we moved to Houston she’s been donating several quilts a year to the local RMH.

  5. @Sarah Boyle,

    There’s a charity near me (Union Gospel Mission) that has a job-training center, and they use donated vehicles to teach people auto-repair skills (under supervision). So it’s sort of a three-for-one good thing: charity makes a couple bucks off the car, someone learns how to replace a master cylinder, and someone buys a decently repaired car for a pretty good price. Plus the whole tax writeoff thing. And one less car to the scrap yard.

  6. @Sarah Boyle:
    Thanks for the info. I’ll have to be more dilligent in my search for worthy charities next time I have a car that doesn’t end up being called a total loss by my insurance company. (The totals weren’t my fault. I’ve been the victim of uninsured motorists and joyriding car thieves.)

  7. Good for you. I also donate my cars when I’m done with them. Fortunately, the last one was drivbable and they didn’t even need a flatbed to haul it off!

  8. Good on the donation. There are a lot of people and organizations that really need the help now.

    I donated a car to NPR several years ago. The process was very easy but the auction services returned less than half the value I would have gotten for trade-in. If I do something like that again, I’ll go with the trade-in and donate the savings: More money for the charity and greater tax deductions for me.

  9. I thought you had a kid who’ll be driving in a few short years, who might not look askance at the opportunity to use a supernumerary (and safely driveable) car at the Scalzi compound?

  10. Thank you for supporting the Ronald McDonald House John! The RMH in Houston took care of us for six weeks while we were at MD Anderson for our youngest son’s surgery and recovery. We look forward to paying it forward and bringing some meals to the RMH here at home once Alan is done with chemotherapy.

  11. Warren Terra: There is also the aspect of whether you’d want your new-driver teenager behind the wheel of a lightweight mid-1990s design with little or none of the safety features, both active and passive, that are installed as standard equipment in almost all new cars sold today. Even a mid-2000s car will likely have both ABS and front side airbags, neither of which was available – even optionally – in any 1997 Sidekick (as 2 minutes of research just verified).

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