Consumer Title Resource | Since 2009!

What Happens When A Vehicle Is Abandoned?

Abandoned vehicles are vehicles that have been left on private property by their owner with no further intentions to collect or dispose of the vehicle. If you know who owns the car or know how it got on the property, it is not considered to be an abandoned vehicle.

Most people may think of an abandoned vehicle as a junk car or a vehicle that is broken down and decrepit, but sometimes an abandoned vehicle is in great working condition. So, what happens to a vehicle after it’s deemed abandoned?

Towing & storage

In most states, abandoned vehicles must be towed from the property where they are stored once they are deemed abandoned. The property owner should contact local law enforcement to report the vehicle then law enforcement will direct you to call a tow company or they will set it up for you. Remember, most states do not allow for abandoned vehicles to be “finders keepers”.

While the vehicle is towed and stored, depending on the jurisdiction, the owner(s) will be contacted by law enforcement or another authorized party to alert them of the pending auction.

Abandoned vehicle auctions

After the vehicle is towed, stored, and the owners are contacted, the tow company, storage company, or local law enforcement office will be responsible for selling the vehicle at auction to recoup the expenses incurred. These auctions are normally public auctions and the finder of the vehicle can bid on the vehicle.

Should you buy an abandoned vehicle from an auction?

Just by looking at a vehicle, it’s impossible to know its history. However, knowing that it’s an abandoned vehicle will help fill in some of those blanks. Use extreme caution when purchasing an abandoned vehicle at auction. Oftentimes there is a reason why these vehicles are abandoned such as a branded title, severe computer damage, or prior damage events. Be sure to get the full vehicle history before making a purchase. If an abandoned vehicle comes with a parts-only, non-repairable, or certificate of destruction title brand, it will never be able to be titled and is not allowed to operate on any roadway. Before making a big purchase, make sure the vehicle is eligible to go back on the road and that it won’t break the bank to repair it to those standards.

Want a professional to do it for you?

For as little as $159 for most processes, we will save you the headache and prepare all of the car title paperwork needed to get you a new title. Simply choose the title recovery method you’d like to use and we’ll get started!

Select your title recovery method:

Order Vermont Title LoopholeOrder Deceased Owner Title TransferOrder Bonded Title ProcessOrder Abandoned Vehicle ProcessOrder Prior Owner ContactOrder Lien Release Request Letter

Have Title Questions? Talk to a Car Title Expert.

Book a consultation with a Car Title Expert from to get personalized guidance on your title recovery journey.

Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.

Share this article!

Check Your VIN Instantly:

Powered by