What Is Considered an Abandoned Vehicle?

You’re driving down the highway and see an empty car parked on the shoulder, or you’re running errands and pass a car left in a parking lot with expired tags.

These situations aren’t uncommon. One state can receive thousands of calls about abandoned cars, just in one month alone.

But how do you identify an abandoned vehicle? And what do you do when you find one?

While the exact process varies by state, there are some things to look for that will help you decide whether to report it as abandoned. Keep reading for a quick overview.

What Is An Abandoned Vehicle?

An abandoned vehicle is one that has been neglected by its owner and left somewhere without permission.

There are a few ways to figure out if a vehicle has been abandoned so you can take the proper course of action.

Oftentimes an abandoned truck or car will be broken down or obviously inoperable (it might have missing tires or broken windows, for example). Another key indicator is if its registration or inspection tags expired, or if the vehicle doesn’t have license plates.

Depending on which state you’re in, the length of time that the car is left unattended matters as to whether it’s deemed abandoned or not. This time frame could range from a few hours to 30 days, and whether it’s on public or private property, or even a roadway, affects the rules too.

Do a quick search to find out how long it takes for a vehicle to be considered abandoned in your area before contacting someone about it.

What Can You Do About It?

Some states prefer that you contact the police to report an abandoned vehicle, while other states ask that you call a towing company. You can also contact a company that offers junk car removal, though the rules about this will differ by state too.

Check your state laws to find out who to contact and how to best get in touch with them about moving the abandoned vehicle (this could be by phone, email, or their website).

If you do think you’ve spotted an abandoned car, don’t approach or interact with it. It may be stolen or dangerous, so it’s best to leave it alone and contact the appropriate people.

Be sure to have all the information about the vehicle that the local authorities or towing company will need. This includes its location, color, make, model, license plate information, and your own detailed description of the condition it’s in. Taking a picture of the vehicle is helpful too.

Once you’ve reported the abandoned vehicle, it may take some time for authorities to remove it. Unless the car is dangerous or in a spot that requires immediate removal, it could take days to months for it to be handled.

Take Care Of Abandoned Vehicles Easily

Dealing with an abandoned vehicle doesn’t have to be tricky if you know what to do.

The next time you see a car parked illegally for a long period or find a vehicle left on someone’s property (including your own!), use your best judgment in deciding that it’s abandoned and call the right people to help.

Check out our website for more auto-related content, as well as articles on everything from home improvement to health today!

Hemant Kumar
Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.