Home Auto Repair How to Claim Ownership of an Abandoned Vehicle

How to Claim Ownership of an Abandoned Vehicle


A vehicle abandoned on public or private property will eventually be removed and then sold. The exact rules on how to deal with abandoned vehicles vary state to state, and sometimes between cities and counties. You probably won’t be able to just claim the vehicle even if it’s abandoned on your property.

Abandonment Defined

Depending on state and local law, a vehicle may qualify as abandoned if the owner leaves it—

• On the shoulder of a public highway.
• On public property such as a city parking lot.
• With a dealer, repair shop or wrecking service and doesn’t pick it up within a certain amount of time.
• On private property without the property owner’s consent.
• Towed and impounded by the towing company for five days.