How Long Before a Car is Considered Abandoned

Having too many abandoned vehicle in your driveway may not be a good idea depending on the laws that govern your area of residence, however, the question is, how long before a car is considered abandoned?

Generally, a car is considered abandoned if it is parked on a private property for more than 24 hours or on a public property for more than 48 hours. The timing is basically what determines if a car is abandoned or temporarily left to be returned to. 

What Is An Abandoned Car?

An abandoned car by default is any car found on either a private or public property for a specified time (Mostly between 3 – 30days) without notice.

There are various ways a car can be abandoned, ranging from an inheritance, abandonment due to not giving notice before leaving it, public abandonment, etc.

A car can be abandoned based on different logical reasons which the most appropriate illustration is “It being a stolen car or that the owner is in an emergency state that requires leaving the car”.

Abandoned cars can either be towed away, claimed by the government, or can result in a series of investigations provided the owner is tagged missing.

A vehicle isn’t just declared abandoned without proof of a long-lasting specified time by the government. It has various ways of describing it ranging from:

  • When it is legally right to declare it abandoned
  • How to restore it when considered abandoned
  • How to claim it even when it isn’t yours, and
  • Many more rules and guidelines depending on which state you are in.

It is possible to claim an abandoned car provided you adhere to the step-in-step out of the state you live in and sometimes a private individual isn’t allowed to claim an abandoned car both on private or public property.

How Long Before A Car Is Considered Abandoned?

A car left alone on private property for 24hours calls for attention. It can be extended on a public property provided it doesn’t cause traffic and that it doesn’t stop other cars from moving swiftly, but if it exceeds 48hrs, it can be declared abandoned until a clearer picture is drawn.

This is because it isn’t normal to leave your car without coming back to it as a human. Cars are termed as one treasure every human wants to own, more reasons when there is money, another way to express comfort is to buy a car.

However, it is important to note that different laws governs different states. In some municipals, it may be 24 hours, while in others, it may 48 hours and more.

However, you should be worried if a car is parked in your private property for 24hours without you knowing the owner or without your consent.

How Do You Tell If A Car Is Abandoned?

You can tell an abandoned car when:

1. The Car Isn’t Drivable

A drivable car is a car with every part that sponsors a movement perfectly fine, be it the engine, tires, or every other car part.

If you find out that a car is having a flat tire or it has the engine clogged out or it has the tire removed, it is right to assume that it is abandoned.

2. The Car is Roughly Positioned

A car that is roughly parked will be towed away, be it on private or public property. A decent driver should know the best way to park a car and the worse way to do so.

If a car is found obstructing the swiftness of other cars on the highway, it is regarded to be abandoned and can be rolled away.

3. A 24hours Without a Word to the Property Owner

A car found on private property or parked in front of your house between 24 hours to 72 hours can be regarded to be abandoned.

It is required the consent of the owner of the property is attained before having a car parked there. To have the car rolled away, the property owner gets to sign a private property form.

4. The Car has No License Plate

Every car is expected to have a license plate, a mode of identification. If a vehicle is found without this, it is legal to term it abandoned.

These are various instances that can tell if a car is abandoned or not. It is clear and visible to everyone, so if you see any of these factors or signs within your place of abode, it means the car has been abandoned.

Moreover, the definition of an abandoned car can quite be different depending on what state you live in. Even with each state owning to their speculations of what an abandoned vehicle looks like, the following points can still be regarded in all states.

Can You Claim An Abandoned Car?

Yes, you can claim an abandoned car if you adhere to the governmental instructions.

Vehicles may not be claimed just because it was left on your private property. It must require you to call it to be removed, and then you can bid for it if it is placed on a public auction.

Can I Take Ownership Of An Abandoned Car On My Property?

Yes, you can take ownership of an abandoned car on your property but first, you have to call the attention of the government, with a clear knowledge of your state’s definition of “abandonment” and knowing the rules that are acclaimed to the repurposing of an abandoned vehicle on your property.

Before making a move to claim the shining-looking car abandoned on your property, ensure it is legal in your state to avoid legal issues dragging you all about.

If it is found legal and you have tried every means to reach out to the owner, to no avail, you can proceed to make required preparations to transfer the ownership to yourself.

It may cost you a little cash, but it is very possible to own that vessel that you desire with your name tag.

Can I Remove An Abandoned Vehicle?

Yes, you can remove an abandoned vehicle from your property. If the property is yours; you can choose to leave it too. Legally, it is unlawful to have a car parked on someone else’s property without the owner’s consent.

You can choose to be free and friendly by contacting and trying your possible best to reach out to the owner so he or she can move the car, but if your trials don’t bring you satisfaction, you can always obliterate it.

Can I Sell A Car Abandoned On My Property?

After many trials to reach out to the owner and all to no useful results, you can gain the documents and sell them for a chosen price.

To have it sold requires you to own it first, meaning the title of the car carries your name before you can be legally allowed to sell it off.


A private property owner may lose his patience after 24hours of seeing a strange car in his property without his consent and the public body is also allowed to get hard on a car parked wrongly or abandoned for more than 48hrs with no one to attend to it. That is how long before a car is considered abandoned.

Moreover, you can own an abandoned car, you can have it removed, you can have it sold provided that it is legal in your state and you have the required documents to carry out these actions.