How to Get an Abandoned Vehicle Title in North Carolina

By TrevorW - Updated May 31, 2017
Car wheels covered with ivy

A person may walk away from a vehicle if it won't start or isn't worth the money owed on it. If the car wasn't left in a public place, such as the side of a road or a park, property owners can claim these abandoned vehicles to fix, use or sell. To verify ownership in North Carolina, you must first contact local authorities to clear the way for an abandoned vehicle title application with the state's Division of Motor Vehicles.

Call the police using the local department's non-emergency number. Request a check of the vehicle identification number to make sure the vehicle has not been reported as stolen. Schedule a time for an officer to meet you at the location of the abandoned vehicle.

Ask the county recorder and the treasurer whether any creditors or mechanics have attached liens on the vehicle. When you title a vehicle, you assume the responsibility for any debts owed; any payment required may exceed the value of the vehicle and you may choose not to accept ownership.

Complete an Abandonment and Release of Title form and file it with the relevant local authority, such as the county planning office. This form declares you have possession or ownership of the vehicle and thoroughly describes its make, model and location.

Apply for an abandoned vehicle title through the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. The DMV has a specific License and Theft Bureau to assist customers with issues regarding abandoned vehicles, including an anti-theft inspection if the car or truck is less than seven years old.

Warning

The state of North Carolina will not issue a title for any vehicle considered "junk," meaning it cannot be driven and has no value except to scrappers.

About the Author

Trevor Wendzonka is a public relations specialist based in the Midwest. He worked for a 30,000 circulation newspaper for 15 years as a sports and government writer, and spent a number of years editing and designing pages on the copy desk.

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