How to Abandon a Car and Title

Abandoned cars sometimes sit in one location for years before being removed.
••• Epave abandonnée au bord d'une route martiniquaise image by JYF from

Getting rid of a car you no longer want or don't know what to do with can be surprisingly challenging. Towing companies usually charge fees for their services and if you find yourself having to move unexpectedly or without the funds to take a non-running or poorly running vehicle with you, you may have to consider abandoning your vehicle as a last resort. Fortunately, abandoning a car is a fairly simple process that can be done in such a way to minimize the difficulty a property owner or landlord will have removing it at a later date.

Locate the title to the car. Find the blank on the title that says "Seller's signature" and sign the title. This will give the person who eventually decides to take the car or dispose of it the right to do so without having to follow through a complex legal process to obtain a new title.

Place the title in the glovebox of the car. If you would like, you can also enclose a note that says you are abandoning the car and it is free to anyone who wishes to take possession of it. Remove any personal possessions from the car, including old mail that has your personal information on it.

Read More: How Do I Get a Duplicate Car Title for Any State?

Leave the car in whatever location you wish to abandon it in. Typically abandoned cars are those that do not run and are left where they died, however, you can drive a car to the side of a county or city road or business parking lot and leave it there. Leave the keys with the car.


  • Depending on where you live, you may be fined for abandoning the car. You may also need to turn in any license plates that are on the car before you abandon it, depending on your state's laws. If there is a lien on your car title, you should call the lien-holder with information about the car's location and your intention to abandon it.


  • Many junkyards, scrapyards and charities will accept non-running cars with clear titles. You may even be able to get a junkyard to pay you for the car, so you probably want to check with these venues before you abandon a vehicle you own.
  • If the car was never put in your name, do not sign the title.

Related Articles