Why Do Cars Get Abandoned?

Why Do Cars Get Abandoned?

In today’s world, abandoned cars have become common sights across the world. They are almost everywhere, such as on the side of the road, on public properties, in your backyard, on privately owned properties, and many more.

Abandoned cars and trucks can cause several different damages to the public. It could be the target for vandals and thieves. Besides, these vehicles can also cause soil or land pollution and other related issues; that could happen when fluids, such as gasoline, transmission fluid, or brake fluids leak and drop on the ground.

That said, one of the most frequently asked questions by concerned people regarding abandoned vehicles is – why do cars get abandoned?

Most people abandon their vehicles for several different reasons. Some of the factors that contribute to the increased rate of abandoned cars across the street are the value of scrap material, the cost of repairs, the cost of safety and emissions compliance, the cost of operating the car, and disposing of the vehicles.

In the rest of this post, I’ll further share with you everything you need to know about abandoned vehicles, such as their common causes and the effect they have on society. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

What Are Abandoned Cars?

Why Do Cars Get Abandoned?

An abandoned car, as defined by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, is any type of motor vehicle that is left unattended on another property, usually without the permission of the owner for longer than 4 days. You need to understand that an abandoned vehicle is different from an unclaimed vehicle. The latter represent any motor vehicle that is held legally by an automotive-related business or organization.

In another definition, an abandoned car is presumed to be any type of motor vehicle that’s left on the highway or public right-of-way for 72 hours or more. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will consider a vehicle abandoned if left on public property or street for 48 hours.

Furthermore, according to the Arizona State University, here are some of the factors that are put into consideration to identify an abandoned vehicle:

  • Working conditions and appearance – the vehicle will be checked for any damages, broken windscreen, missing parts, such as tires, doors, and signs of vandalism.
  • Missing or expired license plate – a motor vehicle is tagged as abandoned if found on the highway without a license plate or with an expired license plate and other car documents.
  • Time for which the car is left on the location – of course, this usually varies depending on the location, where the car is found.
  • Location – is the vehicle located on a privately owned property without permission? Is it on public property or public street?

Why Are Cars Abandoned?

Now, let’s go back to the burning question of this post; why do people abandon their cars? To answer the question, I’ll say that a car can be abandoned for several different reasons.

That said, here are some of the factors that contribute to why people abandoned their vehicles:

1. Natural disaster

Natural disasters are one of the common causes of abandoned vehicles. For instance, hurricanes have caused a lot of damage to cars, rendering them undesirable. In this case, people don’t always have a choice than to abandon their vehicles for a longer period so they can secure their lives. Apart from hurricanes, widespread floods can also damage vehicles, causing the owners to abandon them unlawfully.

2. Low-quality vehicles

Poorly built or low-budget vehicles tend to lose value quickly. Since these vehicles are very inexpensive, people with little budget often opt for them.

Poorly built vehicles have a higher chance of breaking down in the middle of the road. Unfortunately, when they do, they often become pretty difficult to repair or expensive to fix. Here’s another common reason why vehicles get abandoned for a long time on highways or public streets.

3. Fire damages

One of the many factors that contribute to why vehicles are abandoned on highways or other locations unlawfully is fire damages.

As we all know, accidents can happen at any time and place. People can abandon their vehicles on the highway when they encounter an auto accident that leads to a serious fire outbreak, where all the components get burned.

What Harms Can Abandoned Vehicles Cause?

Why Do Cars Get Abandoned?

Abandoned vehicles can cause several different harms to society. First, fluid leaks from abandoned vehicles, when dropped on the ground, may cause pollution to the surroundings. Sadly, this could further cause various health and security risks to the people and animals.

Furthermore, abandoned vehicles can attract vandals or serve as shelters for homeless kids. It could be used for prostitution and drug drops or even provide harbourage for pests, capable of spreading disease.

What Will Happen to Abandoned Vehicles?

In the US, there are no federal rules and regulations regarding how abandoned vehicles are removed. However, each state has its rules and regulations for every abandoned car. Generally, people are expected to report any case of abandoned vehicles on their properties, highway, or public properties, to the police department.

Once notified, the police department will tag the vehicle and give the owner a time frame to remove the vehicle. In the absence of any action by the owner, the police have the right to tow the vehicle and keep it in their custody until the owner comes around to claim it. If the owner fails to come for the vehicle, the police department and other related organizations can go ahead to auction the car.
As earlier mentioned, the rules and regulations for removing abandoned cars vary from state to state. According to the government of Vermont, any vehicle left on the highway, private property, or public property for 48 hours or more is considered abandoned. Furthermore, the state says that the private property owner can call a towing company to remove the abandoned vehicle.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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