Buyer Tips Used Cars

How Can I Get Good Deals From An Abandoned Car Market?

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 05/25/2022

We know what the word abandoned means – when it comes to cars it could mean a bunch of different things.


Vehicles are termed abandoned for different reasons – some are lost, stolen, unclaimed, seized,  or abandoned because of damages in private or public spaces, etc. In a nutshell, abandoned vehicles are vehicles left unattended over a given period of time. Some abandoned cars are left by the owners intentionally for various reasons – debt, bankruptcy, mechanical issues, or relocation. 


These cars eventually find their way to abandoned car markets or auto auctions. Although you may land great deals searching for abandoned cars, you still need to play your cards right to save. 


What is an Abandoned Car Market?

An abandoned car market is a huge market where abandoned cars are sold either as scrap or as full vehicles. 



You might be wondering how these vehicles end up in the market when they have no owners. Usually, the government takes possession of abandoned vehicles and disposes of them in auto auctions. 


This doesn’t mean any car you see covered in dust is abandoned – some are but not always. Different states have their own definition of what an abandoned vehicle is. 


For instance, in Massachusetts, a car is considered abandoned if it is unattended for 48 hours and can be possessed by the authorities. In the state of Iowa, cars parked for more than 24 hours on public or private property without permission are considered abandoned. 


In Texas, a vehicle can be seized if it has been parked on someone’s private property for more than 48 hours. Big cities like New York, an unclaimed vehicle with registration within 24 hours is seized while unregistered vehicles are towed within 72 hours. 


Buying at an Abandoned Car Market

Abandoned vehicles are claimed by the authorities and then disposed of, either as scrap or in a car auction. These auctions are usually government-controlled and owned. Sometimes they are open to the general public where anyone can attend. Or you need to receive an invite to participate.  



If you’re looking to buy a vehicle at an abandoned car market, there are a couple of things you need to look out for. 


First, it is more likely that the cars will be worth more than scrap. But this doesn’t guarantee you will land a good deal. When purchasing an abandoned vehicle, you need to be careful and take one step at a time. 


If you’ve made up your mind to explore the abandoned car market, here are a few steps to take to get started. 


Steps To Take To Buy An Abandoned Car

Step 1

First, make sure you know the type of title the vehicle has or if it has been registered at all. Take into consideration the state you are in and if it is allowed by law to have abandoned vehicle ownership transferred to you. If you’re not certain, contact your state DMV with details of the vehicle you want to purchase. 


Step 2 

Once the legal process is certain and you’ve made your purchase, have the vehicle transferred to the mechanic for repairs. Before purchase, you must have known the details about the vehicle’s condition and level of damage. Some abandoned vehicles require more repairs than others while some are far too gone to be repaired. 


Also, some abandoned vehicles have various health and safety issues – so be sure to take all that into consideration. To know the history of damage, run a vehicle history report to track the damage. With a vehicle history report, you can also get information on insurance history, title, as well as the number of previous owners. 


Step 3

Finally, the repairs are done, it’s time to take the car for a state inspection to update the title. If your car came with a salvage title it’ll need to pass the state inspection to be updated to a rebuilt title. 


Your car will be inspected by an authorized state inspector – once it passes the test, you will go to the DMV or Tag office to have the title changed. Once you’ve sorted out all the paperwork and documents, you will be issued a new title – rebuilt title. 


Ending Note!

Searching for abandoned cars for sale and bidding on them is the same process as salvage car auctions and wholesale auctions with minor differences. Most states however accept abandoned vehicles as salvage – making the buying process similar. 


You are likely to land a great deal and save on an abandoned car. But you must be aware of the risks, the money involved, the legalization process, retitling, and the change of ownership process. Once you’ve got this down you are ready to get started. 


Further Reading

  1. 5 Sites you Need to Check Before Buying a Used Car 
  2. What Should I Check For When Buying a Car
  3. Everything You Need to Know about Buying Used Cars
  4. How to Get the Best Vehicle History Report on Auction Cars for Sale 


How Can I Proceed?

The abandoned car market is not popular in many countries – you could find a few in Dubai. But in other countries like the United States, abandoned cars are usually sold through wholesale auctions, public auctions, or government-owned auctions. 


There are many wholesale auctions to choose from like Auto Auction Mall, Copart, IAAI, etc. These auctions have an inventory of all kinds of vehicles. Like abandoned vehicles, salvage, junk cars, insurance cars, clean title cars, and repossessed vehicles to name a few. You can do your research on the platform that works best for you.