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How to Buy an Abandoned Car

by Lindsay Haskell

You can buy an abandoned car by obtaining a title to discard the car legally. Doing so will probably require repair in a car shop. To obtain the title, you must obey the protocol of your state, as every Department of State has a different procedure for abandoned cars. Legal factors comprise of the cause of abandonment, pinpointing the car's owner, and determining its location of abandonment.


Get the abandon car's vehicle identification number (VIN). You should be able to find it either on the dashboard, inside the door panel, in the glove box, or on top of the engine.


Along with the VIN, write a description of the abandoned car and the time and date at which you first discovered it.


Check out your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) guidelines for abandoned cars. Follow the DMV's protocol for running a check for the car's original owner.


Follow your DMV's instructions for how to legally purchase and title the car. Speak with local law enforcement officials if you have any concerns before buying the car and title. You want to make sure your transaction is legal.


Check out the car's history at Make sure the car's record is clean and has never been reported as stolen.


Pay the title and registration fees.

Items you will need

About the Author

Lindsay Haskell began writing fiction and nonfiction in 2008. Her debut novel, "Grace," is to be published in January 2011. Having lived in five different countries and traveled across five continents, Haskell specializes in Third World social and political issues, with a concentration in the Darfur conflict. She is currently a first-year student at Wellesley College studying history, Africana studies and English.

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  • fuoristrada abbandonato image by Sergio Di Giovanni from