How to File for an Abandoned Vehicle Title in Arizona

by Lauren Treadwell

Arizona laws dictates that any vehicle left in a public place for more than 10 days is considered abandoned. Public places can range from parking lots to the side of the road. If Department of Transportation officials cannot locate the owner of the vehicle within 30 days, the car is subject to having the title transferred to whoever reports and takes possession of the vehicle. Filing for the title to an abandoned vehicle is a simple process, but you must go through the proper channels.

Report the Car

Contact the authorities to make an abandoned vehicle report. This is either the non-emergency number of your local police department or one of the third-party companies that the Arizona DOT contracts with to handle vehicle services.

The officer or representative who responds will inspect the vehicle and make a report that includes a description of the vehicle, its license plate and vehicle identification numbers, as well as where and when the vehicle was discovered and its current location. You must also provide evidence that the car has been abandoned for at least 10 days. Evidence includes date-stamped pictures or statements from others who can attest to how long the vehicle has been abandoned.

Wait 30 Days

The DOT will conduct a search for the vehicle’s owner by cross-referencing the car's information with a database of registered car owners and attempt to contact the owner via mail. If no owner information can be found, or if the mailed notice is returned, the department will place a description of the car in the local paper where the vehicle was found. The owner has 30 days from the date of the notice to claim the vehicle.

File For the Title

Once 30 days has passed, you can apply for the title to the vehicle. You must request a copy of the vehicle title transfer application form from your local DOT motor vehicle services office. Arizona law requires that the document contain the following statement:

1. As of the date of application, no person has presented proof of ownership or proof of interest in the vehicle and entered into an agreement for the release or return of the vehicle.

2. The applicant is currently in possession of the vehicle.

Once you turn in the paperwork and pay all necessary titling fees, a DOT representative will process it, assign you as the new owner, and present you with a new title.


In addition to titling and registration fees, you are also responsible for all towing, storage and vehicle search fees.

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