Avoid abandoned vehicle fees after selling your car

Avoid abandoned vehicle fees after selling your car

January 30, 2014

Abandoned vehicle fees are listed on the ADOT website

By Doug Pacey
ADOT Office of Public Information

Selling a car can be exhilarating. Often times, it means a new car is in your future. But before you make your way to a dealership for a new ride, file a sold notice with the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division. There are plenty of good reasons for this, not the least of which is to avoid an Abandoned Vehicle fee.

Never heard of it? Well, it’s not a common occurrence, but it has happened enough to unsuspecting owners that we wanted to provide a reminder and general information to Arizona vehicle owners.

A property owner or law enforcement may have a car towed that has been abandoned or unclaimed – this can occur in parking lots, on the side of the road or an apartment complex, for example – for an extended period of time or as a result of a vehicle accident. Once MVD receives the request from the tow company to file the vehicle as abandoned, MVD sends notice to the owner, lien holder and any other interested party providing information that they have 30 days to reclaim the vehicle. If the vehicle is not claimed ownership of the vehicle may be transferred free and clear to the towing company.

The owner of record of an abandoned vehicle may be charged an abandoned vehicle fee when they attempt to submit a driver’s license application or attempt to register another vehicle. The fee is $500 if the vehicle is abandoned on private property, public land or within the right-of-way of any street or highway. It is $600 if left at a national forest, state park land, Bureau of Land Management land or state trust land.

It is possible to waive the Abandoned Vehicle Fee. The owner must submit proof to MVD that the vehicle was sold or transferred prior to the date of abandonment. MVD may consider the following examples as proof:

  • Copy of the sold notice sent to the MVD prior to the abandonment
  • Copy of the bill of sale dated prior to the abandonment
  • Copy of the notarized Certificate of Title, reflecting the transfer of ownership
  • Copy of the sales contract from a dealership, reflecting the vehicle was used as a trade-in

A sold notice can easily be completed online at

Related Tags