What Happens to Your Car If You Just Abandon It?

January 8, 2021

What Happens to Your Car If You Just Abandon It?

Deciding your car isn’t worth fixing is frustrating. No one really wants to deal with a junker.

It might be tempting just to park it somewhere and forget about it. If you own a lot of land, or don’t care about an eyesore, abandoning your vehicle might be the easiest option.

But just leaving your car sitting isn’t wise. If you leave it anywhere besides your land, without permission from the landowner, you’re violating Utah traffic laws.

Also no matter where you leave it, cars are full of pollutants. They never decompose. You’ll be dealing with a rusted hunk of junk decades from now.

While your car sits, it will deteriorate over time. Here’s what happens to your car when it’s parked and abandoned:

Rubber Cracks

The sun is rough on rubber. Without maintenance, the hoses will all dry and crack. Your tires will deteriorate and deflate.

Fluids Leak

Gas. Anti-freeze. Oils.

Those are just some of the fluids your car uses. All of them will eventually drip out of your car, polluting the land around it.

If you have water nearby, these contaminants can seep into the water supply and create many problems for the local ecosystem.


Your vehicle’s paint job provides some protection against rust. But, as soon as it’s chipped, water starts connecting with the metal chassis.

Eventually, the water will oxidize the metal. You’ll notice rust in spots. Over time the rust will take over, deteriorating the strength and stability of the entire vehicle.

Windows Break

An abandoned car makes a tempting target for rocks or bullets. Tree branches can fall and cause a crack. The glass won’t hold up forever.

It won’t take long for your windows to break. The glass falls to the ground below, creating safety problems.

The broken glass also allows animals and plants the access they need to check out the inside of your car.

Wildlife Moves In

Animals and bugs will start to investigate your car. Once they realize it’s not going anywhere, they’ll start moving in. You’ll get bee nests in nooks and crannies, and mice or squirrels under the hood.

If there’s a way into the vehicle’s interior, you better believe that the wildlife will find it. Your car will be infested.

Your seats will be gnawed, you’ll find nests of sticks and leaves, and there will be poop. Everywhere.

Plants Start Growing

All plants need to grow are dirt, sunshine, and water. An abandoned vehicle typically provides all three. Even if your car is clean when you park it, dust and grime will soon accumulate.

The next time a nearby plant drops some seeds, they may end up sprouting in your vehicle. Before you know it, your car will be covered in plant life. The enclosed, glass enclosed environment acts like a greenhouse, expediting growth.

In this picture, you can see weeds have sprouted up through the rusted-out floorboards of this old abandoned car.


After your windows have broken, rain and snow will wind up on your car’s seats. You’ll notice water damage first.

Eventually, you’ll find mold spores. The damp environment is the perfect location for mold to grow.

Don’t Abandon Your Car

If your car dies, don’t just leave it somewhere. You’ll wind up with mold, pests, and more problems than you had originally.

Instead, recycle it.

Your junker has plenty of parts other vehicles can use. Additionally, the steel can be melted down and reused. Your tires can even be shredded and used in place of gravel.

Your old car still has plenty left to give.

If you’re ready to have an old vehicle you want to get rid of, give Tear-A-Part a call. We will recycle it for you. We’ll arrange for a tow truck to haul your vehicle away, and pay you for the car even if it’s not running.