How long do I have to move my broken down car off the road?

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2 min read

Roadside breakdown? Lame-sauce. And sometimes, a quick fix won't do the trick.

But how long can you get away with leaving your broken down car sitting around before you have to tow it? Well, it depends on the state—each has different rules for when (and how) a car will be towed—and as the fine folks at Car and Driver say, you gotta tow your rights.

If you break down on private property, it could get towed pretty quick. If it’s on the side of a state road or highway, you usually get 24 hours before it gets classified as abandoned. In other locations (depending on the state) it could be around 30 days before an unattended vehicle gets the label.

We’re guessing you want to avoid extra trouble and fines, so here’s what to do if you get stuck on the side of the road and are in need of junk car removal.

call the police

Let the cops know, especially if you’re broken down in a hazardous (or illegal) location.

get a record to refer to if your car is vandalized

Calling the police also means you’ll get a record of your breakdown—if your car gets vandalized while it’s stuck, it will make any insurance claims easier to manage.

call your insurance company

Speaking of which…let your insurance company know about the breakdown. They may be able to cover the cost of towing, and provide you with an alternative vehicle.

remove all valuables

That includes family members!

make your car visible

Switch on the hazard lights and put out a warning triangle to make sure other drivers can see you. This is especially important on busy roads, or at night.

call your towing company

Yep, you gotta bite the bullet and call in a tow truck. In some states it’s illegal to tow your car any other way.

Once you’ve got your broken down car back to your driveway, or the auto repair shop, you gotta make some decisions about what to do next. Is it worth fixing up? Or is it time to move on with a car that won’t leave you stranded on the way to thanksgiving?

Sell your car to Peddle and we’ll throw you some moolah to get you moving again. And as long as your old car is parked somewhere safe and legal, we’ll send a pickup to come and collect it (even if it’s broken down).