Abandoned Cars In The UAE: Top Things To Know

On the glitzy streets of the UAE, where luxury cars are a common sight, you might be surprised to find abandoned vehicles in some parts of the country. The phenomenon of abandoned cars in the UAE is not as uncommon as you might think. Thousands of cars are abandoned in the UAE each year, leaving a trail of questions and intrigue. Here are the top things to know about abandoned cars.

What Are Abandoned Cars?


An abandoned car is any vehicle that has been left unattended for a significant period, often without registration or license plates. They can be found in various locations, including parking lots, public streets, and even residential areas.

How Do Cars Get Labelled As Abandoned?

There are several reasons why a car might be abandoned in the UAE. Some common factors include:

  • Financial Difficulties: The owner may no longer be able to afford the car’s maintenance or insurance.
  • Expatriate Departures: Expats leaving the country might sometimes find it easier to abandon their cars than to go through the process of selling or shipping them.
  • Unpaid Fines & Penalties: Cars with accumulated fines and penalties exceeding a certain amount can be impounded and eventually classified as abandoned.
  • Mechanical Problems: Cars with major mechanical issues that are too expensive to repair may be abandoned by their owners.

Vehicle owners of such cars receive a notification and are provided with a 15-day grace period to reclaim their car. Should the vehicle be seized, the owner is granted a six-month window to retrieve it after fulfilling all necessary documentation. If no one comes forward to reclaim the car within the stipulated six-month period, the vehicle is auctioned in Dubai at reduced prices.

How Abandoned Cars Are Sold?

Cars that are abandoned are typically sold through public auctions organized by the municipality. These auctions are often invite-only and require potential buyers to register in advance. To participate, you may need to provide proof of funds and meet other eligibility requirements.

Security Deposit For Abandoned Cars


It’s important to note that when purchasing an abandoned car at auction, you will be required to pay a security deposit. This deposit is typically a percentage of the winning bid amount, usually 20%, and is held by the municipality until the car is registered and all outstanding fees are paid. Once you complete these requirements, the security deposit will be refunded to you.

How To Buy Abandoned Cars?

If you’re interested in buying an abandoned car, here are some steps you can follow:

  • Register For Auctions: Contact your local municipality to enquire about upcoming auctions and registration procedures.
  • Research The Market: Familiarize yourself with the types of cars typically available at abandoned car auctions and their estimated market value. Here is a guide on car segments to fast-track this step of the process.
  • Prepare Your Finances: Ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the auction price, registration fees, and any potential repairs.
  • Inspect The Car: Before bidding, take the opportunity to inspect the car thoroughly and assess its condition.
  • Bid Strategically: Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Remember, you’ll also need to factor in repair costs and registration fees.

Things To Remember While Buying Abandoned Cars

  • Buying an abandoned car can be a risky proposition. Always do your due diligence and research the vehicle’s history and condition before placing a bid.
  • These cars may have outstanding fines and penalties associated with them. Ensure you clarify these with the authorities before making a purchase.
  • Be prepared to invest time and money in repairs and restoration. Such cars often require significant work to become roadworthy again.

While the abandoned car phenomenon in the UAE might seem strange, it also presents a unique opportunity for car enthusiasts and bargain hunters. By understanding the process and taking necessary precautions, you can potentially purchase a car at a significantly lower price than the market value. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the associated risks and be prepared to invest time and resources into getting the car back on the road.

You can find used cars for sale in the UAE and new cars for sale in the UAE.

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