How Many Junk Cars Can You Have On Your Property

What Exactly is a Junk Car?

Look, we’ve all gotten attached to a car at some point. The first set of wheels that gave us freedom, our beloved old beater that got us through college, the flashy sports car we always dreamed of owning. But there comes a time when we have to admit a car is just taking up space rather than getting us where we want to go.

So what exactly makes a car a ‘junk’ car? By definition, a junk car is one that’s considered inoperable or damaged beyond reasonable repair. We’ve all seen these sad yard dwellers – windows missing, rust eating up the body, grass growing tall underneath.

As far as the government is concerned, any vehicle that hasn’t been registered or moved in some time is considered abandoned property. And vehicles over 20 years old with extensive wear or accident damage often fall into that category. Other signs include long periods of neglect, major mechanical issues like blown transmissions or seized engines, or instances where repair costs exceed the vehicle’s value.

Staying on the Right Side of Property Laws

So you have a car or two (or let’s be honest, probably more) cluttering up your property that fit this description. Are you breaking any rules by keeping junk cars around? That depends on where you live and local ordinances. Many places cap the number of inoperable vehicles you can have parked or stored at one home.

For example, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas only allow one junk or abandoned car on any residential property. Cities like Chicago and New York City bump that number up slightly to two per home. Exceed those limits without proper permits or zoning exceptions, and you can be fined $1,000 or more depending on the severity of the violation.

Plus, you need to keep junk cars properly stored out of sight in a garage or other enclosed structure. Leaving them plopped in the middle of your front lawn or driveway is usually prohibited (not to mention an eyesore for the neighbors). Some towns even tag vehicles left uncovered for more than a week as public nuisances. And trust me – you don’t want the fun of having the city haul them off and hand you the bill.

The Many Downsides of DIY Junkyards

Okay okay, no one plans for their property to start resembling a scrapyard. So why might junk cars start piling up? For many automotive enthusiasts or hobby mechanics, an old car or two (or five) seems worthwhile to keep around for parts cars or potential restoration projects.

Hey, that ’68 Charger is gonna be cherry when I get that 318 running again! Right? We’ve all told ourselves that sort of thing even when we know that baby’s not getting back on the road. And it’s hard to part ways once you’ve gotten attached to a vehicle, even when it’s more rust than steel at this point.

But maintaining your own boneyard has some serious downsides beyond ticking off the homeowners association. Abandoned cars leak hazardous fluids that can leach into soil and the water supply. Rust spots and torn interiors also raise safety concerns with glass shards and jagged metal.

Large properties overrun with vehicles present fire hazards and accessibility issues for emergency crews. And good luck selling your home once you’ve given it that coveted auto graveyard aesthetic. Even buyers who dig the vibe will dock you big time for the removal and cleanup fees.

When Hoarding Hits Overdrive

By now it should be clear that maintaining your own junkyard is skirting disaster even when you comply by the letter of the law. But regulations only go so far for folks venturing into serious hoarding territory.

At a certain point, a dozen abandoned cars stops being a costly nuisance and starts posing serious health and environmental threats. Dense concentrations of vehicles hamper key structural inspections while blocking weather protection and fire control efforts.

And hazardous automotive fluids don’t neatly confine themselves to property lines as they leach deep into soil and crucial watersheds. We’re talking chemicals that the EPA classifies as known cancer-causing agents. Not exactly something you want saturating the ground your family walks on every day!

Taking Responsible Steps

Hopefully you now have a good grasp on how many junk cars you can have before running seriously afoul of regulations and angry neighbors. But beyond basic compliance, it’s wise to take proactive steps to remove vehicles before problems spiral out of control.

Rather than leave cars indefinitely awaiting that restoration day that never comes, connect with professional junk buyers happy to tow away vehicles at reasonable prices or even pay competitive salvage rates. Take advantage of free removal offers to clear space quickly and minimize out-of-pocket costs.

Proper disposal through dealers specializing in end-of-life vehicles also ensures toxic components get recycled safely rather than left to threaten health and habitat. Plus you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you won’t wake up staring at a stack of fines for excessive abandoned car storage!

Parting Ways for the Greater Good

At the end of the day, holding onto junk cars almost always creates more hassle than it’s realistically worth. As sentimental as we might get about our old rust buckets, keeping extensive collections on personal property toes the line on legality and ethics.

Make the responsible choice by limiting cars parked on your land even when regulations technically allow more. And connect with professional services ready to properly remove and recycle vehicles when their time comes. Your community, the planet and your sanity will thank you!