Abandoned Vehicles

junk automobiles

Abandoned automobiles and tires not only take away from the natural beauty of Hawai‘i but also may contain toxic substances such as fuels, metals, oils, and coolants that can end up on the ground. When it rains, these substances are then flushed into our waterways. Mercury is particularly dangerous, even in very small quantities, because when it’s released to the atmosphere and returns to earth as rainfall it endangers aquatic life and public health.  Automotive tires can also become breeding grounds for mosquitoes which transmit various diseases.  The State of Hawai‘i and the County of Hawai‘i both passed legislation mandating by law the proper disposal and management of waste tires. For information on proper disposal of automotive tires see our tire recovery page.

For lead-acid (automotive or solar power) battery recycling see our hazardous waste page in the business/agency/resident section for options.  Some recyclers will accept them for free or pay you scrap value for the battery or give you store credit.

Vehicle Disposal Assistance Program:

In effort to reduce the number of derelict and abandoned vehicles left on public roadways, the County of Hawaiʻi, Department of Environmental Management, Derelict/Abandoned Vehicle Section will be launching an updated Vehicle Disposal Assistance Program which allows the Section to tow from private property.

The Vehicle Disposal Assistance Program provides Hawai‘i County residents with the opportunity to legally and properly dispose of up to two permanently junked or derelict vehicles each fiscal year. This service is provided free of charge to residents and is subject to fund availability. Upon approval, the vehicle will be towed and disposed of. Please review these requirements carefully. While the goal of this Program is to assist residents with safe and efficient services, failure to comply with these requirements will result in an automatic denial of your application.

Applications for this program will be accepted starting Monday, August 7, 2023. Towing services will begin once contracts are in place. Registered vehicle owners and property owners are encouraged to submit their applications early as this program will only be available while funding is available. Applications can be submitted via the U.S. Postal Service or delivered in person to 345 Kekūanāoʻa Street, Suite 41, Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720 or emailed to .

If you have any questions, please contact the Derelict/Abandoned Vehicle Section at (808) 961‐8552 or .

Please click the link below to download the application:

Vehicle Disposal Assistance Program Application- Rev. 06-06-2023


Abandoned Vehicle Removal Procedures:

1.To report an abandoned vehicle, call Police Dispatch at 808-935-3311. The Derelict/Abandoned Vehicle (DAV) Section cannot coordinate the removal of any vehicle until a police report is received.

2. A Police Officer locates the vehicle and attaches a notice advising the owner to remove the vehicle within 24-hours.

  • If the vehicle is moved on to private property or beyond a radius of one mile from its original location, within 24-hours, no further action is taken.
  • If the vehicle has not moved on to private property or beyond a radius of one mile from its original location within 24-hours of a notice being affixed, the vehicle will be classified as abandoned and is subject to removal.

3. Once the police report is approved by the supervising officer, the report is sent to the DAV Section. The DAV Section reviews the police report to ensure       eligibility for towing under HRS 290-1 and HCC 20-07-01. To check the status of an abandoned vehicle that has already been reported, please call the Hawaii Police Department, Traffic Services Section at 808-961-2202 or 808-961-2227.

4. Once the police report is received, and the vehicle is inspected by the DAV Section, a request for tow will be made to have the vehicle removed within 72-hours.

5. If the vehicle is not at the location indicated on the police report when the DAV Section or towing service contractor arrives, the case is closed, and no further action is taken.

Derelict/Abandoned Vehicle Procedures – Rev. 06-01-2023


Park Smart- Don’t Get Tagged and Towed:

Do NOT store your vehicle parked along the road. If your vehicle is not going to be used for a long period of time, move it fully onto your property. Vehicles parked along the roadside for extended periods of time are subject to being determined as “Abandoned.” (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS), Ch. 290; Hawai‘i County Code, Ch. 20-07-01.  If the vehicle tagged by police, it may be towed within 24 – 72 hours and the vehicle owner will be required to pay all charges. Removing the Abandoned Vehicle notice will not prevent your vehicle from being towed. Only moving the vehicle off the road, onto your property, will prevent it from being towed away.