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Environmental Health - Junk Vehicle Program

Current Issues


Hearing for Proposed Motor Vehicle Wrecking Facility - February 12, 2014


About the Program

Montana was one of the leading states in enacting junk vehicle legislation. Its primary purpose is to control junk vehicles and prevent them from being scattered throughout the countryside, thereby helping to help preserve the beauty of our state.

This program also provides for the recycling of the junk vehicles collected so that this valuable resource may be utilized again.

This program is paid for from the small fee you are assessed when you license your vehicle. The benefits of this program are available to all Montanans; please use it.

If you have a junk vehicle you want to have hauled away for free, complete a Release of Ownership Form and return it to the Health Department.

Montana Code Annotated 75-10-501


Contact Information

Junk Vehicle Program Coordinator: Scott Barton
Phone: (406) 258-4755
Fax: (406) 258-4781
Address: 301 West Alder Street, Missoula MT 59802

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Montana Junk Vehicle Law?

A: In 1973 the Montana Motor Vehicle Recycling and Disposal Act was enacted for the establishment, control, operation, and licensing of public and private motor vehicle wrecking facilities. This law requires commercial and county motor vehicle storage and wrecking yards to obtain an annual license, keep pertinent records and shield their junk vehicles from public view. This law also enforces removal of junk vehicles at locations other than motor vehicle wrecking facilities.

Q: What is a "Junk Vehicle"?

A: A junk vehicle is defined as any "discarded, ruined, wrecked, or dismantled motor vehicle, including component parts, which is not lawfully and validly licensed and remains inoperative or incapable of being driven." A vehicle must meet all three parts of the definition to be classified as a junk vehicle.

Q: What is a "Public View"?

A: Public view is defined as "any point 6 feet above the surface of the center of a public road from which a junk vehicle can be seen. " A public road is any publicly owned or maintained highway, street, road or alley.

Q: Do I have to shield my vehicles if I'm not in the commercial motor vehicle wrecking business?

A: Yes, all vehicles which meet the three part definition of a junk vehicle must be shielded from public view.

Q: If I only have one junk vehicle do I need to shield it?

A: Yes, all junk vehicles regardless of number must be shielded from public view.

Q: How can I shield my junk vehicles from public view?

A: You can move the vehicle to a location that will shield it, such as into a garage or behind a solid fence, hill or building. You may also construct shielding using permanent fencing materials. Certain construction specifications are required for proper shielding. If you intend to shield your vehicles, contact the Missoula City County Junk Vehicle Program Coordinator (listed above) for more information prior to construction. Placing tarps over the vehicles is not acceptable shielding.

Q: Can I do anything else other than removing or shielding the vehicle?

A: Yes, you may repair the vehicle to make it operable and capable of being driven down a road, or license the vehicle with annual registration or vintage plates which are available for cars more than 30 years old and used solely as collectors items.  If a junk vehicle is permanently registered but meets the criteria of a junk vehicle, then the vehicle will be considered a junk vehicle according to MCA 75-10-501 Section 4(b)

Q: What if I no longer want to keep the vehicle?

A: If the vehicle has value from its parts, contact a licensed private motor vehicle wrecking facility. Most commercial wrecking facilities will buy vehicles that have marketable parts. If the vehicle's value is low, they may haul it away free in exchange for its parts. Some vehicles have little or no parts value and the private wrecking facility may not be interested in buying or hauling it. If this is the case, contact the Missoula City County Junk Vehicle Program Coordinator (listed above) to arrange hauling and disposal of your junk vehicle at no charge to you.

Q: Do I need to shield items such as engines, transmissions, and fenders?

A: Yes, any component part of a vehicle must also be shielded.

Q: Do I need to obtain a motor vehicle wrecking facility license for my own junk vehicles?

A: If you have four or more junk vehicles at a single location or if you buy, sell or deal in secondhand motor vehicle parts, you are required to obtain a wrecking facility license.

Q: If I have four or more junk vehicles and decide I want to start dealing in used parts, who do I contact for licensing information

A: Information on the requirements for obtaining a Montana Motor Vehicle Wrecking Facility License can be obtained from the Missoula City County Junk Vehicle Program Coordinator (listed above); or the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Junk Vehicle Program.

Q: How can I comply with the law if a junk vehicle has been abandoned on my property?

A: Montana has specific laws regarding the disposition of abandoned vehicles. Contact the Abandoned Vehicle Specialist at the Missoula Police Department and request their help in contacting the owner or in obtaining authorization to have the vehicle removed.

Q: What are the penalties if I don't comply with the junk vehicle law?

A: The junk vehicle statutes provide for criminal penalties of up to $250 and/or 30 days in jail. Civil fines of up to $50 for each day of violation may also be imposed.

Q: Who can I contact for more information or to arrange to have a junk vehicle removed from my property?

A: See contact information at the top of the page


Junk Vehicle Release Form


Visit the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Junk Vehicle Program

Program News

Jason White, Missoula's Junk Vehicle Coordinator, is hard at work removing unsightly junk vehicles and car parts throughout Missoula County.

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