Can You Park A Car Without Plates In Your Driveway? (Find Out Now!)

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

There is a lot that goes into owning a car. Maintenance and upkeep are the most obvious. That said, there are legal responsibilities as well. When you have an everyday car that you use, it has to be properly tagged, plated, and insured.

For a variety of reasons, you may have a vehicle without plates on your property. Can you park a car without plates in your driveway? It all depends on the municipality. In most, you can park the car in your driveway but not on residential roads or commercial parking lots. Yet in others, you can’t have an unplated or unregistered car outside (meaning it has to be parked in a garage).

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Why You Might Have a Car without License Plates

The first question some may be asking is “why would you have a car that does not have license plates?” Well, there are more than a few reasons for this. For one, some people fancy themselves to be amateur mechanics. They work on this vehicle in their spare time and, since it isn’t being driven, they may not want to incur the costs of plating, registering, and insuring the vehicle.

There is also the possibility that the car may have outstanding repair needs that can’t be met. Repairing a car can be quite expensive and not all of us have the funds available to get work done. A household with multiple vehicles may keep one with no plates on the property simply because they can’t afford to have it repaired.

Finally, there is the chance that it was a gift and they simply have nowhere else to store it. Outside storage options can be costly depending on the needs. Keeping it in a driveway or garage means free storage capabilities.

Is it Legal to Park a Car without Plates in Your Driveway?

The short answer is “it depends.” For now, let’s just focus on when it would be legally allowed. For the most part, most municipalities allow you to keep vehicles with no plates in your driveway. Your driveway is considered private property where you are allowed to do what you please within reason.

It is also completely legal to keep your unplated vehicle in a garage. The garage is also private property and its contents cannot be seen. If you have the choice between keeping it in the driveway and the garage, the latter may be the safest bet.

When is it Illegal to Park a Car without Plates in Your Driveway?

Ultimately, it all comes down to the municipality that you live in. Each municipality makes its own parking rules. While most do not have rules in place preventing you from parking your car in the driveway, some may.

If you are unsure, check with city hall. They will be able to tell you without a shadow of a doubt whether or not you will have issue parking your vehicle. Making the assumption that it is fine could ultimately result in unexpected fines, so save yourself the hassle and money.

Other Parking Restrictions

There are other instances where parking your vehicle with no plates is considered illegal. Even if it is in your residential neighborhood, you would not be able to park an unplated vehicle on the street. This is considered public property and falls under the control of the municipality.

If you park in an area where this is restricted, there are a few possibilities. For one, you will be fined each time that your vehicle is spotted parking illegally. Depending on the municipality, those fines can eventually escalate to the point of towing. Both are quite expensive and result in far more hassle than they are worth.

Options for Parking Your Unplated Vehicle

No matter the reason in which you find yourself with an unplated vehicle, there comes the matter of how to store it. Remember that if you keep the car in a municipality that does not allow it, you run the risk of fines and towing. There are three options that stand out as possibilities for storage.


The easiest solution is to store your unplated vehicle in your garage. Keeping it in the garage means keeping it out of site. Keeping the vehicle out of site means no potential issues with keeping an unplated vehicle on your property.

Further, keeping it in the garage means keeping it safe. If you plan to repair the vehicle or even re-sell it, you want it to be in the best shape possible. Leaving it out in the driveway means exposure to the elements, which could wear the paint and degrade the overall condition of the car.

Perhaps best of all is, if you are working on the vehicle actively, you can do so at any point. Protection from the elements gives you an ideal workspace.

Local Storage

There are also potential local storage options available. Many storage lots not only have individual lockers but spaces available for vehicles. Just keep in mind that not every storage lot has this feature or they may have limited availability.

That’s not even mentioning the cost of storing a vehicle. A local storage facility is probably not a good long-term storage option as the costs can add up pretty quickly. Which leaves one more option.

Ask a Friend or Family Member

If all else fails, you can ask a friend or family member where parking an unplated vehicle is no issue. Like the former solution, it may not be a long-term solution but it can at least buy you some time. Not to mention it can save you from the trouble of tickets or towing.

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Plate Your Vehicle

There is always one final solution: pay for plates. Yes, it is a cost that you may be able to otherwise avoid, but sometimes you are not left with much of a choice. Paying for plates can keep you from running into issues with driveway storage until you can figure out what the next step is.

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Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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