The 65-year-old, known for his roles in films such as A Room with a View and Leaving Las Vegas, was reported missing on January 13 after he went hiking in the Baldy Bowl area of the San Gabriel Mountains, about 80km north-east of Los Angeles.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said the snow-covered vehicle was found at a car park where Sands is believed to have left it before he began his hike last week. His family had the silver Volvo towed away.
The department said crews are using helicopters and drones to search for the actor. The ground search has been suspended for now because of dangerous winter conditions.
“We will schedule another ground search when the weather improves, and it is safe for our ground crews,” a department representative told PA.
They added that there was “no hard deadline” for abandoning the search.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office said it had responded to 14 rescue missions on and around Mount Baldy in the last four weeks.
The department last week advised travellers to heed the warning signs at Mount Baldy.