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What To Do When The City Tows Your Car?

Car towing is a common occurrence in many cities, especially when there are parking violations or abandoned cars on the streets. You may come outside to find an empty parking spot where your car was parked earlier, only to realize that the city has towed your car. This can be frustrating and stressful, but there are things you can do to get your car back and avoid future towing incidents.

Stay Calm and Check for Signs

The first thing to do when you realize your car has been towed is to stay calm. It’s normal to feel angry, but getting too upset can make the situation worse. Take a deep breath and try to think clearly. Look around for any signs or markings that indicate where your car has been towed to, and take note of the time and date of the towing.

Contact the Towing Company

If you cannot find any signs or markings, call the local towing company to inquire about your car’s whereabouts. The towing company will be able to tell you if your car has been towed and where it’s being held. They will also inform you of any fees you need to pay to get your car back.

Pay the Towing Fees

When you find out where your car is, you need to pay the towing fees to get it out of impound. The fees can vary depending on the time of day, distance towed, and the storage duration. Make sure you have enough cash or a credit card to pay for the fees as the towing company may not accept personal checks.

Retrieve Your Car

After paying the towing fees, you will be provided with a release form that you need to present at the impound lot. The release form should have a list of requirements you need to fulfill before you can retrieve your car. Make sure you bring all the necessary documents, such as your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, to avoid any delays.

Check for Damages

Before driving your car away, inspect it for any damages. If you notice any new scratches or dents, take a picture and inform the towing company immediately. They may be liable for damages that occurred during the towing process.

Avoid Future Towing Incidents

To avoid future towing incidents, make sure you park legally and follow all the parking regulations in your city. Always look for signs that indicate parking restrictions, such as no parking zones, fire hydrant zones, and reserved spaces. Avoid parking in private lots without permission, as they may tow your car without warning.

Contest the Towing

If you believe your car was towed unfairly or mistakenly, you can contest the towing by filing a complaint with the local authorities. Gather any evidence, such as pictures of the parking spot, signs, and towing notice, to support your case. You may also need to attend a hearing to present your case and argue your point.

Seek Legal Help

If you are unable to resolve the towing issue on your own, seek legal help. A lawyer or legal aid service can advise you on your rights and options and help you navigate the legal process. They can also represent you in court if necessary.


Getting your car towed can be a frustrating experience, but you can handle it calmly and efficiently by following the steps outlined in this article. Remember to stay calm, check for signs, contact the towing company, pay the fees, retrieve your car, check for damages, and avoid future towing incidents. If you need to, contest the towing or seek legal help. By being prepared and informed, you can prevent future towing incidents and avoid unnecessary stress.


Can I negotiate the towing fees with the towing company?
No, the towing fees are fixed and non-negotiable. You must pay the full amount to retrieve your car.

How long can my car stay in impound?
The impound duration can vary depending on the city and the reason for the towing. Generally, cars can be held in impound for up to 30 days before they are auctioned or disposed of.

What happens if I don’t pay the towing fees?
If you don’t pay the towing fees, your car may be sold at an auction to cover the cost of the towing and storage fees.

Can I get a refund if my car was towed unfairly?
Yes, you may be able to get a refund if you can prove that the towing was done unfairly or mistakenly. Contact the towing company or local authorities to inquire about the refund process.

Can I prevent my car from being towed?
Yes, you can prevent your car from being towed by parking legally and following all the parking regulations in your city. Always look for signs that indicate parking restrictions, and avoid parking in private lots without permission.

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