How to Retrieve an Impounded Car

Written by ehow cars editor
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When you find that your car has been towed, you might not know what to do or who to call at first. It's important to stay calm, collect the necessary pieces of information and proceed to find help in a safe environment.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Read the signs that were closest to where your car was parked. Search the entire parking lot or block if necessary. Look for the towing company's name and phone number. If more than one company exists, take down all information that's available to you.

  2. 2

    Proceed to a safe location where you can make calls to find out where your car is. It's best first to find yourself a ride, so begin by calling your friends to see who can pick you up if you're alone.

  3. 3

    Call the towing company that took your car or find out who did by calling the towing companies closest to the place it was towed from. Identify your car by its license plate number, model, make and color. You may also need to specify where it was parked and what time you noticed it missing. Keep a clear head and be patient.

  4. 4

    Ask the towing company which impound lot the car was towed to and go to that location. Bring your checkbook or credit card with you. Or, if you normally keep several hundred dollars with you in cash, plan on paying cash. Also bring a picture ID, proof of insurance and your title or registration. If any of these items are in your glove box, ask permission from the yard to visit your car in order to retrieve them.

  5. 5

    Arrive at the impound and proceed to the payment office. Identify yourself as the owner of your car by presenting your identification and other requested items.

  6. 6

    Pay the fee without arguing. Everyone has a story or excuse for why their car was where it was. The pound doesn't care.

  7. 7

    Inspect your car before leaving the pound. Take pictures of any noticeable damage and tell the management about the damage. Call your insurance company immediately to find out what can be done per your insurance coverage.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want to argue the tow and try to get your money back, return to the place where your car was parked and take pictures for evidence. Getting retribution may require legal measures.
  • Keep a positive attitude and remain patient. Long lines are normal at these facilities and generally, the organization is poor.
  • When you arrive at the pound, don't go snooping around for your car. This could get you in trouble. Just proceed straight to the office and wait for your car to be released.
  • In general, the workers at impound yards aren't friendly. Expect to be treated in a court or rude manner, but don't reciprocate the behavior. They're holding your car and you need it back. Be nice no matter what.

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