How to Locate an Impounded Car

Updated February 21, 2017

Most drivers would rank having a car impounded among their worst nightmares. Your car can be impounded for a variety of reasons, including breaking down on the side of the road and blocking traffic, being parked in the wrong locations, being involved in an accident, non-payment of fines or if the driver is arrested. Getting a car out of impound can be expensive and time consuming. However, before you can even begin trying to get the car out of impound, you're first going to have to find out where the car has been taken.

Determine who had your car impounded. If it was parked on private property at a club, bar or business with no parking signs, there may be a phone number on a posted sign or you can ask the business employees where impounded cars are taken.

If the local police had your car impounded, you will need to determine which department had it done. Areas often have several different police forces with shared jurisdiction, so you will need to make note of all of them, including the town police department, county sheriff's department and state police organisation.

Call or contact the business or police department that you believe is responsible for having your car impounded. Provide information about the car to the person you speak with so you can confirm whether your vehicle was towed by them.

If nobody seems to know where your car is or who impounded it, start calling local towing companies and inquiring as to whether they towed your car. Cars have to get to the impound lot somehow, so you will eventually find the company that towed your car this way, but it can be time consuming.

Identify the impound lot where your car was taken. Call the impound lot and verify your vehicle is there and what you will need to do to get it back. Some impound lots require proof of ownership and only take certain forms of payment.

Wait for notification to arrive in the mail. If you have no idea what has become of your vehicle, you can always wait for notification of its impound to reach your home. Most states require that the owners of impounded vehicles be notified by mail about the situation. The notice will have all the pertinent information about your vehicle's location with it.


Vehicle impound lots charge by the day, so you want to locate your vehicle and get it out of impound as soon as possible.


Impound lots can sell your vehicle if you do not claim it. If the address on your car's registration is not your current address, you will not receive impound information about your vehicle and it can be sold at auction if you fail to respond.

Things You'll Need

  • Car information including the VIN, tag number, colour, make, model and model year.
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About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.