Have you ever wondered what happens to those cars you see abandoned on the side of a road? Well, if they are there long enough, typically a week, the city police will take action by towing them away. How does one get his/her vehicle back? Through the vehicle impound process. There are a few steps to regaining a vehicle after it has been impounded…
Finding out where the vehicle was taken
Confirming the exact location
Determining and paying the fees placed on the vehicle
Providing the necessary documentation to prove ownership
What happens when a car gets towed away by the police?
If the police take notice, or if they are informed of an abandoned vehicle, they will have a tow truck tow it to an impound lot. In some cases, a car will be taken to the impound lot at the police station. In other cases, it will be taken to a certain facility for holding.
Impounds often occur when someone is arrested after being pulled over. It may be because of a DUI, a drug charge or an arrest warrant, but something must be done with the vehicle once the occupant leaves in a police car. It’s also common for a vehicle to be impounded if left sitting in a parking lot for an extended period. A car can’t just sit there forever; it needs to go somewhere away from the public, so it doesn’t get in anybody’s way.
In any impound instance, if the owner wants the car back, he/she will have to contact the local police to obtain its exact whereabouts. The police should provide a phone number and address for the impound lot if the car is not located at the station.
It’s wise to make the call to the impound lot afterwards to verify the car is still there. Also, to confirm the steps to getting the vehicle back into the owner’s possession. You wouldn’t want to go to the wrong lot, and you certainly wouldn’t want to waste your time going to the lot just to find out you didn’t bring the necessary paperwork. (We’ll discuss the necessary paperwork here in a second.)
What will the owner have to pay to get it back?
The process doesn’t conclude with the owner showing up and being handed the keys. No, there’s more to it than that. The vehicle can be returned if the following three aspects are checked off:
The vehicle is not needed as evidence.
Documentation is provided. Specifically, a driver’s license, proof of insurance, and the vehicle registration.
All applicable fees are paid in full. Fees typically include the initial towing charge, as well as any storage fees.
Each day a vehicle sits at an impound lot, it incurs an additional storage fee. Storage fees are exactly how they sound: the lot is charging the owner for each day it is storing his/her vehicle. Because impound lots primarily store abandoned vehicles, their charges are generally quite pricey (compared to an ordinary tow yard).
Other charges may be included, but just know the longer a vehicle sits there, the costlier it will be to get back. If you act quickly, the out of pocket expense will be manageable. If you wait 20-30 days, expect to pay well over $1,000 to regain possession of your vehicle.
The reasoning for documentation should be obvious. Proof of ownership is needed to ensure the vehicle is being returned to the correct person. It takes nothing more than the ID found on your person, and the registration and proof of insurance found in your glove box.
The problem is you won’t have access to your glove box because, well, it’s part of your vehicle that is currently in an impound lot. So, just obtain copies from your insurance company and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
What happens if the car is never picked up from the facility?
Just as the car can’t sit in a parking lot or on the side of the road forever, it can’t sit at an impound lot forever either. Eventually, the lot will have to open space for other vehicles in order for the cycle to continue.
The amount of time an impound lot holds a vehicle depends on the circumstances; however, it’s typically not any longer than 90 days. The police typically won’t hold a car for more than one month.
What happens to vehicles that overstay their welcome? They get auctioned off. It’s that simple really. The impound lot understandably assumes the car is not wanted, so they get rid of it via auction. The charges disappear; however, the owner loses out on any value the car has.
MR Towing Services
For any towing assistance that you find yourself needing, call MR Towing Services. We’ll help you get out of any bad situation regarding your vehicle. We may not hold impounded vehicles, but we can certainly lend you some friendly advice if your vehicle has been impounded. The details mentioned in this article should help, but certain details might differ based on a specific situation.
As far as taking action, MR Towing Services can tow any vehicle, whether it be a car, SUV, truck, RV, tractor, motorcycle, etc. We have the necessary equipment and the experienced staff to guarantee a successful tow of any type. We can also help with car lockouts and jumpstarts.
Please visit our website—mrtowingservices.com—to learn more about our many services. In addition, visit our blog to gain more knowledge about all things related to towing.