Metro Motor

What to Do If Your Car Gets Towed

Blue car being loaded onto tow truck by attendant

Nothing makes your heart drop like getting back to where you parked your car and realizing it’s not there. Your car may have been towed for a number of reasons, especially if you parked where you’re not supposed to in a city like Washington, DC, where we have most of our locations. If this is currently you, don’t worry: here’s what you need to do. 

Find & Recover a Towed Vehicle with These Steps

  1. Locate your vehicle. This can be done by calling your local non-emergency police number, calling the number listed on the nearby towing sign if you accidentally parked in a tow zone, or by using that locale’s locator website, like this one for Washington, DC. An additional step we suggest is to check near-by streets. The majority of cars towed in DC are actually just relocated to appropriate parking spaces. If, however, you’ve looked around and cannot find your car, use the resources listed above to locate which impound lot where your car has been towed. These services often require your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or license plate number. 
  2. Learn why your car was towed. If you can, while on the phone, try to learn why exactly your car was moved. This can help you make sure you have the appropriate paperwork and fees covered. 
  3. Document the place where you were parked prior to towing. Recheck the spot you parked for any signs and take photographs of the spot and the area as proof of where you parked before it was towed. Have your parking receipts if you paid for the parking
  4. Pick up your car. Once you have the name and address of the lot where your car has been towed to, we encourage you to pick it up ASAP. This is because, in addition to paying the towing fee, you’ll also oftentimes have to pay a storage fee per day if your car remains in the lot. Before going, you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate documentation. One document you’ll need in most every case is proof of insurance. The documentation also often includes your vehicle identification number (VIN), driver’s license, and money (in cash) to pay the storage fee. However, if the reason your vehicle was towed is due to too many overdue parking tickets, you’ll also need to provide the receipts stating that you’ve paid them in full. This is just one example, so it’s important to learn the reason for the towing and what documents you'll specifically need when you’re first locating your car.
  5. Take pick-up photos. Before driving your car off the impound lot, document the state of the car, including interior and exterior photos, and any damage caused by the tow truck. These photos will be vitally important in getting any potential damages covered by the towing company. 

Whether you need roadside assistance or you accidentally parked in the wrong place, we understand having your car towed is not a fun experience. 


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