A hassle-free guide to retrieving your impounded vehicle

January 29, 2015

Depending on why your vehicle was impounded, there are different procedures to follow before retrieving it. Avoid unnecessary headaches with this simple guide.

A hassle-free guide to retrieving your impounded vehicle

Vehicle towed from a private property

It’s possible your vehicle was towed because you were not authorized to park it in a private parking lot. If this is the case, call the tow company whose number appears on the “no parking” sign (ex., at a shopping center). Your vehicle can be moved just a few blocks away, but it can also be towed to their impound lot. When you call them, they’ll tell you where your car is. You’ll have to pay a fee before your vehicle is released.

Vehicle towed by a municipality

If your vehicle interferes with roadway maintenance, such as snow removal, it will likely be moved just a couple of blocks away. However, if you’ve abandoned your vehicle or left it for an extended period of time (either on a street or on city owned property), there's a good chance it’s been taken to the impound lot.

You’ll need to contact the municipality and confirm that your vehicle was actually towed. They’ll inform you of the duration of the impoundment. Depending on where you live, you may be required to obtain authorization from the city before retrieving your vehicle from the impound lot. In most cases, you can go directly to the impound lot with your licence and registration, where you will be asked to pay towing and storage fees before they release your vehicle.

If your vehicle is not roadworthy, you’ll have to tow it from the lot to its destination, at your expense.

Vehicle seizure

There are numerous reasons why a vehicle is seized. Depending on the offense, the duration of impoundment will vary. Generally speaking, a car can be impounded for a week, a month or up to three months.

To retrieve your vehicle, you must:

  1. Wait until the end of the impoundment period;
  2. Go to the police station to seek authorization and permission to retrieve it;
  3. Go to the impound lot (indicated by the police) with your license, registration, and authorization in hand. You will have to pay the fees for towing and storage. Keep in mind that it can cost you several hundred dollars to retrieve you car in the event that it has been seized.

What happens if you don’t pick up your vehicle?

Usually, there is a maximum time limit in which a vehicle can be impounded. If you don’t retrieve your vehicle within this period, depending on the value of the vehicle, it will be auctioned off or sold to the impound lot in an effort to recover the towing and storage fees you owe.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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