Driver's Guide

11 Simple Ways to Get a Towed Car Back Without Paying a Dime

Having your car towed is never good news; thus, this article reveals how to get a towed car back without paying. Typically, the vehicle owner is at the mercy of the tow company. And if you do not recover the car early, the tow yard takes ownership of it.

Charity programs enable you to get a towed car back without paying. This is dependent on your state and the local charities you have around. There are lots of charity programs that help people recover their cars from towing storage including popular churches like the Salvation Army. 

The ideal practice to get a towed car is to pay the fees, possibly the following day, to keep the fee low. Of course, the tow yard is a business yard, and they’d be hoping you allow your vehicle in their possession for a long period while racking daily storage charges.

Fortunately, if you have no money, there are tons of options to recover your car from the lot without paying. You’d have to be composed and hopeful, though.

Can you negotiate towing fees?

You can’t negotiate towing fees directly, except the tow yard provides negotiable plans. In most states, moreover, tow charges are highly regulated to protect you from predating companies. You also have the option to negotiate the fine in court. Meanwhile, you may be interested in the steps to get the judge to reduce a ticket.

Since you have no money, it’s unlikely that you would reach a term with the tow yard. And when you can’t afford to get your car from the tow, you legally owe the company. Typically, the storage charges accumulate, and your total fee increases, resulting in a higher charge.

How to Get a Towed Car Back Without Paying

To get a towed car back without paying, then you have to follow the steps and explore the options we’ve highlighted here.

  1. Determine the Cause

Your first step is to find out why your car is being towed. Below are some of the reasons your car may be towed:

Note that if your towed vehicle is connected to criminal activity, you can’t recover it, except after proving otherwise. Besides, no profit or non-profit organization would want to be involved.

  1. Review Your Violation

Next, review your violation. Did you park in an illegal or legal spot? If you look around and find no sign indicating whether not to park, you may be able to fight the towing company without paying.

If your car is towed in an apartment complex, contact the apartment managers with your complaint. Request the reason(s) why your car is towed and where it is towed.

Read also: know how repos find the car

Suppose you park a car with a “For Sale” sign at a store or restaurant. Some stores may tow your car. However, when you prove that you merely parked to shop with them, it will be released. The reason for the tow is that they believe you’re trespassing on their property to advertise your commodity.

  1. Review Your State’s Towing Law

Depending on your state laws, a towing company may default towing your car. You must make sure that the tow yard is not predating, but being sincere.

Some states regulate vehicle towing, and are recognized by auto insurance, to keep tow yards from abusive and unlawful practices. A tow yard may default, and you can fight them to avoid paying to recover your vehicle. If the towing operator is found guilty, they may be slammed a hefty fine.

  1. Inform the Police

If you are unsure where your vehicle is towed, you may report the situation to the police. Typically, the police can’t force a tow yard to return your car, when you are guilty of an offense.

At best, the police can only mediate between you and the tow yard to ensure calm. Some police officers may appeal to the tow yard to reconsider their action, but it almost never yields positive outcomes. Meanwhile, it’d interest you to know that the tow yard works with the police, as towing is a business.

  1. Find Out About the Towing Plans

If the conversation does not yield a positive outcome, request options from the tow yard. Some tow yards provide payment plans that lessen the financial pressure or cuts the cost of recovering your towed vehicle.

Also, depending on the tow company, you may be given various options to compensate for your car without paying money.

  1. Contact the Church

You can always get a towed car back without paying by going through a local church charity program. Depending on your state, the local church may run a charity program that helps people recover cars from towing storage. Meanwhile, some churches, including Salvation Army, offer opportunities for people to get free cars.

Since the church may not have enough to cover the two charges, you can offer work and get paid by the church.

  1. Beg or Borrow Money

No money? Well, they’d be no problem with your friends, family, and well-wishers available. You may request free money or borrow up to the tow fee.

In your money request letter, explain that your vehicle was towed and that you need assistance to get it out of storage since the bill is fast piling up to thousands.

  1. Obtain a Payday Loan

If you are OK with a low credit score, you may request a payday loan, instead of leaving the vehicle to accumulate storage charges. The tow company prefers when your vehicle remains in their storage, so they make more money. Besides, your vehicle can become theirs for law auction if you default the payment after some time.

Note that you must be able to repay the payday loan with your next paycheck.

  1. Get Title Loan

You can get a title loan or pawn your car title to pay off the tow charge. Locate the nearest pawnshop, and explain your ordeal. Most lenders may want to inspect the vehicle, though.

  1. Non-Profit Organisation Assistance

If your vehicle aids your commute to and from work, you may get assistance from a non-profit organization to restore your means of transportation.

Unfortunately, this assistance option is not available in most locations. Nonetheless, you can obtain a low-cost loan or grant from any charity organization to remove your towed car from the impound lot.

  1. Request Free Legal Assistance

Free legal assistance is another way to get a towed car back without paying if the tow company is being unfair and predatory. If the legal action may end in your favor, you may not have to pay to recover the vehicle. However, your free legal representative must be able to prove that you do not deserve having your vehicle towed.

Note that you would not get free legal assistance if it is discovered that your car was towed in relation to crime. Free legal assistance is designed for people that have financial difficulties recovering their cars from a tow yard.

How to get a towed car back without paying California

Currently, the laws to get a towed car back without paying California are quite difficult as the same rules apply to many states.

There are no special rules to get a towed car back without paying California, so I suggest you follow the same process as I have outlined above. You give it your best shot, and whatever happens, happens.

Why is towing so expensive?

Towing is expensive because the vehicle storage fee of 20-30 dollars accumulates daily, plus the fine. After some time, typically 30 days, depending on the state laws and tow company’s policy, the tow yard may confiscate and sell your car to auction lawfully to recoup their money. If after selling the car to auction, it does not cover the bill, you become indebted to the company and liable for the balance.

Can you steal your car back from a towing company?

Yes, you can steal your car back from a towing company. Unfortunately, it is illegal and the tow company may track and report you to the police. By stealing your car from a storage lot, you’re trespassing and breaching another person’s property because the vehicle belongs to the tow yard until you complete the payment.

In one instance, a vehicle owner trailed a cashier to the office in the early hours. When the tow yard gate was open, he walked inside and drove out before the storage workers could realize. When the police managed to track him with his info a month after, he denied the incident and, instead, paid for existing tickets. You can follow this step, but you may be caught and slammed with a jail term.

What happens if you don’t recover your towed car?

What happens if you steal your car back from a towing company

If you do not recover your towed car, the tow yard continues to increase the storage charge daily. After the grace window, the tow company gets the mechanic lien and auctions your vehicle. If the sales value does not cover your debt, you are liable for the balance.

Final Thoughts on How to Get a Towed Car Back Without Paying

If your car was towed from an illegal parking spot, you defaulted and would be charged before you can recover your car. Besides, impound lots are designed to store your cars until the company can auction them.

Your vehicle accumulates more fees daily, and a typical tow yard does not discount the charges. You are charged $20-$30 x the number of storage days plus the towing fine.

To avoid having your vehicle towed, be proactive, especially if you are an individual with limited or insufficient savings, income, and funds. Now we’ve highlighted some ways to get a towed car back without paying, you can explore which options are best for you and execute them.


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Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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  1. Arrested at walmart on Thanksgiving eve at 10pm. Was released 4 hrs later and tow company refused releases my car cause of charges and being from another state and refused my medication from car. We stranded in cold weather and walked 1mile in half that is 1hr 20 min walk in cold.ofgicer took us to jail but made us walk and called ambulance from being cold. My question is do I have a predatory case against tow company for using my charge against me and ky law says tow company can’t charge me on a holiday..please help

  2. I’m a Veteran who’s car broke down in Clarksville Tennessee while moving to Wilmington NC I was able to get the car to a ford dealership in Clarksville Tennessee. I could not afford the repairs so there it sits. Would you have any information on getting my car from Tennessee to Wilmington NC.

  3. I’ve been try to get my car back and no one is at the yard and they don’t answer the phone and I’ve been try now for 4 days whats do I do

  4. My son got my car impounded I had to pay 280 registration fees get insurance for 100 and pay release fees of 350 then I had to pay 2300 to the tow yard to get my car out I had a moving permit to get my smog to complete my registration to get my tags the day I was going to get the smog I got pulled over for expired registration I tried to explain to the officer that I had a moving permit and that I was on my way to get my smog check he refused to listen to me and had my car towed wat do I do

  5. Parked in a proper spot in a parking lot shared by two businesses. I was there for less than an hour and got towed by the next door business. Im getting the vehicle back tomorrow but at the expense of the tow. I wasnt parked illegally but the spot apparently blocks an exit door that I believe the restaurant must use to unload/load with. If this is the case and they are willing to tow that quickly, this spot needs to be marked as no parking or I need to be refunded. There is no sign saying do not park in this spot or in front of this door, it is marked with white lines and a concrete bar like a typical spot.

    I didnt assign the spot and they should recognize it as an actual spot, it was the only one available that day.
    Its gonna cost me nearly $300 to get back a vehicle parked in a proper spot. Is there any recourse to recover this money once ive paid it?

      1. California. The only thing they have on me is that this spot meets up with the back door of a restaurant (poor placement of a parking spot). It was the only spot available, so I sued it. The excuse given was that after hours loading was going to take place around the time I was parked. So yes, I actually got towed from a business that was already closed for the day. If that is an actual loading area, then that parking spot should not exist OR there needs to be a sign indicating something OR they need to move the spot further away from the door. I think all im gonna be able to do is notify the city. So far I contacted the Salvation Army, they dont do reimbursements here.

        1. You’re very right about that. Here’s what you need to know to back you up. Did you take photos of the spot without a sign as your ground? Normally, the notice needs to be in plain view on a sign and about 17 x 22 inches in size (in California). Another thing you need to know is that parking on a private property can be “legally” towed without warning, and this is a closed restaurant for the day, a private property that could also be considered public since the have a parking spot. If there was no sign right there, you have your leverage. So sorry I don’t reside in CA and hope you beat these predators.

          1. That restaurant actually has 3 exits, the backdoor is not used by the public. So I surely didnt trap any worker who “may” have been lurking in the back kitchen that long after closing. This place was lights off during the entire time I was there, i never did see a light or a person inside there (the walls are glass on front and side, easy to see into).

            If they still needed a door to take out the trash or something, the side door is the same size as the backdoor, and the dumpster is equidistant from either door. There was no delivery going on when I exited the building either, which was only 9 minutes after the tow time listed. This was an act of spite, in my determination, as no urgent business need required that tow.

            I could use some specific advice as to which contacts in the city go directly to the source of fixing this problem. I dont want to get caught up for days making 50, phone calls and leaving messages to places taht cant help. My ordeal already unfolded a couple weeks ago, and I dont feel I should be responsible for the city or company in helping this business. The calls im making to the city should be the ones they could have done years ago to avoid this mess.

            Resolutions needed are at least two-fold. 1) Any parking spots ignored as being too close to the business need to be moved, or a time indicated when not to block this door if the parking spot remains 2) I need to be refunded by some entity for not having any way of knowing not to park there.

            A possible additional problem is they towed someone displaying an active handicap placard. I should have some protections to park for an hours time in an actual parking spot. If you have advisory on wrongful treatment of the handicapped, that would be helpful.

            Im not asking for specific phone numbers, just specific people I should contact to resolve these issues so im not fishing around between appts trying to figure this out.

            I have only just started to make some calls, but its not laid out anywhere who exactly I should call for any of these matters. I have some time to do this, but I still need to adhered to appts like the one I got towed from.

  6. Ii wqs passing thur tucanmari ,new mexico and picked up A wiman on the highway. I need to get water and she advised me to take a frontage road that lead to nowhere and i got stuck in the mudd.the woman left to get help and never returned. I stood there for 4 days with bo water or food and try To digmy car out. Finally i was able to reach 911 and ask for help and to bring water and food . After waiting 1 hour for them to come they didnt have water or food and i was then taken to the hospital and my car was towed. When i was released i had the hardest time trying to get any help and once i was able to find where my car was i was told 1500 and they were not will to work with me. They offered a ride and said it would be a few before coming and i went across the street and found out that they came 10 min s after i left and they refused to go across the street .i found a way to the tow yard and was told i was rude and wasted there time and would have to wait until i could prove the car was mine and wait for the owner . Which i was able to grab Some of my personal stuff. But still was not given a bill What do i do.

  7. I’m in California. My car was parked in front of my home but had a flat tire. My mother passed away, and I was gone for a few weeks. I came back to learn that they towed the car on October 14th and are storing it. They want over $1400 to get it back. We have a city ordinance that you can park on city property for longer than 72 hours without moving the vehicle. Apparently, that’s even the case if you’re parked in front of your home.

  8. My fiances car was towed this morning from a apartment complex of a friend. he was told to park in the visitor parking. The manager said she gave warnings for 3 days prior that cars would be towed but he never seen anything. It’s like they told him to park there intentionally so he would get towed. He is a homeless veteran on social security who can not pay these fees to get car back when he just bought it a little over a month ago. What can we do??!

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