If you’re like many drivers, you’ve probably wondered, “How long can a towing company keep your car?” We hear this question a lot.
The short answer is it depends on where you live. In some states, the towing company had as little as 24 hours; in others, you may have to wait up to 10 days before they can release your vehicle.
And, while most people assume that the longer the towing company keeps their vehicle, the more tow yard storage fees they’ll pay, this isn’t always true.
Want to know the best way to avoid any surprises or extra charges? Make sure that when you call a tow truck company, you ask how much it will cost before they arrive at your location.
Types of Tows
How long can a towing company keep your car? It also depends on the type of tow you require. Generally, you will see these types of tows:
This tow transports vehicles involved in an accident or breakdown. The towing company may tow the car to a repair shop, storage facility, or the owner’s home or business.
Private Property Impound
Another common tow involves vehicles parked on private property without permission. Anyone who owns or controls the property can request this tow, including apartment complexes, shopping centers, and hotels.
In most states, the police can order a vehicle tow if it’s parked where it shouldn’t be, including private property. It could also mean that your vehicle blocked traffic or created an obstruction on the road. Police-ordered tows don’t require a formal court process to go ahead.
When a person or business loans you a vehicle, and they want to repossess it because you’ve violated the loan terms, they’ll hire a tow truck company. When this happens, it’s called a repossession tow.
The law considers a vehicle abandoned if the driver leaves it for more than 72 hours without notification to the police department and/or without any attempt by the owner/driver to secure it within that period. Towing companies remove abandoned vehicles and impound them until the owner claims them.
Roadside Assistance Tows
Towing companies also offer roadside assistance or car breakdown tows by providing services such as winching and jump-starting. This typically occurs when cars break down on highways or roadways.
How Long Does Tow Truck Take to Reach Me?
So, how long does a tow truck take to reach your destination? It can take a little time for the tow truck to get to you, depending on where you are and where the tow truck is.
And when do tow trucks come out to you? In almost every case, tow trucks operate 24/7. If you live in an urban area, a tow truck might take about 15 minutes to arrive. If you’re in a rural area, it might take longer—sometimes up to two hours.
How Long Do Tow Trucks Take To Tow a Car to the Storage Yard?
As with everything on the road, a lot of variables go into how long it takes for a tow truck to pick up your car—and how long it takes for them to get it to the storage yard.
If your car was involved in an accident or otherwise damaged, you’ll want to ensure that the tow truck driver knows about any issues with your vehicle so they can address them as soon as possible.
Next, you’ll want to look at what kind of accident management system your insurance company uses. If they don’t have one in place, there may be a time delay before your insurance company’s agent arrives on the scene and tries to make arrangements for a tow truck to pick up your car.
Also Read: Who Towed My Vehicle
Tow Truck Yards Storage Fees
Tow truck storage fees for your vehicle vary depending on the size of the car, how long the storage will be, and what kind of security measures protect it while it remains in storage.
So, how much can a towing company legally charge for storing my vehicle? Storage fees towing companies charge will vary.
If you just need to store a car or light truck for a few weeks, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $25 daily. If you store a larger vehicle like a bus, expect to pay about $50 daily. And, if you need to store your vehicle for longer than a few weeks or protect your valuables, bear in mind that additional storage costs may apply.
Can a Tow Company Sell My Car?
One of the most critical questions when asking, “How long can a towing company keep your car?” is if they can sell it at some point. Towing companies can sell your car if impounded or if you simply abandon it and walk away.
In most cases, these companies will first go to the local courthouse and file a title application with the county clerk’s office. The county clerk will then issue a title to the tow company that includes all liens against the vehicle, such as any unpaid parking tickets or storage fees.
The towing company is now at liberty to sell your car at auction or to an individual buyer.
Should Towing Companies Give Me Notice Before Selling My Car?
It is important to note that towing companies in California must, by law, contact you before they sell your car.
The California Vehicle Code requires tow truck drivers to notify you within 24 hours of towing your car that they intend to sell it, giving you a chance to reclaim it. In addition, if the towing company towed the vehicle from a private parking lot or residence, the driver must:
- Give you a form titled “Notice of Intent to Sell” with their name and license number on it;
- Provide you with an opportunity to inspect the vehicle at least 24 hours after giving you this notice; and
- Respond to any inquiries about the status of the car within 24 hours.
How Long Before a Tow Company Can Sell Your Car?
In California, tow companies can sell your car 30 days after they file a lien if the vehicle is less than $3500 in value or 45 days if higher. The company gets to keep all the proceeds from selling your car. In other words, you will not get anything for your vehicle.
If you don’t pay your ticket within 30 days, you must go to court and hope to get a reduction or even dismissal of charges entirely (which is rare). You’ll have additional fines and costs if you don’t show up at court or lose at trial.
Do You Need a Tow? Contact G&O Towing Today!
When you need a tow, it’s essential to know who you can trust.
At G&O Towing, we’re a full-service towing and 24/7 road assistance company that’s helped people in Placerville, CA, get back on the road for over 20 years! Our towing services include Flatbed Towing, Light-Duty Towing, and Heavy-Duty Towing.
We understand that getting a tow isn’t something that happens every day. So, if you’re unsure about the question, “How long can a towing company keep your car?” we aim to ensure your experience is as smooth as possible.
Let us help you get on with your day! Call our 24/7 emergency number at (530) 622-9211 to enquire about our towing services. We have experience working with vehicles, and we’ll be there when you need us—whether for a flat tire or an entire engine replacement.