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What’s The Longest A Tow Company Can Keep Your Vehicle?

Several reasons will get your car hauled by a towing company. It might be because you parked in a disabled spot or on private property. If your vehicle is blocking traffic, it can also get towed away. But no matter the reason, there are rules about how long a company can keep your vehicle before they have to release it back into your possession legally. Depending on the circumstances, this post explains how long a towing company can keep your car.

How long will my car stay at the tow yard?

In ordinary circumstances, a towing company can hold your vehicle for a maximum of 28 days before legally having your vehicle released. For commercial motor vehicles, the time limit is ten business days. If you think they’ve held your car longer than is allowed under their Tow Contract, there’s legal action you can take against them, such as filing a complaint with ICBC.
However, after 28 days, you’ll likely need to pay more money in storage fees before your car is released. If the total cost of all the towing and storage fees are not paid within 30 days, the towing company can sell off any part or all of your vehicle at public auction without consent from the vehicle owner.

What if a private tow company tows my car?

Private tow companies are allowed to hold your vehicle for 48 hours before they have to release it. So if they do not charge you fees, they can legally keep your car up to two days after being towed. If the total cost of all your storing fees and impound costs are not paid within 48 hours, they can sell your vehicle at a public auction on their own.

What if the police or other governmental agency towed me?

If the police or other governmental agency tows you, they can legally keep your vehicle for up to 30 days. This is because it’s not them who will be charging storage costs for holding onto your car. Suppose during this period; nobody pays the impound costs and tow charges that were initially paid at the time of being towed. In that case, the governmental agency can sell off any part or all of your vehicle at an auction.

What if ICBC tows my car?

If you get your car towed because either someone reported that you no longer have insurance coverage or they’ve suspended your driver’s license for a violation, then in this case, ICBC will pay any impound fees and storage costs. However, you will have to pay for this within 30 days, failure to which they can sell off part of or the entire vehicle.

What happens if my car was impounded as part of an investigation?

During an investigation, a towing company can legally hold onto your vehicle for up to 30 days. However, you will need to pay for any storage and tow truck costs from when it arrived at the tow yard until either a court date is set or the police determine they don’t have sufficient evidence against you. If, after 30 days, nobody paid these charges, then ICBC can auction your vehicle.

How do I get back my towed vehicle?

To get back your vehicle, you will need to pay the total storage fees and impound costs that are due. If the company sold off any part of your vehicle at a public auction after 30 days, you could only be paid for what was left over from the sale amount. You will also need to present a release fee which is usually around $300.

How do I know who towed my vehicle?

Sometimes, your vehicle can get towed without your knowledge. You will need to contact your tow truck company or the police agency that authorized it in such a case. If you can’t find any help on the phone, it’s best to go down there in person and ask them. Check for any local tow yards around or impound offices to find out if it’s there.

What to do if your vehicle was towed by mistake?

If you find out that your car has been wrongly towed, it’s best to file a complaint against the responsible parties. A lot of times, it can be due to confusion over license plates or other similar issues. The best thing to do is check out the tow truck company’s website for their contact details, file a complaint and wait for them to respond. If they don’t give you any assistance or only offer partial help, it might be best to take your case to a small claims court. After a few days, if this doesn’t work, you can also file a complaint with your local government agency. You could even contact the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection Office if no other help is available.

Can I sue a towing company?

Most towing companies are usually responsible for their malpractices, but if you feel that they have broken the rules in some way when it comes to handling your vehicle, this is something worth taking up with them. If, after several tries and not getting anywhere at all with dealing directly with the company itself, you can find a small claims court, file a claim against the tow truck driver(s), and wait for the case to be heard.


It’s essential to know how long a tow company can hold onto your vehicle. Being towed away by a towing service is very stressful, so it’s best to know your rights regarding getting your car back. Call Speeds Towing anytime you need an emergency tow truck in Tualatin or have any questions regarding towing.

Posted on by Speed's Towing
What’s The Longest A Tow Company Can Keep Your Vehicle?

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