It’s never pleasant to deal with a local impound yard to try and get your car back. Aside from the expensive fees, you’ll likely have to talk to some unpleasant workers. What’s worse is when you don’t have the money to pick up your vehicle. In this case, you must know how to get your car out of impound for free.
In this guide, I cover all of the options available to you. I also look at the average fees and explain what they are.
This guide is only for entertainment purposes and not for financial or legal advice. Contact a lawyer and a financial advisor to get the best answer for your own situation.
How to Get a Car Out of Impound for Free
To get a car out of impound for free, you can try to get in touch with the supervisor of the officer who towed your vehicle and try to explain the situation. Have all documents ready such as insurance, photos, identification, and registration. However, there is no guarantee that the impound will be waived.
Here is more detailed information about some other ways to handle the impound:
1. Financing Plans
Before you do anything else, you need to contact the impound lot and find out what the fees are. While you are on the phone, it’s wise to ask them about financial plans.
While most impound lots aren’t willing to work with customers, it never hurts to ask. If they are willing to create a financial plan for you, make all of the payments on time to avoid more fees.
2. Charity/Community Support
Non-profits in the community might be willing to help you with the fees. You may even be able to get help from your local church. However, this process doesn’t normally go quickly, so expect to spend a few more days without your car.
You will have to meet with the organization and explain your circumstances. Even if the charity can’t help you, the people there normally have lots of information and can connect you with other support. If the car was involved in some sort of illegal activity, this option probably wouldn’t be beneficial to you, as most charities don’t want to get involved in this behavior.
If the charity or church does help you out, go ahead and pay it back by volunteering some of your time. It’s likely they need support too.
3. Friends & Family
Who can you count on more than your friends and family? If you explain to your loved ones what has happened, you might be able to get some support. Whether they give the money to you or offer it as a loan, you will be able to get your car out without putting yourself in a financial jam.
There’s also the option to set up an online fundraising page that can be shared with your friends and family. Maybe they will share it with others and you can get the support you need. Just keep in mind that you are required to pay taxes on money earned through this avenue.
4. Credit Card
While using your credit card doesn’t help you get the car out of impound for free, it defers the time you have to pay for it. If you have enough money on the credit card, you can swipe your plastic and get your car.
To keep yourself out of financial trouble down the road, budget to pay it off quickly. After all, it doesn’t help to have interest added to the bill each month.
5. Payday Loan
If you have run out of options, you may need to get a payday loan to access your car. These loans come with a very high-interest rate and must be paid back with your next paycheck, so it’s definitely not a recommended solution.
With this option, you are going to pay a lot more to get your car back than you would if you had the money, but you might decide you have no other choice. In the future, it’s best to keep a small amount of money saved up for emergencies just like this.
6. Help From Employer
If having your car impounded is prohibiting you from getting to work, your employer might be willing to help. Maybe your boss would be kind enough to take some pay from your next check and give it to you in advance so you can continue on with your daily life.
However, if you have a boss that doesn’t care, you might end up losing your job if you can’t get your car out of the impound lot or find another ride to work. If that’s the case, it might be time to look for another job.
Average Car Impound Fees
The only way to know for sure what you will owe in impound fees is to talk to the lot. Each one sets its own fees and charges. However, I can give you a breakdown of common costs, normally averaging several hundred dollars when all is said and done.
- Boot Fee: If the police needed to put a boot on your vehicle, there will be a fee for this service. The prices for these boots vary by location, but it could be a minimum of $100.
- Tow Fee: You probably won’t spend less than $100 on tow fees. However, these can be much higher if the tow truck has to go a further distance, or if you have a larger, heavy vehicle.
- Impound Fee: The impound lot is going to charge a fee for storing your car. There will be an initial fee – likely under $100 – and then an extra charge for every day it sits on the lot. Additionally, the impound fee could be based on how large your vehicle is, especially if it takes up two spots on the lot.
- Fees/Tickets: If the police impounded your vehicle because of late traffic or parking fees, you would have to pay those before you get your car. Additionally, if it was involved in an accident that got you a reckless driving charge or something similar, these fees will need to be paid as well.
- Other Charges: On top of all of these other fees, you can expect to pay other charges, depending on why the car was impounded, to begin with. Some examples of these fees could be for long-distance towing or for cleanup after an accident.
Sadly, you don’t get to choose what impound lot your car goes to or what fees will be charged. In some cases, the local police department might have the jurisdiction to reduce the fees, but you would have to prove that the car was towed unlawfully or that you are in a state of hardship. Unfortunately, most police departments won’t do anything about it or even listen to your complaints, but it’s always worth trying.
How Long Do You Have to Pick Up an Impounded Car?
If your car ends up in an impound lot, you won’t be able to get it right away. It will take at least 12 to 24 hours before the vehicle is even processed into the system. It’s also possible if the car was impounded during a holiday or weekend, you might have to wait until normal business hours.
You must also consider how long you have to pick up your vehicle. In most cases, the limit is 30 days. After that, the impound lot has the right to auction your vehicle to the highest bidder. With this in mind, it’s best not to put off getting your car, not only because it continues to incur fees, but also because you could lose it and everything in it.