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Common Towing Questions

Q. How can I find out if my car was towed?
A. Call 311 or go to or search the City’s website at http://findyourvehicle.cityofchicago.org

Q. Why was my car towed?
A. Cars may be towed for one of several reasons including:

  • parking in violation of posted signs; to clear a vehicle that has been involved in an accident and is blocking traffic removal of an abandoned vehicle

To learn more about reasons for towing and impounding vehicles please review 9-92-030 of the Chicago Municipal Code:

Q. I parked my car and now I can’t find it and the pound does not have it? Should I report it stolen?
A. Your vehicle may have been relocated. Relocations are performed to clear the street for work by various agencies. This may be done in an emergency without an opportunity to notify the public with posted signs. Before you report your vehicle as stolen call 311.

Q. Why was my car towed off of a snow route when there was no snow on the street and none in the forecast?
A. The City of Chicago has a number of streets that are designated priority arterials that restrict parking every day from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. between December 1 and April 1 regardless of whether snow is present. This seasonal parking ban was implemented to prevent recurrences of 1967 and 1979 when Chicago came to a traffic standstill due to major snowstorms.

Q. What if I return to my vehicle as it is being towed? Will the driver give it back to me?
A. No. Once the vehicle is raised from the location it was parked the vehicle must go to the pound.

Q. Where was my car towed?
For information about the location of your car, call 3-1-1

Go to Auto Pound Locations for a link to maps and directions for the City’s auto pounds. Here are the auto pound addresses.

Central Auto Pound is located at 500 E Wacker Dr.(Lower Level) is open 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year.

O'Hare International Airport Auto Pound is located at O'Hare International Airport (Remote Lot E) is open 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year.

Auto Pound #2 is located at 103rd and Doty Avenue is open 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year.

Auto Pound #6 is located at 701 N. Sacramento Avenue is open 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year.

Abandoned vehicles are impounded at 103rd and Doty Avenue and 701 N. Sacramento Avenue

Q. How can I get my car out of the pound?
A. You may obtain the release of your car if you are the owner of record, or if you are the representative of the owner of record. You must pay all charges and fines in full before your car will be released to you. In addition your vehicle must be up to date with registration and related requirements including current state license plates and a Chicago Vehicle Sticker if required. All persons claiming a vehicle must present valid photo identification. If the vehicle is being driven out of the pound the driver must have a current valid Drivers License.

You will also need to show proof of ownership for the vehicle in the form of a current registration card or a bill of sale that is not more than 30 days old. If you are a lessee of the vehicle rather than the owner, you will need to present your lease agreement.

If you are the owners representative, you will need to present an original, notarized letter from the owner giving you permission to act on their behalf.

Vehicles impounded for the following reasons cannot be released until you visit the Vehicle Impoundment Office located at 400 West Superior and pay all fines and fees:  Narcotics, Solicitation, Fly Dumping, Firearms, Counterfeit Wheel Tax Emblem, Defacement, Fleeing and Eluding, Noise, Drag Racing, Unlicensed Public Passenger Vehicle, Altered Temporary Registration, DUI, Fireworks, Suspended or Revoked License, Littering and Reckless Driving Funeral Procession.  Owners of vehicles impounded for unpaid parking violations (Booted Vehicles) must contact the Department of Finance at 312.744.PARK.

Q. How much will it cost to redeem my car?
A. Tow fee:

Towing and storage charges must be paid either in cash or by VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, or Diner's Club.  Checks or money orders are not accepted.  Pursuant to the Municipal Code of Chicago (9-92-80 M.C.C.), such charges are as follows:  Towing:  $150 for vehicles under 8,000 pounds, $250 for vehicles with a gross weight of 8,000 pounds or more.  Storage:  $20 per day for the first 5 days then $35 per day after the 5th day for vehicles under 8,000 pounds, $60 per day for the first 5 days then $100 per day every day after the 5th day for vehicles with gross weight of 8,000 pounds or more.

Vehicles impounded for the following reasons cannot be released until you visit the Vehicle Impoundment Office located at 400 West Superior and pay all fines and fees:  Narcotics, Solicitation, Fly Dumping, Firearms, Counterfeit Wheel Tax Emblem, Defacement, Fleeing and Eluding, Noise, Drag Racing, Unlicensed Public Passenger Vehicle, Altered Temporary Registration, DUI, Fireworks, Suspended or Revoked License, Littering and Reckless Driving Funeral Procession.  Owners of vehicles impounded for unpaid parking violations (Booted Vehicles) must contact the Department of Finance at 312.744.PARK.

Q. Did the city issue a parking ticket prior to towing my car?
A. A parking ticket is not necessary to tow a vehicle, but in most cases if a vehicle is parked in violation of posted parking restrictions a ticket will be issued.

Q. What do I need to know about paying for the parking ticket related to my towed vehicle?
A. You should follow the instructions on the Notice of Violation. See the Department of Finance’s Website at cityofchicago.org/Finance

Q. How long can I leave my car in the pound?
A. Vehicles are normally stored for no more than 15 days from the date the city mails the notification to the registered owners.

Q. What will happen to my vehicle if it is not claimed from the pound?
A. If the vehicle is not claimed, then it may be disposed of, or sold at auction. Even if the vehicle is disposed of, the owner is still responsible for any fines or fees related to the violation. For more information about disposal of unclaimed vehicles please see section 9-92-100 of the Chicago Municipal Code

Q. Who do I call if I have more questions?
A. Please contact the Bureau of Traffic Services at 312.746.4954 Monday through Friday between the hours of 7am and 3 pm excluding holidays.

Q. I believe my car was damaged at the pound or when it was towed. How can I file a claim?
A. If your car was damaged at the Central Pound or O’hare Auto Pound, you can file a claim with the Office of the City Clerk’s office. Claim forms are available at the City Clerk’s office located in Chicago City Hall at 121 N. LaSalle Street - Room 107 312.744.6867. You can download a claim form at http://chicityclerk.com/programs-services/claims/.  If your car was damaged at Pounds 2, 3 or 6, you can contact URSI’s Pound Supervisor or Contact URSI at 708.333.7348.

Q. I do not agree that my car should have been towed. Is there anything I can do to contest the tow?
A. As the owner of an impounded vehicle you are entitled to a post-tow hearing to contest the validity of the tow and any towing or storage fees. You can request a hearing when you redeem your vehicle or if you have already claimed your vehicle you may visit the nearest auto pound within 15 days of the release and request a hearing. Please understand that you must attend the hearing to contest the tow.

Q. What do I do if someone at the tow pound is rude or provides poor customer service?
A. You can call 311 or send an email:  StreetsAndSan@cityofchicago.org to report any employee discourtesies.  Please provide your name, phone number and as many details as possible to assist in any investigation.

Q. How do I compliment a tow pound employee?
A. Please get the employee’s name and call 311 with your compliment.