What to Do if Your Car Is Towed in Chicago
No matter how much you use the El, there are times when you simply need a car to get around Chicago. That means you need a place to park, which also means that you could come outside one day to find your car missing from where you left it.
Why Your Car Could Be Towed
The most common reason for towing is because you were in violation of posted signs or curb markings. Cars are also commonly booted and impounded in Chicago if you have three or more overdue parking tickets. In fact, there are over 15 different codes that result in towing if violated. When you find out where your car is, you’ll find out which code it was towed under.
One of the big things to look out for in Chicago is snow routes. These are deemed vital arteries and thoroughfares through the city. From December 1st through April 1st every year, these become no parking zones from 3am to 7am, no matter what the weather’s like. Chicago tows hundreds of cars the first night alone, so don’t be surprised if your car gets picked up in this ban.
Find Your Vehicle
Chicago PD makes finding your impounded car easy. You can either call 311 or use their Find Your Vehicle website. There are a variety of impound locations all around Chicago, with the Central Impound located on the lower level of 500 E. Wacker Dr. All impound lots are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The CPD can tow your car without impounding it. Known as relocating, this is done to clear the street for work from various agencies. Sometimes this has to be done without time to post “no parking” signs, so cars will be relocated to nearby streets. Before you report your car stolen, make sure that the you call 311.
Getting Your Vehicle
Vehicles can only be released to the owner of record, or a representative of the owner with a notarized letter. The vehicle itself has to be completely up to date in terms of registration, license plates, and Chicago Vehicle Stickers (if necessary). Anyone claiming the vehicle must have photo identification, and the driver must have a current driver’s license.
You don’t want to delay if your car gets towed. The impound lot will hold onto your vehicle for up to 21 days before it’s eligible for auction or destruction. If you need more time, such as being out of town, you can get a 15 day extension.
How Much It Can Cost
For a vehicle under 8,000 pounds, the towing fee will be $150. Storage is $20/day for the first 5 days, then $35/day after that. Removing a boot will cost $60. All payments must be made with cash, cashier’s check, money order, or credit card.
Unlike other cities (such as New York or Los Angeles), Chicago makes it easy to pay past due tickets or outstanding fees. These need to be paid before the vehicle will be released, but you don’t have to go down to a separate office to do it. Payments can be made at the auto-pound with your vehicle.