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Have you ever wondered if a towing company has the authority to sell your car without having the title in its possession?  In short, a towing company does not have the right to sell your car without a title. The title is a legal document that establishes ownership, and without it, the towing company cannot transfer ownership or sell the vehicle.

However, there are specific circumstances under which a towing company might still sell a car, but we’ll explore these exceptions and what you can do to protect yourself and your vehicle.

Don’t miss this opportunity to stay informed and empowered when it comes to your valuable asset—your car! Let’s get started on this informative journey together.

Understanding the Towing Process and Its Regulations

Towing companies play a crucial role in the transportation and recovery of vehicles, particularly when they are immobilized due to accidents, mechanical failures, or parking violations.

While these companies operate under strict regulations, incidents of cars being sold without titles have been reported. It’s essential to know your rights and the legalities involved to safeguard your vehicle.

Legal Requirements for Selling a Car

In most jurisdictions, selling a car requires a legally valid title transfer to the new owner. A car title is a legal document that proves ownership and provides necessary details about the vehicle, including the vehicle identification number (VIN), make, model, and year. Without a proper title transfer, any sale of the vehicle may be considered illegal.

Instances Where a Towing Company May Consider Selling a Car Without a Title

Towing companies may encounter situations where abandoned vehicles are left unclaimed for an extended period, accumulating storage fees. In such cases, towing companies might attempt to recoup their costs by selling the vehicle. However, this process is subject to specific legal steps and notification requirements.

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Towing Company’s Legal Process for Selling Cars

When a towing company impounds your car, they have the right to recover their expenses by selling it. However, they must follow a legal process to protect your rights as the vehicle owner. This includes providing you with proper notice of the sale and an opportunity to pay the towing fees.

Typically, the towing company cannot sell your car for an amount exceeding the towing and storage fees they incurred. In case you suspect the towing company has violated your rights, you have the option to pursue legal action and file a lawsuit.

Tips to Avoid Having Your Car Sold by a Towing Company

To prevent your car from being sold by the towing company, consider the following tips:

  • Prompt Payment of Towing Fees: As soon as you discover your car has been towed, act swiftly to pay the towing fees to avoid further complications.
  • Negotiating Payment Plans: If you’re unable to pay the full amount upfront, reach out to the towing company to discuss the possibility of a payment plan.
  • Filing Complaints with Consumer Protection Agencies: If you believe your rights have been violated, lodging a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or your state’s consumer protection agency may help address the issue.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to buy a lien-sale car from a tow yard.

Specific State Laws on Towing and Selling Cars

Towing and selling cars are subject to state-specific laws, and these laws can vary significantly. For example, in Texas, towing companies must give 2 public notices and wait 30 days after the second notice before taking action.

If unclaimed, they can sell the car through a public sale, covering costs and even returning any surplus to the owner. But if the car is over 10 years old or beyond repair, a faster process ensues, allowing a sale within 30 days from the first notice. Legal disputes over the sale or proceeds may also arise, bringing further complexity.


In conclusion, towing companies do have the right to sell your car if you fail to pay the towing fees. However, they must follow the legal process and provide you with an opportunity to settle the dues before proceeding with the sale. To protect your rights and avoid losing your car to a towing company’s sale, act promptly and be aware of the specific laws in your state.


Is it legal for a towing company to sell a car without notifying the owner?

No, it is generally not legal for a towing company to sell a car without notifying the owner. Proper notification and adherence to legal procedures are essential in such cases.

Are there any exceptions where a towing company can sell a car without a title?

Some jurisdictions may have specific provisions for abandoned vehicles, allowing towing companies to sell them under certain circumstances. However, strict legal requirements must be met.


  • Justin Smith

    Justin Smith is a highly skilled freelance writer with over three years of experience in content editing, writing, and SEO. Specializing in the automotive industry and car trade insights, she delivers valuable and engaging articles. With a passion for cars and a focus on keyword ranking, Justin Smith's expertise empowers readers to navigate the complexities of buying and selling vehicles. Choose Justin Smith as your trusted author for authoritative car trade insights.

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