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What you need to know about towing

Last updated: 8/4/17

What you need to know about towing

If you think your car was towed in Boston, you have a couple of options to get it back.

For help right now

If you know your plate number, you can search our towed cars database. We have information for the past 15 days:

Your License Plate

Another option is to call the Boston Police Tow Line at 617-343-4629 or the Boston Tow Lot at 617-635-3900. You need to know your plate number to find your car.

In case you get towed again, you can sign up for phone, email, or text alerts.

Still have questions? Contact:
Transportation
1 City Hall Square
Room 721
Boston, MA 02201-2026
United States

Shouldn't have been towed?

If your vehicle has been towed for parking illegally on a City of Boston street, you can have a walk-in hearing within five days of the tow, or schedule a hearing with the Parking Clerk. Call 617-635-4410 for more information.

You are not eligible for a hearing if your vehicle has been towed for five or more overdue tickets. You also can only have a hearing with the Parking Clerk if you were towed from a public way in Boston.

Common reasons for towing

Some of the most common reasons for getting towed include street cleaning or sweeping, illegal parking, and five or more overdue parking tickets. We have a guide to help you get your towed car back.

Towed for trespass

If you are towed for trespassing on private property, it’s usually done by a private tow company. Private tow companies are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. If think you shouldn’t have been towed, you need to file a complaint with the state.

Towed for abandonment

Taking possession

The City of Boston can legally take possession of vehicles left standing on City streets for more than 72 hours. We enforce this regulation if

  • we receive a complaint from a resident, or
  • the vehicle poses a safety hazard.

We don't automatically consider a vehicle parked on the same street for more than 72 hours abandoned.

Cars that we do consider abandoned are tagged with a green sticker. If your car has a green sticker, you need to quickly remove the car from the public way and fix the problems with the car.

Towing an abandoned car

If an abandoned car isn’t removed from the public way, we tow it to the Boston Transportation Department Tow Lot:

200 Frontage Road
Boston, MA 02118
Tow lot hoursMonday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Once we tow an abandoned car, it may be disposed of any at time.  If we dispose of the car, you will face additional fees and fines. If a car has some value, we may store it and sell it at auction after 30 days. You will still have to pay for any tow and storage fees.

CLAIMING AN ABANDONED CAR

If you have the VIN number for the car or the AVR number for the green sticker, call 617-635-3900 and the Tow Lot can give you information about the car.

If you want to recover an abandoned car stored at the Tow Lot, you will need to show a valid driver’s license and pay all tow and storage fees. The vehicle must be actively registered and insured to be driven out of the Tow Lot.

Towed from state road

If your vehicle was towed from a state-controlled roadway in Boston, the Boston Police won't have your information. You'll need to call the State Police:

State road or area State tow line
South Boston or Dorchester 617-740-7710
Brighton and Soldiers Field Road 617-727-4812
Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Dorchester 617-698-5840
Riverway, Jamaicaway, Storrow Drive, and Charlesgate 617-727-6780
Logan Airport 617-568-7300