Back to top

What you need to know about towing

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
617-635-4680
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 sweeping, illegal parking, and five or more overdue City of Boston parking tickets. We have a guide to help you get your towed car back.

TOWING REASON CODES

You may see one of these codes when you use our online search. Once you figure out why your car was towed, it will help you find where your car was sent. If you have any questions, call the Boston Police Tow Line at 617-343-4629.

CODE

REASON

01

Arrest

02

Abandoned

03

Accident

04

Arson or a vehicle fire

05

Motor Vehicle Violation

06

Fire Department Request

07

Owner’s request

08

Traffic tickets

09

Public safety hazard

CODE

REASON

10

Investigation

11

Safe keeping

12

Snow removal

13

Stolen

14

Private or trespass

15

Street cleaning

16

Repossession

17

Stolen or arrested

Towed for abandonment

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.

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 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 from state road

If your vehicle has been towed from a state controlled roadway in Boston, the Boston Police Department will not have information to provide you. You will 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

Boston tow operators

We created a list of towing companies for residents trying to get their towed vehicle back. The companies were in Boston Police records of involuntary towing that took place in 2014. The fact that these companies are in the list does not mean that they are endorsed by the City of Boston.

Search the list of towing companies