Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions are provided here as a convenience. If your question is not answered here or on our site, please call our Customer Service Center.

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  1. What is AutoReturn?

    Auto Return is a towing management company that is contracted to dispatch and manage police-initiated tows for the San Diego Police Department. AutoReturn does not issue citations or perform tows. Our job is to dispatch vehicles.

  2. Where is my vehicle?

    You can locate your vehicle using our website by clicking on Find Vehicle. If you are unable to locate your vehicle using our website, call our Customer Service Center at 619-527-4392.

  3. Where are the tow facilities in San Diego?

    The City of San Diego utilizes 8 tow impound facilities conveniently located throughout the region. You may use our vehicle search to find your vehicle.

  4. What do I need to retrieve my towed vehicle?

    Please contact the impound provider for the documents required for your specific situation. Typically you will need:

    • A U.S. Government or State Government issued photo identification
    • A current vehicle registration card for registered owners or evidence of title for lien holders.
    • A notarized letter of authorization, accompanied by a U.S. Government or State Government issued photo identification and a current vehicle registration card for registered owners or evidence of title for lien holders will be required if the registered owner is not present.
    • Rental agreement
    • Company identification for commercial vehicles
    • Letters and faxes will be accepted from lien holders, insurance companies and rental vehicle companies
    • The required payment for services performed
  5. Who authorizes vehicle tows?

    All tows performed by AutoReturn are ordered by the San Diego Police Department.

  6. What forms of payment are acceptable?

    We accept cash and per municipal regulations, our towers must accept at least one of the following cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Please contact the company which towed your vehicle to find out which card(s) they accept.

    Any person may pay for a vehicle release if the registered or legal owner is present at the time of payment.

  7. What if my registration is expired?

    If your vehicle registration is expired, you must obtain current registration through the DMV.

  8. What if my driver's license is expired or I do not have a license?

    You may either have your vehicle removed from the storage lot utilizing the service of a towing company or you may authorize another licensed driver to remove your vehicle.

  9. What do I do if I believe my vehicle was towed in error?

    We never tow without authorization from the San Diego Police Department. If you believe your vehicle was towed in error, you will need to contact the SDPD Tow Administration office at 858-495-7830.

  10. What if I have a complaint?

    AutoReturn is committed to constantly improving service levels. If you have any comments or suggestions about our service please complete a customer feedback form.

  11. How do I file a claim?

    AutoReturn contracts with several San Diego towing companies to tow, store and release vehicles that were ordered towed by the San Diego Police Department. If you wish to report a claim involving damage to your vehicle or missing property, please report the incident directly to the towing company that towed/stored your vehicle. Claims will be submitted through the towing company’s insurance company. If further assistance is needed, contact our San Diego Service Manager or complete the online claim form.

  12. What happens to unclaimed vehicles?

    Unclaimed vehicles are disposed of in accordance with all applicable state and local laws.