NewsGetting Around Metro Detroit


Everything you need to know about towing laws in Detroit and Michigan

Posted at 5:02 AM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 17:24:35-05

(WXYZ) — We are committed to helping you get around metro Detroit, and we know towing laws in Detroit and across the state can be confusing.

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If your car is towed - what are your rights? How much can they charge? It is a question many people don’t have the answers to.

We've gotten your emails and calls to our Getting Around Metro Detroit email,, and we also have your answers.

In one case, it was just a fender bender on I-75 and 7 Mile in Detroit, but the damage to a wheel was bad enough that Jennifer Beck needed to be towed off the freeway. The bill was $788.

"I was pretty shocked," she told 7 Action News. "I would expect a couple hundred because they had to put it on the truck."

It turns out, the bill was legitimate.

The crash happened on a Friday night in January. Michigan State Police called one of their contractors, which are required to take the vehicle directly to the two yard, B&G, which was 6.3 miles southeast of where the accident took place. On Monday morning, they had their vehicle towed to the dealership in Dearborn, 15 miles west of the tow yard.

While nearly $800 is a lot of money, MSP does regulate the fees a towing company can charge, and those fees are supposed to be posted where you can see them.

The city of Detroit also controls how much their contractors can charge. You do have the option of calling your own tow company if you are in a safe location.

Michigan State Police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw said a lot of the time the response time for a tow company you call can be 35, 40 or even 50 minutes. MSP tow trucks have to be there within 20 minutes.

Shaw said if you are using a police towing company, ask for an itemized receipt so you can make sure you are not over charged. He also said to call the post you are towed from if you're unhappy, and 99 percent of the time, any problems will be taken care of right there.

Detroit Police Lt. Michael Parish said the department has started using their own tow trucks to do some police authorized tows, but still use some private companies. They say if you think you are being overcharged, report it.

"We have barred or otherwise fired tow companies that we believe were engaged in wrongful practices," Parish said. "Unfortunately, we have had occasions where some towers haven't abided the fee schedule, they have imposed different fees, more fees."

But if your issue isn't with the fees? What if you don't think your car should have been towed in the first place?

Attorney Cliff Woodards said if you are on private property, you may have to sue the towing company is small claims court. There, the burden is on you to prove you were improperly towed.

"Whip out your cell phone, take a picture of where your car is parked, so you can verify and prove where your car was just in case you come back and it is gone," Woodards said.

One more tip, we have heard from people who say no one notified them where their car was towed. If you have no idea where you car is, and it's been 72 hours, the Michigan Secretary of State says towing companies and police should report it to their webpage.

If you have experienced a towing issue, or have any issues with roads and transportation in Michigan, email us at or