The bank may decide to repossess your car if you stop making payments on your auto loan. When this happens, you have to act quickly. State laws differ on the amount of time you have to get your car back after repossession, but the banks are required to hold the car for a “reasonable time” before auctioning it off to recuperate their investment.

How Long Do I Have To Get My Car Back?

There is no specific rule on how long the bank needs to wait before auction, but a typical period of time would be 1-2 weeks. At any point during this time, it is up to you to contact the lender and begin negotiating the return of your car. To begin this process, look at the notice of sale that the bank sends you and call the telephone number given to you.

The notice of sale should come within a few days of the vehicle repossession. State law differs on the exact timing, but the bank must notify you before putting your car up for auction.

How To Get My Repossessed Car Back

To get your car back after it has been repossessed, you may either redeem the vehicle by paying off the entire loan balance or reinstate the loan by paying off overdue amounts to make the loan current. Both of these options require you to pay additional costs and fees related to the repossession, as well.

If you have enough money on-hand to reinstate the loan, you need to contact your lender as quickly as possible to get the process started. If you don’t have enough money on-hand to reinstate the loan, there is one other option: bidding on your car at auction.

After a “reasonable time” period elapses, your lender will put the car up for auction. If you wish to get your car back, you can bid for it at the auction, but you will be bidding against other potential buyers, making it a risky endeavor.

When To Fight Car Repossession in Court

There are legal options available to vehicle owners who have had their cars repossessed. For instance, if you find a procedural fault in the way that your lender recuperated the car or feel like your rights have been violated, you may be able to take the fight to court and get your car back that way.

Examples of situations where you a consumer lawyer may be able to help you include:

  • If your property was damaged during repossession
  • If the lender repossessed property that wasn’t part of the agreement (items left inside the car, for instance)
  • If the lender used aggressive tactics to repossess the vehicle
  • If the car goes to auction and sells for far less than its market value
  • If you declared bankruptcy before repossession

Whatever the case is, you can be sure that the means to get your car back exist. Start the process by opening up communication with your lender and finding out if you can find common ground on making your payments.