Getting Your Car Back After Repossession

Learn about your options for getting your car, van, truck, or other vehicle back after it's been repossessed.

By , Attorney · Case Western Reserve University School of Law

You typically can get your car, van, truck, or other vehicle back after a repossession. Which option is best for you depends on how much money you have, your state's laws, your loan agreement, and the lender's willingness to work with you.


The most surefire way to regain the car is to pay off the loan. This option is called exercising your "right of redemption." To redeem the loan, you must pay back the entire balance of the loan and specific fees and costs, such as repossession and storage fees.

You can redeem the car at any time before the private sale or auction. The bank is supposed to send you a written notice that contains the information you need to redeem. If you haven't received that notice within five days of the repossession, contact the creditor immediately to get the payoff amount and instructions for redemption. Your right of redemption ends when the car is sold.

Reinstatement (If Applicable)

If you don't have enough money to redeem, then another possible option is to reinstate the loan. With reinstatement, you bring the loan current by making up all past-due payments, including applicable fees and late charges, in one lump sum.

The right of reinstatement is only allowed in some (not all) states or by the terms of your loan agreement. If you can and are able to reinstate, you should act quickly. Usually, you are allowed only a very short time after the repossession (sometimes 15 days) to reinstate the loan. If your right of reinstatement is based on the loan agreement, then the period might be more or less, depending on what the agreement says.

Repurchase the Vehicle at the Auction

If the car is going to be sold at a public auction (the bank is supposed to give you notice if it is), then you can attend the auction and bid on it yourself.

Talk to the Bank

If none of the above options are doable for you, don't rule out trying to negotiate an alternative arrangement with the creditor. For instance, if you owed three payments but only have enough funds to pay for two, you could negotiate a partial reinstatement and pay the rest of the past due payments later.

You could also try to work out a new payment plan or refinance the car loan. Talk to the bank and find out what it would agree to. Of course, these options are more feasible if you try to negotiate them before your car is repossessed.

If you believe the bank violated your rights during the repossession, such as breaching the peace, you could use this violation as bargaining leverage to get the car back.

Talk to an Attorney

If you need help getting your car back after a repossession or you think the bank violated the law in the repossession, consider talking to a lawyer.

Get Professional Help
Get debt relief now.
We've helped 205 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you