How do I get my repossessed car back in Texas?

Getting your car repossessed can be an extremely difficult and stressful experience. In Texas, creditors and lenders are legally allowed to seize your vehicle if you default on your loan or lease agreement. This is known as repossession. The lender hires a repossession company to track down and physically take possession of the vehicle. Many people wonder if they have any options for getting their car back after it has been repossessed.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to reclaim your repossessed car in Texas. This guide will walk through the various options, including negotiating with the lender, paying off the loan balance, filing for bankruptcy protection, redeeming or buying back the vehicle, and suing if the repossession was illegal. With the right strategy, it may be possible to get your repossessed car back so you can regain transportation.

Determine If the Repossession Was Legal

In Texas, lenders can legally repossess a vehicle when the borrower defaults on the loan or lease agreement. Defaulting typically means missing multiple payments or violating other terms of the contract, like failing to maintain insurance on the vehicle.

Lenders must send written notice of default and provide at least 20 days for the borrower to become current on payments before repossession. The notice should explain the right to reinstate the loan and what steps to take. Lenders can only repossess after proper notice is given. [1]

Repossessions are improper if conducted without notice, on private property without permission, or using threats/violence. Borrowers should review the loan documents and notice of default to confirm proper procedures were followed. If the lender repossessed incorrectly, legal action can potentially get the vehicle returned.

Common valid reasons for repossession in Texas include: [2]

  • Missing multiple monthly payments
  • Failing to maintain required auto insurance
  • Damaging the vehicle beyond reasonable wear and tear
  • Failing to comply with other terms of the loan agreement

If the repossession was unlawful, contact an attorney immediately to understand options for getting the vehicle back or receiving compensation.



Negotiate with the Lender

After your car has been repossessed, one option may be to negotiate with your lender. There are a few ways you can potentially negotiate to get your car back:

Reinstatement: You may be able to pay the past due amount, fees, and other costs associated with the repossession to reinstate your loan. This would allow you to keep your original loan terms and get your car back. The amount needed to reinstate depends on how long you were behind on payments and the lender’s fees.1

Payment plan: You could propose a new payment plan to catch up on missed payments over time. This may help avoid a lump sum reinstatement payment. The lender will likely want some payment upfront and assurance you can make the new payments.2

Loan modification: For longer-term issues making payments, you may request the lender modify the loan terms – lower payments, different due date, etc. Modifications are not guaranteed but can provide relief in some cases.3

It’s best to contact the lender immediately and calmly explain your situation. Have information on income, expenses, and why you fell behind ready. Be prepared to provide evidence you can resume making payments. Any agreement should be received in writing.

Pay Off the Loan

One option to get your repossessed vehicle back in Texas is to pay off the entire outstanding loan balance. This process is known as “redeeming” the vehicle. When a car is repossessed, the lender takes possession of it, but you still owe the remaining loan balance, plus any fees and expenses related to the repossession (like towing and storage fees). To redeem the car, you must pay the full remaining loan balance, as well as all repossession costs.

The lender is required to provide you with a written notice of how much is owed to redeem the vehicle. This amount may be more than the original loan balance because of late fees, interest, and repossession expenses that have accrued. Be prepared to pay the full redemption amount right away, often in certified funds, to get the repossessed car back.

Redeeming a repossessed vehicle allows you to keep the car, get the title back in your name, and resume making any remaining monthly payments if the loan was not paid off in full. However, it does not remove the repossession from your credit report. The repossession and payment in full will both still show on your credit history.

Before deciding to redeem your repossessed car, carefully consider whether you can afford the monthly payments going forward. If you could not afford them before, redeeming the vehicle may just lead to a second repossession down the road.


File Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy may provide options to get your repossessed vehicle back. The two most common bankruptcy options are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can ask the court for an emergency order to get your vehicle back while the case is pending. This prevents the creditor from selling the car before your bankruptcy discharge eliminates the deficiency balance. However, you will need to continue making payments and stay current on the loan to keep the vehicle. Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges most unsecured debts but doesn’t allow you to catch up on missed payments.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy stops collections and wage garnishment while allowing you time to catch up on payments through a 3-5 year repayment plan. This can help recover a recently repossessed vehicle by reinstating and reaffirming the original loan agreement. The automatic stay triggered by filing for Chapter 13 halts repossession and foreclosure actions.

To improve your chances of getting the vehicle back, you should file bankruptcy as soon as possible after the repossession occurs, before the creditor sells the vehicle. Work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to file the appropriate motions with the court to recover your repossessed asset.

Redeem the Vehicle

In Texas, you have a limited right to redeem your repossessed vehicle before it gets sold by the lender. This means paying off the entire outstanding loan balance, as well as any repossession fees and costs incurred by the lender during the process.

According to Texas law, you typically have 10 days to redeem the vehicle after receiving a notice of right to redeem from the lender ( This notice must be sent to your last known address. The 10-day redemption period starts from the date the notice is mailed.

To redeem the car, you’ll need to pay the lender the full outstanding loan balance, plus any repossession and storage fees. This is usually a substantial amount of money required upfront. If you can afford to redeem the vehicle, contact the lender immediately to begin the process.

After redeeming, the lender must return the vehicle to you free of damage. If the car was damaged during repossession, you may be able to sue for injury to your property. It’s advisable to thoroughly inspect the vehicle upon redemption.

If the lender sells the car before you can redeem it, your right to get the vehicle back expires. At that point, your only option is to negotiate with the new owner to try and buy it back.

Buy Back the Vehicle

One option to get your repossessed vehicle back is to buy it back at the dealer auction where it will likely be sold. The repossession company will send the vehicle to a wholesale auto auction within a few weeks after taking possession of it. These auctions are usually only open to licensed auto dealers, but some may allow the public to attend.

To buy back your vehicle at auction, you will need to get a licensed auto dealer to bid on your behalf. You can contact local dealers and see if they are willing to act as your agent at the auction for a fee. The dealer will need information like the VIN to identify and bid on your specific vehicle.

It’s important to determine the outstanding loan balance and expected auction price ahead of time. The lender is looking to get as much of the remaining loan balance as possible. You may need to pay off the loan first before the lender will release the title to you. There are also auction fees to consider.

Buying back your vehicle at auction can be more affordable than retail prices, but there is risk involved if bidding goes higher than expected. Having a dealer agent bid for you improves your chances of success. With some coordination and fees, you may be able to get your repossessed vehicle back through a dealer auction.


Sue for Wrongful Repossession

If your vehicle was wrongfully repossessed in Texas, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the lender for unlawful repossession. Some key points about unlawful repossession lawsuits include:

You must be able to prove the repossession was illegal. This means showing you were not behind on payments or in default when the repossession occurred (

Damages that can be recovered may include: the vehicle’s value, finance charges, late fees, towing/storage costs, lost wages, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages (

You typically have 4 years from the wrongful repossession date to file a lawsuit in Texas (statute of limitations). An attorney can help determine your exact deadline (

It’s recommended to consult a repossession defense lawyer to handle the lawsuit, as the lender will likely have legal representation. An experienced attorney can help prove your case and maximize potential damages recovered.

Suing for wrongful repossession can be complex, but may help you recover your vehicle plus monetary damages if the lender illegally seized your car.

Get a Replacement Vehicle

If your vehicle was repossessed, you may be eager to get a replacement car as soon as possible. While it may be challenging to qualify for financing right after a repossession, there are some options to consider for getting a new car:

Purchase an inexpensive used car with cash – If you have some savings available, you may be able to buy an older used car outright in cash. This avoids the need for financing and allows you to get back on the road quickly after repossession. Focus on reliable, fuel-efficient used models that fit your budget.1

Find a cosigner – Ask a family member or friend with good credit to cosign on a car loan for you. Their creditworthiness can help you qualify for financing despite the repossession. Make sure to uphold the repayment terms so as not to negatively impact their credit.2

Consider used car dealerships – Some used car dealers specialize in helping people rebuild their credit, and may be able to assist with financing even soon after a repossession. Search for “buy here pay here” dealers in your area.3

While it may take some creativity and persistence to get a replacement vehicle after repossession, there are options to get you back on the road reasonably quickly.

Rebuild Your Credit

Rebuilding your credit after car repossession is crucial for restoring your finances and purchasing a vehicle again in the future. Here are some tips for improving your credit after repossession:

Pay off any remaining debt owed on the repossessed vehicle if possible. Even though you don’t have the car anymore, you may still owe money, which will negatively impact your credit. Try to pay this remaining balance or negotiate a settlement with the lender (Source).

Bring all other accounts current and pay down balances. Make payments on time going forward and get balances below 30% of the credit limit. This shows creditworthiness.

Continue making payments on time. Payment history makes up a significant portion of your credit score. Being diligent now will help offset the repossession.

Limit new credit applications. Each application causes a hard inquiry on your report and too many looks risky. Wait 6-12 months before applying for new credit.

Contact the credit bureaus to check for errors. Make sure no other negative items have been reported in error along with the repossession. Dispute any inaccuracies.

Consider a secured credit card if you have trouble getting approved for an unsecured card. This lets you demonstrate responsible use.

Check your credit reports and score regularly to monitor your progress. As you consistently practice good credit behaviors, your score should gradually improve over time.