When you're facing repossession of your vehicle, you're probably wondering where you can put your car so the repo man can't find it. In fact, you may be thinking a lot about just how the recovery company’s repo man is going to find your car – because they will.

A repo doesn't have to be the end of the line, though, and there are ways you can avoid it if it's not too late. Here’s what you need to know about the repossession process, how to stop it, and ways to get into another vehicle if you can't.

How Does the Repo Man Know Where My Car Is?

Every car made has a unique number, called the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). When a lender hires a recovery company to take your car, they get the VIN, make and model, and your personal information to locate the vehicle and make sure it’s the right one.

How the Repo Man Can Find Your Car

The repo man knows where to find your vehicle, because they get a rundown of your information from the lender. Applying for an auto loan, or any other type of credit requires you to give out a certain amount of personal information – including your home address. If you default on the loan, the lender can pass your address onto the repo man that they hire to repossess your car.

If you're paying for your vehicle with money from a regualer job, your W-2 income is and employment information has also been given to the lender to prove you have the ability to repay the loan. They could also pass this onto the recovery company, and they could repossess your car at your workplace.

Additionally, repo men are used to most tricks or ways that borrowers try to hide their vehicles. If you try to conceal your car, say a few blocks away from your home address, experienced recovery companies know to scan your neighborhood for the vehicle. Some may even visit local businesses or grocery stores in your area.

Your dealership may have installed a tracking device on your car too. They may have the ability to find your vehicle via GPS, and come and pick it up.

Rules For Vehicle Repossession

A hired recovery company has the right to repossess your car from your driveway, off the street, while you're working, while you’re getting gas, or even from the parking lot of a grocery store while you’re shopping. If your vehicle is out in the open, it can be repossessed. However, if you're vehicle is behind a locked door it's a different story.

Don't Breach the Peace

One of the biggest rules a recovery company must follow is not breaking into your house, or locked garage. This is called breaching the peace. This means they can’t bust the lock on your garage door to get to your car.

Be aware the what's considered “breaching the peace” can vary by state, but, breaking into your garage to take your car isn’t allowed.

Now if you just lock away your vehicle in your garage in an attempt to hide it, the lender can (and probably will) take you to court. If they win, they could simply get a court order to repossess your car, and may even get approval to garnish your wages for the auto loan balance if it gets to this point.

Can't Recover an Occupied Vehicle

Besides not breaking into a locked door, another rule a recovery company must follow is not taking the car while you’re in it. Again, if you notice the repo man hooking up your vehicle and you hop inside, it’s a means to an end, and not a solution. The lender can still take you to court for your attempt to stop the repo, and to get the court order to recover the car.

If Recovery Efforts Stop, Prepare for Court

The recovery company may look for your vehicle for a while, at least until the lender stops paying them. If a lender stops paying for the service, it usually means they’re preparing to take you to court.

Delaying a repossession could be viewed as a waste of time – pushing back the inevitable. If you started missing payments and defaulted on the loan, the lender can take you to court and probably win.

Unlawful Repo?

If you believe your car is being repossessed unlawfully, then you need to provide proof that you’ve been making your payments or proof that you didn’t break the loan agreement. For situations such as this, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

How Can I Stop the Repo Man?

If you want to prevent the repo man from taking your vehicle, the best way is to avoid the repossession process altogether – which usually means talking to your lender at the first sign of trouble. To avoid a repo, make sure you always have full coverage auto insurance on your car while it’s been financed, make all of your payments on time, and stay in communication with your lender if times get tough.

Believe it or not, the lender likely wants to avoid moving forward with a repossession, just like you. For a lender, the repo process is taxing, time-consuming, and represents a loss of money. Default is usually the reason for a repo, meaning you broke your loan contract, such as having too many missed payments. If you’re about to miss a payment, contact your lender right away.

Some lenders have deferment plans, which usually add one or more payments to the back end of your loan, giving you some breathing room to get back on track. If you’re having financial hardships, such as a job loss or medical emergency, you may be able to qualify for a deferment plan with your auto lender.

However, if you’re already behind on payments you’re not likely to qualify for deferment.

If you don’t qualify for a deferment plan, you may be able to talk to your lender about refinancing or changing some terms of your loan. It can be as simple as moving your payment due date, or completely refinancing and lowering your car payment by extending your loan.

The only way to know how your lender can help is to talk to them to find out.

Getting Another Car After a Repossession

A repossession can mean getting turned down for a car loan for at least one year by traditional and even bad credit lenders. But if you apply with a dealership that doesn’t review your credit reports, your recent repossession isn't an issue.

Buy here pay here (BHPH) dealerships use in-house financing, and they’re known for skipping a credit check.

If your vehicle has already been repossessed or is about to be, you may be wondering what to do about transportation going forward. If this is you, fear not. You may be able to qualify for auto financing with a BHPH dealer immediately after a repo.

Finding a Dealership After a Repo

Bad credit borrowers can sometimes struggle to find the right dealership for their credit. However, we want to help make it a little easier by looking for a dealer in your local area that has the ability to assist borrowers with tarnished credit histories. Here at Auto Credit Express, we’ve been adding dealers to our nationwide network for over 24 years, so begin with us and get back on the road again!