POLICE Department

Auto Dealers Detail - Auto Theft Division

  • JUNE 5, 2020 UPDATE

    HPD Auto Dealers Detail is open for business as usual. The Houston Permitting Center is no longer limiting the number of people in the building to those only with appointments. Please note the building is currently requiring any person over the age of 2 to pass a temperature check and wear a face covering to gain entry into the building. This requirement may change at any time; please check the Houston Permitting Center’s website for more information on their policy.

    Please continue to wear a facemask or covering and practice social distancing when visiting Auto Dealers Detail. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping the public and our staff safe. We will also still accept applications with payments via mail. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns at (832) 394-4800 or email us at HPD.AutoDealers@HoustonPolice.org.

  • JUNE 1, 2020 UPDATE

    Auctions are canceled this week due to emergency activation of our classified personnel.

  • COVID-19 UPDATE #2

    Auto Dealers Auctions are authorized to resume on Friday, May 1, 2020. However, operational changes have been made to keep the public and our officers safe. At all auctions held May 1st through May 26th the following safety procedures will be observed:

    • All auction attendees are required to wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth at the auction. The face mask may be a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, handkerchief, or other cloth mask.
    • Social distancing will be strictly enforced. Everyone shall ensure they are at least 6 ft apart.

    The safety of all is of the upmost concern. A lack of adherence to safety procedures could result in the cancellation of the auction.

    As our current situation is constantly evolving, please continue to monitor our website for additional information. If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please call (832) 394-4800 or email us at HPD.AutoDealers@HoustonPolice.org


    In light of the circumstances we are facing with COVID-19, the Auto Dealers Detail has made changes to how we operate to keep the public and our staff safe.  At this time, the Houston Permitting Center is limiting the number of people in the building to those with appointments. 

    To lower the risk of exposure, we will be accepting applications via mail to provide applicants an alternative method of acquiring required licenses.

    Please complete the appropriate application form for your license type.  Please print, sign, and submit the completed application along with all required documents and payment.  The application will  not be accepted with any scratch outs or crossed out information and must include payment.  Only business checks, cashier’s checks, and money orders will be accepted forms of payment; be sure to include your full name and driver’s license number on your payment.

    HPD Auto Dealers Detail
    Attn: Application Processing
    P.O. Box 3408
    Houston, TX 77253-3408

    Application forms can be found on our website here.  Additional information including required documents for each specific license type can be found on the Houston Permitting Center’s website here.
    If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please call (832) 394-4800 or email us at HPD.AutoDealers@HoustonPolice.org.

    As our current situation is constantly evolving, please continue to monitor our website for additional information. 

  • Effective January 1, 2020 - The non-consent tow rate will be $174.00 for light duty and $264.50 per hour for heavy duty (two-hour minimum). Storage fees will be $20.64 per day, or $36.11 per day for vehicles over 25 feet in length. A City fee of $21.43 and an impound fee of $20.64 may be charged. The 2020 Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase is 1.5666%. Revised fees affected by this CPI increase will reflect in the City of Houston Fee Schedule.

  • Effective May 1, 2019 - The last ticket for LICENSE walk-in service will be issued at: 3:00 PM This will ensure that all customers waiting in queue will be seen the same day.

  • The Auto Dealers Detail has some positive news that will save you and your employee’s both time and money.  Effective immediately, license holders fingerprinted on or after January 15, 2018, will no longer need to be printed yearly through IdentoGo to renew a license.   The Auto Dealers Detail will now be notified of any changes or updates to a license holder’s criminal information in an expedient manner via email.  The system that will provide updated criminal history information is called RAP Back. 

    License holders printed prior to January 15, 2018, will still need to be printed through IdentoGo one last time to be included in the Rap Back Program.  In addition, license holders that fail to renew a license for four consecutive years will be removed from the Rap Back Program and be required to be printed through IdentoGo before applying for a new license.  A letter has been sent out to all business license holder’s explaining this process in detail.

    Secondly, beginning January 1, 2019, the new cost for a new applicant to be printed through IdentoGo will be $38.25.

Our Mission

The primary objective of the Auto Dealers Detail is to regulate, inspect, and license automotive businesses and salespersons, oversee the towing and storage industry, dispose of vehicles abandoned in storage facilities, and to administer agreements with storage lots and towing companies that service the police department. Another goal of the unit is to ensure that the automotive industry complies with the many laws that govern their operations and to ensure consumer protection. The Auto Dealers Detail is devoted to working cooperatively with all of its customers seeking creative and innovative ideas to continually provide excellent quality customer service.

Business Licensing

Created in 1945, the unit licenses a variety of automotive related trades including car dealerships and salespersons, repair shops, salvage yards, storage lots, tow truck drivers, paid parking lots, and auto parts stores. Each of these trades must meet their own unique licensing requirements and comply with business specific federal and state laws and city ordinances. To learn more, go to Business Licenses or Individual Licenses. All license applications are subject to the approval, of the City of Houston Automotive Board.  For applications pending Board approval see Applications Pending.

New link for wrecker drivers to schedule appointments. https://cohcal.cxmflow.com/AppWizard/AppHome.aspx

Vehicle Auction Process

The Houston Police Department conducts the public auction of unclaimed vehicles in state licensed vehicle storage facilities as required by Chapter 683 of the Texas Transportation Code. This process includes the notification of registered owners and lienholders of a pending sale and a notice of auction to the general public. For details go to Vehicle Auction.


The purpose of the TOW AND GO program is to save lives, reduce traffic congestion, and ensure that citizens are treated fairly by wrecker drivers. Citizens who have questions or complaints about the City’s TOW AND GO program should contact Auto Dealers Detail by phone or go to Contact Us. The TOW AND GO Motorist Bill of Rights link is below and is both in English and Spanish.

Motorist Guidelines


Complaint Investigation

Regulation includes the investigation of complaints received on licensed and unlicensed businesses. To file a complaint with our office go to Contact Us.

Issues of the day!

When involved in a crash in the City of Houston, an important law to remember is that the tow truck operators role is to tow your vehicle per a police officers direction. The law forbids tow truck operators to solicit your business for towing, removing, or repairing any abandoned or disabled vehicle at a police scene by words, cards, or gestures until such time as a law enforcement officer has departed from the scene. Therefore, under this Ordinance, a tow truck operator will be in violation of the law if they should approach you offering, suggesting or requesting to have your vehicle taken to a body shop for the repair of your vehicle.

Auto Dealers Detail
Hours of Operation: 8 AM to 4 PM
(832) 394-4800
24/7 Emergency Number:
(832) 394-4869 (HTOW)
(832) 394-4801
Houston Permitting Center
1002 Washington Ave.
PO Box 3408
Houston, TX 77253-3408