Will Costco Tow My Car

Costco, a large store with its own gas station, also has a large parking lot to accompany it. This parking lot can be useful to stay in overnight on road trips, or if you’re in an RV, it is large and safe enough to stay put for a night. But will Costco tow my car?

Costco may tow your car if it is in their parking lot for longer than 12 hours, though this seems to depend on location. As an exception, most Costcos will allow overnight parking for RVs in their dedicated RV parking spaces. 

To learn more about Costco’s towing policy, keep on reading.

How can I park at Costco without being towed?

Getting towed as a customer in Costco’s parking lot is highly unlikely, though a non-customer may feel a bit wary of parking in the lot overnight or for a long period of time.

Fortunately for campers and RV enthusiasts, Costco is a great place to park overnight on a long road trip or when rest and relaxation are needed. Another situation one may find themselves in that makes parking at Costco appealing is if they work nearby but don’t have access to a parking spot. Parking at Costco and walking to their place of work is a good workaround to paying for parking at their place of employment.

Regardless of parking in Costco’s lot daily for work, overnight parking, or RV parking, it is best to follow a few guidelines to be courteous to the business and its shoppers:

Avoid parking in the Tire Center or other spots reserved for specific services.

Parking for an eight-hour work shift or overnight in spots clearly reserved for other services is a good way to ensure your car gets towed quickly. Avoid these spots unless you are actively using the service.

Do not park overnight for days in a row.

This goes for RVs and regular cars. Cars parked overnight for days on end are more likely to be noticed and reported to get towed. If you work nearby and just need to park during the day for your shift, avoid taking “prime” customer parking spots. If necessary, find where Costco employees park and utilize a nearby space away from typical parking lot traffic.

If in an RV, avoid parking in the lot during business hours.

RV parking is generally allowed at most Costcos regardless of membership status, though some stores do not allow it. The first step should be checking in with the store manager to see if it’s permitted. If so, designated RV spots may be behind the store or further away in the parking lot.

These spots are longer to accommodate large vehicles without sacrificing smaller spaces for their members. As a courtesy, refrain from parking in the lot during business hours, and be out of the lot before the store opens, if possible. Additionally, don’t overstay your welcome: one overnight is acceptable, though any longer may be pushing it with the generosity of the business.

Of course, if there are concerns about parking and getting towed, one can inquire with the management of the Costco store. Generally, communication is key, and managers are likely to let a spot or two be used to help those in need.

How long can you park at Costco?

Unfortunately, there is no universal answer for how long a car can stay without being towed in a Costco parking lot. This can depend on city ordinances and the store itself; if there is a history of people parking in the Costco parking lot for extended periods, that location may have tow trucks regularly visiting the lot.

Busier locations may also be more protective of their spots going to paying customers only.

Costco won’t tow cars that have been in the parking lot for just a few hours, especially since there is so much to see and purchase in their stores.

However, just like any business, if a car has been in the parking lot without moving for an extended time (which can range from just a couple of days to a few weeks or more), don’t expect the car to be sitting there rent free; instead, paying to get it from the tow yard is more likely.

Do you need a membership to park at Costco?

Membership is required to fill up your car or RV with gas or shop inside Costco. Fortunately, that is where the membership exclusivity ends. Anyone can park in the Costco parking lot for short periods without worrying about being towed.

It’s not typical for management or employees to patrol the lot looking for cars that don’t belong since it would be extremely difficult to catalog each employee’s license plate on top of the daily rotation of customers’ vehicles.

This can vary based on location, as there have been reports of Costco having plate scanners that can pick out cars with warrants attached to them or cars that are to be repossessed. These cars are likely to get towed from the parking lot.

Final Thoughts

It’s rare to get towed in a Costco parking lot if the car is only there for a day and perhaps a night. Anything longer than this can raise some suspicions and can easily get you towed, so it’s best to avoid trying to finagle free long-term parking in Costco parking lots.

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