Don’t feel bad, I’ve lost my car a bunch of times. Now, if you’ve just Googled “where’s my car” or “I lost my car” and you’re standing there in the parking lot feeling like a dunce, don’t fret. I’ve lost my car in parking lots and have forgotten where I parked my car so many times it’s not funny. We’re going to get through this together — hopefully with you riding off into the sunset in your car very soon.
Here are a handful of ingenious ways to find a lost car without going back in time…
1) Check your photos
If you’re the kind of person who takes a bunch of photos, it could be in your favor. Did you perhaps take a picture when you last got out of the car? The picture’s whereabouts could be a clue to tracking down your car.
2) Get your local cabbies on the case
This is a great suggestion, posted by Christian Lauw on Quora. Lauw, a former cab driver, suggests, “contact the major taxicab services in your area, and tell them that you are asking the cabbies for help in locating your vehicle. Make the reward, say 150–300 dollars, so it will be worth it to look out for it. They might then forward this information to all taxi drivers via radio.”
Cab drivers go all over the city and would possibly even have a good time looking for your car for you. Incentivize them with a reward, and you’ve got yourself a win/win.
3) Ask the people you were with
If you were with someone when you arrived, ask them what they remember. Alternatively, if drove somewhere to meet someone, ask them if they remember from which way you arrived and if they remember any clues.
4) Check security cams for your car
There are security cams almost everywhere now and there is probably footage of you parking your car. And there is probably also footage of you going everywhere you went today right up until this moment. Finding out where the security cam footage is located can be challenging, but if you ask nicely, you just might find you get what you need.
5) Check Waze/Google Maps
If you used Waze or Google Maps navigation to drive your car to wherever it’s currently hiding, that’s a clue. Check out the location you drove to and then work backwards. If you’re able to go to that location, you can then backtrack and figure out where you drove to park.
6) Approach the shopping center management
If you parked at a shopping center or mall, go ask them for their help. There are people whose job it is to make sure shoppers, like you, have a pleasant experience. Ask them what they suggest — you’ll likely find that you aren’t the first person to have lost their car there, and they might even have a plan in place to help. If they seem to need some motivation, consider offering to give them a reward if they find your car.
7) Approach the event managers
If you’re at a concert or ball game or any kind of large event, there should be people in charge there who can help. Again, offering a reward in this kind of situation may get you a lot further than just asking for help. They are probably already very busy.
8) Buy a drone
Yup, this might seem a little extreme, but you what your car back and this is the only way to get an eagle-eye view of your location. And if you happen to be a store that sells drones (or in case you just happen to have one with you, even better), you can send it up to the sky to scope out an entire parking lot in just a few minutes.
9) File a police report
If it seems that it wasn’t you who misplaced your car, and you suspect it might have been stolen, file a report with the police and get them on the case.
10) Check if it was towed
If your car was towed for some reason, like maybe it was parked somewhere that you didn’t realize was illegal, it should be safe and sound. You’ll have to pay something, of course, but it will be worth getting your car back again.
To find out who may have towed your car, try Googling, “who towed my car in [name of the place where you are].”
How to keep track of your car so you don’t lose it next time
Here are a few ideas for keeping track of your car for next time:
- Drop a pin in Google Maps or Waze when you park
- Take a picture of the name of the parking lot
- Write down the name of the parking area and send it to yourself via email or WhatsApp
- Use a tracking device – you can buy those
Hope that helps!