1002 Washington Ave., Basement
Houston, TX 77002
PO Box 3408
Houston, TX 77253-3408
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. All license applications are subject to the approval of the City of Houston Automotive Board.
*Pursuant to Department of Public Safety (DPS) protocol, effective immediately, all applicants who wish to apply for an automotive related license with the Houston Police Department Auto Dealers Detail must first submit an application in person prior to getting their fingerprints done with IdentoGo. Please contact the Auto Dealers Detail for any questions you may have regarding this change.
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.
Location of sale
Auctions are held at the storage facilities reporting the vehicles as abandoned. A series of auctions begin daily at 8:00 a.m. at multiple locations. Auctions are held rain or shine and open to the general public. Anyone refused admittance should contact Auto Dealers.
Terms of sale
All sales are for cash to the highest bidder. Salvage vehicles will be sold to state licensed salvage dealers only. Valid state issued ID is required to bid. Any person that purchases five or more vehicles in a calendar year will be required to have a MVD license and will not be allowed to bid on or purchase any vehicles until a license is obtained.
The Gulf Coast Regional Tow and Go Program provides motorists with no-cost towing when their vehicle breaks down from mechanical failure (e.g., out of gas, overheating, flat tire) in the main lanes, shoulders, ramps or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)/High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes of freeways in the Tow and Go service area.
In addition to keeping traffic moving, the quick clearance program reduces the chance of dangerous secondary incidents, saving lives. The program operates as follows:
- Tow and Go operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays
- If you have the necessary equipment along with a working spare, the Tow and Go operator will change the tire, at no cost, once the vehicle has been moved to a safe location off the freeway
- If you wish to be towed to your home or another location, the City of Houston’s non-consent tow fee applies, which is currently $174.00 for the first 20 miles, and $3.48 per mile thereafter
- If you call for your own tow truck, it must arrive before law enforcement monitoring the freeway have authorized Tow and Go or it must meet you at the safe location where you have been cleared.
- Tow and Go is only available on camera-monitored freeways. Tollways like Sam Houston and Westpark are part of the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) system and have their own incident response team. For breakdowns on HCTRA tollways, call 281-584-7500 for assistance.
- Please note that SH 99 Grand Parkway is managed by TxDOT and does not provide an incident management service like the HCTRA. Motorists stranded on SH 99 Grand Parkway will not be able to receive service from the HCTRA and are responsible for arranging their own towing service.
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 file a complaint online using the link below.
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. Through the RAP Back program, 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.
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.
Beginning January 1, 2019, the fee for a new applicant to be printed through IdentoGo will be $38.25.
- Private Property – All applicants (new and renewal) must obtain a criminal background check via IdentoGo. Please refer to the Wrecker Driver letter and FastPass form for instructions.
- Police Authorized Tow Service Agreement (PATSA) – If working under a PATSA, all applicants will have their criminal background check conducted by the Houston Police Department.
All Businesses (Except Retail Supply Dealer)
- All applicants (new and renewal) in this category must obtain a criminal background check via IdentoGo. Please refer to the All Businesses letter and Fast Pass form for instructions.
Retail Supply Dealer
- Applicants (new and renewal) will have a local background check performed for wants and warrants. Please refer to the Retail Supply Dealer letter for more information.
The 2022 revised Police Private Storage Lot Agreement (PPSLA) can be found under CONTRACTS. Auto Dealers Detail has prepared a Power Point presentation to assist you in filling out the PPSLA. Call Auto Dealers at (832) 394-4800 if you have any questions.
Heavy Duty PATSA Complaint Form
New PPSLA contract and ordinance changes:
After the industry meetings in June, Auto Dealers received feedback. Some changes to the PPSLA and Chapter 8 were made in response to the feedback. Please review the proposed revisions. A video was made highlighting the changes. You can view the video here: Bit.ly/PPSLASeptRevisions.
For information regarding the Upcoming PPSLA Contract and ordinance changes, please click on the following video links.
Ordinance Revision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAmCdMTPrZc
After watching the videos and reviewing the documents, please email any questions, comments, or concerns to [email protected]. We will not be responding to individual emails. However, the Auto Dealers Detail will host question and answer sessions via Microsoft TEAMS and in-person meetings tentatively scheduled for June 15th and June 16th to address the questions, comments and concerns we receive.
Please ensure that your email address on file is current, as we will be sending out meeting information to existing contract holders as soon as the dates/times are finalized. You will not need to download the TEAMS app to join a virtual meeting. You can access a meeting using a computer or a phone.
Auto Dealers Detail
Phone: (832) 394-4800
E-mail: [email protected]
New PATSA contract and ordinance changes:
For information regarding the Upcoming PATSA contract and ordinance changes, please click on the following video links.
Ordinance Revision: https://youtu.be/AAvhXSSjKfU
The following Q&A sessions will be held virtually next week via Microsoft Teams Meeting.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 1:00pm CST
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 9:00am CST
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 6:00pm CST
Monday, March 8, 2021 at 9:00am CST
Monday, March 8, 2021 at 1:00pm CST
The meeting invites will be sent to all PATSA holders and all private property tow companies. Please ensure we have your correct email address on file. Contact Auto Dealers Detail if you have any additional questions.
Closure Notice: February 15th &16th 2021
Notice: Due to expected severe weather, the HPD Auto Dealers Detail office will be closed on Monday, Feb 15th and Tuesday, Feb 16th. We will reopen on Wednesday, Feb 17th. Stay safe!
Effective January 1, 2021 – the 2021 Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase is 0.2764%. Revised fees affected by this CPI increase will reflect in the City of Houston Fee Schedule.
Beginning in 2021, the Houston Police Department will no longer post abandoned vehicle notices in the Houston Chronicle. New legal notices of abandoned vehicles will be posted in the Daily Court Review.
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 Details
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 [email protected].
As our current situation is constantly evolving, please continue to monitor our website for additional information.