In some states, the loan company can seize a car as soon as a payment is missed according to the Federal Trade Commission. The number of car payments that can be missed depends on the purchaser's credit history and the loan company's policy on repossession.
Owners will receive no warning when the car goes into repo status. Banks and loan companies do not have to alert consumers to the fact they are coming, though most will let the defaulter take out possessions before removing the vehicle or leave an alert on how to retrieve them. If a debtor knows he is going to be late with a payment, he should call the loan company to make an arrangement or get an extension if that is an option. Make sure to explore all options with the loan company before missing a payment on the car to prevent repossession.