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During an early mission in the game, you have to customize a car and get all dressed up. So I did. Dropped a not-insignificant amount of money making my ride topless and purple, as well as myself. Except, not so topless, but just as purple. As soon as I'm done, some brute comes along and uses my car as a bowling ball against me while I'm still in the shop.

After the fighting's done, I go to get my car and the shop menus won't let me! The owner seems to want to keep my car while selling me more clothes...

Is there a way to free my car? I don't seem to be able to nudge it, and there's no room to get another vehicle behind it. This won't be the first time I left a vehicle behind thanks to this, but it will be the most expensive one yet!

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As soon as you customize a car, it becomes permanently yours. If it is lost, stolen, destroyed, flung off a cliff, etc, it will return to your garage a short time later.

Sometimes you can't access the shop's garage (especially if you have a wanted level) so you might want to hide someplace you own for a few seconds to reset everything. The garages at your hideouts always work though.

For reference, you can also customize cars at your hideout garages, so there's really very little use for the car shops themselves, besides being a place to hide and a sometimes convenient place to store/fetch cars.

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Though you'll have to pay $500 to repair it if it was destroyed. –  Jeff Mercado Dec 2 '11 at 3:26
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I've had sort of uneven experiences with this repair payment. I've taken cars out of the garage and immediately destroyed them with prejudice, and run back, gotten them out, and not have to pay. I think I've paid once the whole game, and I can assure you I have destroyed many, many cars. –  agent86 Dec 2 '11 at 4:49
    
Oh wait, I think you pay when you get your vehicles retrieved (which I always did). If yo go straight to the garage or shop, you probably don't have to. –  Jeff Mercado Dec 2 '11 at 4:56
    
Ahhh... I didn't know it kept the cars immediately upon modification. This is good news. It also negated my plans of taking the thing immediately to the nearest garage post-mission even without me knowing it! Thanks, all. –  Aeo Dec 2 '11 at 14:33

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