Unfortunately, your car registration is not a one-time deal. In the state of California, you will need to renew your registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) annually. It is illegal to drive with expired registration, so be sure you stay on top of your registration status. Don’t worry if you don’t know when you registration is due; the DMV sends renewal notices through the mail to make sure you know exactly when your registration is going to expire. Keep your address updated in the DMV system to ensure that you receive your notice.
As stated above, the DMV will send you a renewal notice a couple of months in advance of your registration expiration. The notice will include your expiration date, the fees that will be due, possible smog requirements, and any outstanding tickets or fees that must be paid before renewal can be completed. If you did not receive your renewal notice, call your local DMV and make sure they have the right address on file. You can also call (800) 777-0133. Your renewal notice will tell you if you are eligible to renew in person, by phone, by mail, or online.
- In Person: Go to your local DMV office (appointments are recommended) with your renewal notice, driver’s license, and payment to cover the renewal fees. You should receive your new registration and stickers before you leave.
- By Phone: Collect your Vehicle Identification Number (your VIN should be listed on your notice), license plate number, and a credit/debit card for payment and call (800) 921-1117. Please note that you must have all outstanding fines paid and a smog check on file with the DMV (if required) to complete this process. You will receive your new registration and stickers in the mail within 15 days.
- By Mail: Gather your renewal notice, your smog certificate (if required), and a check or money order made out to the DMV and send the documents to: Vehicle Registration Operations, Department of Motor Vehicles, P.O. BOX 942869, Sacramento, CA, 94269-0001. You will need proof of insurance on file with the DMV and have no outstanding fines in order to renew by mail. Your new registration and stickers will be mailed to you (usually within 15 days).
- Online Renewal: To renew online, head over to the DMV website. You will need your VIN as well as payment for the renewal fee. Be sure that you have proof of insurance and a smog certification (if required) on file with the DMV. You will receive your new registration and stickers in the mail within 15 days. If you are not eligible for online renewal through the DMV, or need your new registration the same day, you can renew your registration online at CarRegistration (see below).
Renewing Online With CarRegistration
CarRegistration is an efficient and reliable alternative to the DMV. We are officially licensed by the CA Department of Motor Vehicles to offer online vehicle renewal services. CarRegistration services also include same day E-copy of your registration and next business day delivery of your official registration hard copy. Don’t waste any more valuable time and stress at the DMV. You’re just a few clicks away from renewing your registration. Get started now.
How much will you have to pay to renew your registration? It really depends on the vehicle. Fortunately, the DMV supplies a Vehicle Registration Vehicle Fee Calculator. Simply enter your license plate number, VIN, county, and Zip Code.
Your renewal notice will inform you if your car needs to complete a smog check before registration renewal can be completed. Some vehicles will be required to undergo a smog inspection at a STAR station (your renewal notice will specify). If this is the case, you can find a STAR station here.