On the pile of responsibilities that is car ownership, registration renewal is the cherry on top.
Registration renewal can be costly – though fees generally diminish each year that you register a vehicle – and, if you’re like most people, you seldom see it coming. Some states mail out renewal notices, and usually drivers open them with a weary groan: “Again?!”
Yes … again. You can’t just register your car and forget about it.
Renew Car Registration Online
Some states make it easy on you, allowing quick and relatively easy online registration renewal. Usually, the DMV or other motor vehicle agency mails instructions when drivers are allowed to use this option.
Renew Vehicle Registration in Person
Renewing a car registration in person is usually done by the desperate masses who forgot to mail their forms and money in on time. When making an in-person registration renewal, it is wise to avoid visiting the DMV on the last day of the month, Monday or the day immediately following a holiday.
To make the purgatorial experience as painless as possible, find out your state’s specific registration renewal requirements to renew a vehicle registration. Probably you’ll need to bring the following things, at least:
- Proof of insurance.
- Your driver’s license.
- Some form of currency for your registration fee.
- A long book or a pile of magazines to pass the time.
Renew by Phone
Some states, like Kansas, allow drivers to renew a vehicle registration by phone. Depending on the level of computer automation, this might be only scarcely less emotionally taxing than paying in-person.
Renew by Mail
Perhaps the easiest way to pay in most states.
In Colorado, for instance, the state mails you a renewal postcard that states the amount of your renewal fee. You simply need to remove the blue address decal on the postcard and stick in on a stamped envelope. Put a check for the renewal amount with your license number written on it into the envelope.
Of course, this is all assuming that you still have a checkbook, Neuromancer.
Additional Registration Renewal Points
If you live in a state that requires emissions testing, you might not be able to renew your registration without proof that your vehicle has passed a smog check.
In California, where testing is required in most counties, the renewal form you receive in the mail will let you know if a trip to the emissions center awaits.
You still like stickers, right? Some states provide an extra fancy sticker with a new date printed on it when you pay your registration renewal fee.
Read the instructions on how to apply this puppy, but usually you can clean the area and slap it right over last year’s sticker.