Registration Renewal in Tennessee
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Renew TN Registration
You must renew your vehicle's registration annually and maintain car insurance to drive legally in the state. If you need insurance, you can find a list of companies, along with quotes, at our Insurance Center.
To learn how to get started with the renewal process, scroll down to "Check Your Renewal Notice."
Register a Vehicle in TN for the First Time
If you just established residency in the state or recently purchased a vehicle, you must register for the first time. You can learn what you need, where to go and what to bring at our car registration page.
Register a Non-Operational Vehicle
You do not have to notify the state when taking your vehicle off the road. But when it comes time to resume driving you must:
- Have the vehicle's last registration certificate.
- Have all required fees.
- Visit your County Clerk's office.
NOTE: In some instances, you may have to pay for new plates if your vehicle remained non-operational for over a year. Check with your County Clerk's office for more information on this.
Expect a renewal notice to arrive in the mail approximately six weeks prior to your registration's expiration date. If you don't receive one, you can instead use your title or registration. But if you feel better about having a notice, call (888) 871-3171.
If you live in Memphis, or in Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, or Wilson counties, your vehicle must pass an emissions inspection before you can renew the registration. You may or may not find this information on your renewal notice; if you don't, check with your County Clerk's office.
Your fee is printed on your renewal notice. If you did not receive one, call (888) 871-3171.
Your county's specific surcharge is generally the only variable in the renewal fee, unlike the numerous factors that go into insurance rates.
Avoid Late Fees and Penalties
There are no late penalties. You will risk, however, getting ticketed by the police if caught operating a non-registered vehicle.
Only certain counties offer the online option.
- If required, first pass an emissions inspection before registering.
- Have your title and license plate numbers. You'll need both to begin the process.
- Be ready to pay the registration fee using Visa or MasterCard.
- Visit the state's online renewal page and follow the instructions. (This page will also let you know whether your county allows online renewals).
- If required, pass an emissions test before registering.
- Have either your renewal notice or your registration certificate.
- Have the registration fee.
- Visit your County Clerk's office.
- Have, if required, proof of passing an emission inspection. Check with your county what validates as proof. Some counties have different requirements.
- Have your renewal notice. If you don't have this, a copy of your title or current registration certificate will suffice.
- Pay the registration fee. Be sure to write your license number on the check.
- Mail everything to the address indicated on the renewal notice.
Upon receiving it, affix the registration decal to your vehicle's rear license plate. Included instructions will explain where to apply on the plate.
For a better grasp on this issue, you should contact an accountant or a tax attorney.
Driving safe means having a functional vehicle that's not breaking down along roadsides. To assure your vehicle runs in prime condition, you should take it in for regular tune ups, change the oil every 3,000 miles, and know the different between when it's time to rotate the tires and when it's time to replace them.
You should also try protecting against unexpected mechanical breakdowns. Consider subscribing with a roadside assistance program, buying an after-market auto warranty, and finding a trustworthy mechanic.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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