Time Needed: Around 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the lines at your DMV.
After weeks of searching, researching, and debating, you’ve finally bought your car. Congrats! The hardest part is over. But now you’ll need to get your new ride ready for the road. It’s not just as simple as grabbing the title, taking the keys, and hitting the streets. Not only do your Insta followers want to see your new ride, but your state wants to know who you are and what you’re driving, too.
States need your car’s registration to determine who owns each and every vehicle on the road. This is for several reasons, such as finding criminals or tracking taxes. You also need registration to prove that you and your car are responsible and safe enough to be driving with the rest of the population. With hundreds of thousands of cars commuting every single day, all across the country, you can start to see why it’s a necessary procedure to keep track of things in case something goes wrong.
Registering your car can seem like a pain at first, and it is, but it’s mainly set up to protect the rights of car owners. That, and maybe a bit of revenue generation for the state, but that’s a topic for a different article. Nonetheless, if you’ve never done this before, grab a cold drink and take a moment to continue reading. We are here to provide you with everything you need to know on how to register a car.
What Is Car Registration?
A car’s registration is an official document that proves your vehicle is safe and legal to drive on public roads. It shows that you have paid all fees and taxes associated with your state’s DMV. It’s like a permission slip, and the field trip destination is wherever your heart desires. To complete registration, your car will need to pass emissions and safety checks upon purchase, and every few years after. The details of this process depend on your state, but there’s one detail that is certain across all 50 states: You can be fined or arrested if caught driving with an unregistered vehicle. So make sure to take this seriously if you want to enjoy the car you just purchased.
What You’ll Need To Register Your Car
Luckily for you, you won’t be needing any tools for this job. Just your documentation and some transportation to get you to the DMV. The documentation you’ll need consists of:
- Valid driver’s license, state ID, or Social Security card
- A certificate of title or memorandum of title
- Completed vehicle safety inspection (although this is not always required in some counties and states)
- Emissions inspection, if required by the county you’re registering in
- Proof of insurance, as sometimes your application can be randomly selected to prove insurance
- Proof that all the required fees and taxes have been paid
The Task: How To Register Your Car
Prepare, then take care of business. Follow these steps to complete the process.
- Gather all of the required documents. Be sure to check that your identification is up to date.
- Find your local inspections facility and pass the required emissions/safety inspections.
- Get insurance for the vehicle, as again, proof of insurance could be required during the registration process.
- Head down to the DMV to provide the documentation, pay the fees, and be on your way as a registered owner of the nice new car you just bought.
- Hit the road worry-free and enjoy a nice cruise!
FAQs About Registering Your Car
We can’t read your mind, but we want to try to answer any questions you have before you start the job. We’ve selected common points of confusion from our experience, as well as commonly asked questions from popular search results. We answered those questions below.
Q. Can you register a car without a driver’s license?
A. Whether you have a caregiver, designated driver, or chauffeur, you can register a car without a driver’s license. You can even purchase car insurance without a license.
Q. How much does it cost to register a car?
A. This is a tough one to answer, because it really depends on your state, as well as a few other factors. To find out a concrete answer, take a look at your state’s DMV website. Most have a definitive answer based on various factors. For this example, though, we’ll use Ohio. Here it costs about $31 for base fees, including plates. If you want to get vanity plates, the cost will increase a bit. You will likely also face a small agency fee, as well as a credit card/debit card fee. It’s not the most expensive fee in the world, but it can add up, so remember to do your research before heading into your local DMV.
Q. Can you transfer your registration to a new car?
A. You can transfer your registration only if you move to a different state, or want to use the license plate from a previous car.
Learn More From This Helpful Video Tutorial
We know many people prefer video over text, so we pulled this concise video guide explaining how to register your vehicle. The video below explains the overall content of this article, but it is based at a DMV in Denver. If you have any questions regarding your specific state, we recommend searching through YouTube for videos that explain details for where you’re located.
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