Having a car registered with the California DMV is the law and something that you should take very seriously. If you are a resident of this great state, then you will need to make sure that you stay in compliance with all of the laws that are established. For some people, remembering when their registration renewal is due is difficult, which is why California makes it easy by sending out notices. The notices that they send out will contain the following information.

  • The date that the tag expires
  • The fee that you have to pay
  • The information about your vehicle
  • The emissions requirements that you have
  • The late fees

Once you get this notice, you will need to figure out which method of renewal is right for you.

Going in person to renew the car registration

If you would rather go in person to renew your registration, you will have no problems. Here is how you can go about renewing the registration in person at your local DMV.

  • The first thing you will need is the renewal notice you received
  • Your California issued driver’s license
  • Show that all delinquent fees that may be present have been paid
  • Pay the fees that you owe

Getting the registration renewed online

Some people prefer to handle business like this online due to the convenience that is offered. Here is how you can renew the registration on your car online.

  • Go to the DMV website for California
  • Have the last five digits of your VIN
  • Get proof of insurance on file with the DMV
  • Get a smog test performed beforehand
  • Pay your fees

Handling it over the phone

If you would rather call to handle this process, then here are the steps that you will need to take.

  • Call 800-921-1117
  • Have the VIN of your car handy
  • Have your auto insurance on file with the DMV
  • Pay what you owe in registration renewal fees

Putting it in the mail

Some people are more traditional and would rather handle all of their business by mail. You will need to have your registration notice and proof of both insurance and smog inspection to send. Below is the address you can mail your forms to.

Vehicle Registration Operations
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

The fees you have to pay

The following are the factors that determine what you will have to pay in renewal fees.

  • The year and weight of the vehicle
  • The fee for the plate if a special option is desired
  • The fee charged by the county you live in

Emissions and smog testing

Before you are able to get your registration renewed, you will have to get a smog and emissions test. There are a number of locations that can give these tests. To find out more about this process, be sure to visit the California DMV website.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Renew Your Car Registration in California and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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