How to Get New Car Registration
If you didn't get around to registering your new car, then you should do it as soon as possible to help avoid problems and headaches later if you are pulled over without it. You don't want to be caught driving without valid registration and get hit with a violation and fines.
Car registration is important as it helps provide proof of ownership and registration within your state. Without a registered vehicle, you are subject to a violation and possibly impounded if the offense is very high.
Registering your vehicle with the DMV is easy, fast, and simple. There are some costs involved but they are minimal.
The only other cost involved is sales tax if the amount was not taken at the close of the sale. If you purchased from a private owner, then you will need to pay at the DMV.
Registration is required for insurance purposes, so make sure you register your new car before you drive away from the dealership and if you purchased from a private party, register as soon as possible.
TIP: You also need to register your vehicle within 30 days of purchase, before your temporary license plate expires. And if you forget to renew your tag, you may end up paying hundreds of dollars in fines.
But don't worry, we've got you covered. We'll tell you everything you need to know about registering your new car.
What You Need for Registration:
Here is a quick rundown of what you need to bring with you to the DMV:
- Proof of Ownership - Title of Car or Power of Attorney from Bank who Holds the Title
- Valid Driver's License
- Bill of Sale for Sales Tax Purposes
- Valid Insurance Card with Policy Number
- Payment (Check, Cash, Credit Card or Debit Card)
- Smog Certificate ( for California Residents)
TIP: These are the most common documents you are required to have. You must have a physical copy of all the documents. Photos on your PHONE are not accepted. I learn the hard way.
How to Get New Registration or Replace a Lost One
To obtain new registration, you must provide proof of ownership. This includes a valid driver license or state ID card, a vehicle bill or invoice showing the current owner, a copy of the insurance policy, and a receipt from a DMV office where you purchased the replacement. If you do not have one of those documents, you will still be able to renew your registration online.
Getting a Duplicate Registration
You are replacing a lost registration card, then you should have your license ready, plate number and fill out the correct form. Duplicate registration cards can be obtained from the DMV.
If you lose or damage your registration card, you will need to contact your local DMV office to obtain a replacement.
Obtain New Registration By Mail
Every year, after you successfully registered your vehicle. You will be mailed a renewal form. On the form, you will be able to renew your registration online via online services. Your new registration will arrive a few weeks later. Using online services is the most convenient way in my opinion.
However, if you have any issues with current registration or decide not to renew, just be sure that you are handling all other aspects of the car too. If you remove registration on the vehicle, you should also surrender your plate in order to remove any liability of the car otherwise. Note, you should not operate the vehicle on the public roads if it is no longer registered.
In Person at Your DMV Office
If you are planning to renew your vehicle registration, there are certain things you need to know. Here are some tips to help you avoid problems during the process.
Check the Google Listing for times on when it's busy or when is the best time to make an appointment.
TIP: The best times to set an appointment are usually in the middle of the week and in the mornings. I know from experience, the local DMV in NJ processed dealership inquiries in the afternoon so it's best to avoid the rush and start early. Dealerships handle their docs in batches so you want to avoid busy times.
Fees for Replace your Vehicle Registration
Registration fees vary from state to state. It is typically calculated by the horsepower, type of vehicle and weight of the vehicle. The more the horsepower, the higher the costs. For example, heavy trucks cost more to register. There is typically a cap on the amount.
Please see the NCSL link for average registration fees state by state.
To replace or to get a replacement decal, you must have all three of the following items:
- Your vehicle registration or license plate number
- A valid driver’s license or state ID card
- The vehicle inspection sticker
It can vary from state to state, but these are the essentials for getting registration.
If you do not have one of these items, you cannot replace your vehicle registration or plate. If you want to replace your vehicle registration, you must provide proof of ownership. For example, you could show a bill of sale, a car loan agreement, or a lease agreement. A photocopy of your insurance policy or auto repair invoice is not sufficient documentation.. You will need to bring originals and the DMW will make their own copies.
For more information about replacing your vehicle registration at your local DMV, please check with your local office.
How to Get Replacement Registration for Lease Vehicles
Contact your leasing company to see whether you can register your car while still under contract. If you are unable to do so, it might mean you must pay off the remainder of your lease term plus interest. This could cost hundreds of dollars.
Here is what you need if your car is leased:
- Name of person leasing vehicle. A statement authorizing lessees to sign an application.
- VIN Number (Vehicle Identification), Year, Make and Model.
- Original copy of the POA (Power of Attorney) that states the name of the lessor and lessee.
- Insurance ID card or receipt from previous registration or title transaction is required.
- Payment for Fee. It varies depending on location.
Your registration will expire one year from the date of issue unless you choose to extend it.
How to Handle Lost or Stolen Vehicle Registrations
If you lose or find a vehicle registration, it needs to be reported to your local police department. If you are unable to locate the document, contact your DMV. The DMV will not handle lost or stolen documents. You must report the issue to your local law enforcement agency. The DMV will only replace registrations.
A Final Word
Just a reminder, registering your vehicle is a very simple process. In fact, it couldn't be easier than filling out a form online. However, it does require a bit of patience, especially if you're trying to register a new vehicle.
Once you've got your documents together, you'll need to pay a small fee to register your vehicle. This usually costs between $20 - $90 depending on the state you live in and the vehicle being registered.
Once you've paid, you'll receive a receipt which you can keep safe in case you ever need to prove ownership later on.
Now that you've registered your vehicle, you'll receive a renewal notice every year. Depending on the state you live, this can either be done automatically online or through the mail. If problems arrive, you can schedule an appointment for your local DMV. Either way, it shouldn't take too long, and it's definitely worth doing if you plan on driving anywhere regularly.
Here in NJ, when you register a vehicle, you also obtain the license plates as well.
Good luck and let us know if you have any other questions, simply post in the comments.