How to Renew a Car Registration in California

Completing a vehicle registration renewal in California is important for drivers who have a car registration that is about to expire. DMV vehicle registration renewal is crucial for drivers in the state, because it is required to legally operate a vehicle. If a driver is found without valid registration, he or she may be subjected to fines or other legal actions, including a driver’s license suspension. There are several ways to renew car registration in CA with the DMV, making it a simple and quick task for drivers to complete when needed. If a car registration renewal date is fast approaching, drivers can choose their preferred methods of renewal and complete the process before the car registrations expire. To learn more about renewing car registration, the methods available and the information needed to successfully complete a renewal, review the following sections.

Methods to Renew Expired Car Registration in California

Drivers looking into how to renew car registration in California may think they need to visit the local DMV office in person to complete the process. However, auto registration renewal can also potentially be completed online without a visit to a local office, if all information is available and the driver has access to a computer. Furthermore, the renewal of vehicle registration in CA can also be completed by mail for drivers who do not have computer access and do not want to visit the local DMV office. By mailing away the proper forms and payment, car registration renewal can be successfully completed without an office visit, because the DMV sends back the updated registration and license plate sticker to the customer’s mailing address on file. Before expired car registration is approved for renewal, a car owner’s record will be reviewed by the DMV. Outstanding violations and parking tickets must be paid before an updated registration is sent to the applicant.

If a driver chooses to renew car registration online, he or she should be able to pay registration renewal fees with a credit card or bank account number, since these are the only ways to complete the process successfully. Without registration fee payment, the car registration renewal will not be completed and the registration may expire and become invalid. Owners who choose to renew a car registration online will not have to pay any additional fees. An expired auto registration can subject a driver to legal action taken by law enforcement, such as a suspended driver’s license or penalties and fines. To learn more about the different convenient methods that can be used to renew a car registration, download our comprehensive online guide.

Information Needed to Renew Expired Car Registration in CA

When attempting to renew an expired car registration in California, a driver is responsible for providing identification and vehicle information to the DMV. When renewing CA vehicle registration, a car owner must be able to provide the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and proof of current insurance on the vehicle. Even if a driver decides to renew a car registration online, these pieces of information will be requested before the process can begin.

In addition to vehicle and insurance information, every method to renew car registration in California also requires the car owner to pay the corresponding registration renewal fees. The specific fees due to the DMV for auto registration renewal may vary, depending on the type of vehicle and the type of registration being renewed. It is important for drivers attempting to renew vehicle registration to consult with a DMV professional to confirm the fees due and the acceptable payment methods before visiting the office or mailing in paperwork for renewal. When completing online car registration renewal, car owners will need to be able to complete electronic payment and document submission. Failure to do so will require the car owner to complete the car registration renewal by mail or in person at a local DMV location.

To renew car registration online, by mail or in person, a vehicle may also be required to have a valid smog certificate on file with the DMV. The California car registration renewal notice sent from the DMV before the registration expires will indicate if a smog certificate is required. If a smog certificate is required for renewal of car registration, the car owner can still pay registration fees but will not receive updated renewal documents until the smog certificate is successfully obtained.

Steps in the Car Registration Renewal Process in California

To renew expired car registration in California, a car owner must first gather the documents needed to complete the process, including vehicle information and payment for registration fees. When renewing vehicle registration online, the registration renewal process can only be completed if the car owner has insurance through a company that can electronically report updated coverage to the DMV.

When renewing vehicle registration in CA by mail or in person, the car owner must be prepared to present any requested documentation, including proof of insurance, identification and payment for fees. After providing pertinent identification for the vehicle and owner, the car owner can complete the process by paying the respective registration renewal fees and offering all documentation as requested. Once car registration renewal is complete, the car owner should expect to receive the updated registration document and license plate sticker shortly, unless otherwise instructed by the DMV. Car owners who do not plan to drive their vehicles and do not need a car registration renewal with the state or a valid license plate may be interested in applying for the Planned Non-Operation (PNO) option. This option is less expensive than a vehicle registration renewal in California, but a filing fee is still due once this option is successfully filed by the car owner.