How to Register a Car – Easy As 1, 2, 3

So you’ve just bought a new car and you need to register it, but aren’t sure where to begin or what to do? Well you have certainly come to the right place then. We have all been where you are right now and are happy to point you in the right direction.

I really wish someone had written this article when I was first registering my car; it doesn’t have to be complicated! Anyway, we wanted to help. Here are the very simple steps on how to register a car.

Find Out Where to Go


The first thing you need to do when registering your car is to find out where you need to go. Some states require you to register your car in official offices other than the Department of Motor Vehicles. Keeping this in mind you will want to know where the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation or Motor Vehicle Administration is located depending on what the regulations are in your state.

Once you have determined where you need to go, you will want to find out what their hours are, if you need an appointment and how much it will cost. It is also very important to get detailed instructions on car registration procedures to ensure that you are fully prepared before going into the office. This will save you the time and frustration of having to return should you not be fully prepared. Having all of your ducks in a row is certainly the way to go about this.

Gather Your Documents

Now that you know what you will need to get your car registered it is time to gather all of those super important documents. One very important and again time saving thing to remember is that most official agencies require that you bring the originals or at very least notarized copies of the documents needed. This can be a bit tricky if you don’t have them all on hand and it is a good idea to plan ahead in case you have to request new documents or get something notarized.

When registering your car you will need several pieces of personal identification to validate that you are who you say you are as well as being the official owner of the vehicle in question. You will definitely need to have your driver’s license or state ID card as well as your social security card. Proof of residency will likely be mandatory and may be accepted in the form of a mortgage statement, rental agreement or utility bill. Lastly, you will need to show that you have current auto insurance in the form of you insurance card, policy or by logging into the company’s app from your smartphone if possible.

Complete Necessary Paperwork

Once you have waited for your turn in the never ending line that you will inevitably encounter at the DMV you will be given a registration form to fill out. This form may be available on the office’s official website with the option to print it. This is a great option and will allow you to fill it out beforehand in hopes of speeding up the process.

When filling out the registration form you will want to have any identifying information about the vehicle you are registering handy. You will need to know the year of the car, the make and model, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and possibly the current mileage. We suggest bringing along the car title and any purchasing paperwork to cover all the bases too.


Pay the Registration Fee

Alright so you’ve done all of the hard work of gathering all the needed documents, getting to the registration office and filling out all of the needed forms. Awesome! You are in the home stretch and nearly have a registered vehicle. The next step can be a bit painful to your wallet, but there is not any way around it. It is now time to pay your registration fees.

Registration fees will vary in each state, city and/or county. They will also likely depend on the value of the car and/or the price you paid for the car if you bought it outright. You will be required to pay your fees the day you intend to register, so come prepared. It is a good idea to verify the payment methods available beforehand as well. You do not want to get this far only to learn that you can only pay by cash when you only have a check or debit card on you. Trust us, we’ve been there.

Keep Up With Registration Renewals

You’ve done all the hard work and now you officially have a registered vehicle! The hard part is over and now all you have to do is keep up with it by renewing your registration. The renewal date is almost always the month of your birth with a deadline of the last day of the month. Make sure you get your registration renewed in time to avoid a hefty ticket fee.

Each state will have different requirements in regards to renewing your registration. Most states require you to renew each year, but we have heard of some states offering a two year renewal option. If you can do this, go for it. Save yourself the yearly headache of having to sit in the registration office. You may also want to check the registration office’s online option to see if renewing that way is possible.

Get Organized

Lastly, but of no less importance, is the necessity to keep any and all receipts, registration materials and renewal documentation. Saving all of these materials serves as proof of registration if you are pulled over for a traffic violation, makes renewing your registration faster and keeps a record so you can claim it on your taxes at the end of the year.

It is very important to also keep a copy of your current registration in your vehicle. This and a copy of your current auto insurance policy are usually requested by law enforcement at various times. Not to mention the fact that most states have made it a law to keep these two things together in any vehicle. It is better to be organized than get a ticket.