How to Renew a Car Registration

Vehicle registration renewal is required each time your car registration is due to expire, or has expired. As a senior driver, you should renew car registration materials in order to avoid driving without a valid registration, since expired car registration is not acceptable for legal driving. There are many methods available for DMV vehicle registration renewal for seniors, which simplify the process for drivers in various circumstances. The options available to you may vary based on where you live. Below, you will learn how to renew car registration documents, as well as the different methods available for DMV registration renewal.

The Different Vehicle Registration Renewal Processes Available to Seniors

Senior vehicle registration renewal can be accomplished in a number of ways. However, options for renewing car registration vary by state. The most common available methods for renewing senior car registration are the following:

  • Renewing in person
  • Renewing online
  • Renewing by mail
  • Renewing via phone

While most states offer senior car registration renewal in person at DMV offices, it is also important to be aware of other methods. You may need to renew car registration online, for example, if you will be outside of your home state for an extended timeframe, and will not have time to renew your registration. All states allow you to renew car registration ahead of expiration, although how early you can renew varies. Therefore, you may be able to renew your vehicle registration before you leave the state. If not, you should find out what remote methods, such as online or by mail, are available in your state.

You should renew expired car registration if you did not renew before the expiration. However, it is best to avoid car registration expiration, altogether. In some states, senior drivers are chosen at random to be medically reexamined for driving fitness. These medical examinations often take place before car registration renewal. These medical exams include vision and physical tests, handled by approved medical providers. The vision test, specifically, may be offered as a DMV test. In some cases, you will be unable to renew vehicle registration materials if the medical examination finds that you do not meet state physical or vision standards.

Renewing car registration for seniors is usually not an unexpected requirement. Most drivers receive a DMV registration renewal notice ahead of time. This may come in the form of an email, a phone call or a by-mail notification. You should also be aware that to renew expired car registration, i.e., to renew late, may cost you an extra fee. Note that to avoid long lines during vehicle registration renewal, you can call your local DMV office ahead of time to see if appointments are available.

Steps for How to Renew a Senior Car Registration

To renew your senior car registration, you will need to follow the appropriate steps of the method you are using. For example, if you plan (and are eligible) to renew car registration online, you will need to go to the appropriate website and have the right documentation on hand. The following are some items to gather when renewing car registration online:

  • Your car registration license plate number
  • The title number on your Certificate of Title
  • Your car insurance information
  • Payment information, such as a credit card number or routing and account numbers for a bank account
  • Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Part of your Social Security Number
  • Proof of residency in your state
  • A printer, or access to a printer, to print off the registration documents (some states will mail your registration documents after online renewal)

Download our free, informative guide to review more required items necessary for vehicle registration renewal.

Senior vehicle registration renewal may also require you to provide emissions inspection documents, such as smog certifications. To renew car registration documents in such states, you will need to obtain an inspection from an approved party and have the information on hand when you go to renew. The process for renewing your car registration online is usually straightforward: enter necessary information about your vehicle, confirm that all information is correct, provide payment information for any required fees, accept the terms and print off your receipt (as well as your registration documents, in some cases). Many of the same documents required for online vehicle registration renewal are the same documents required in-person at your local DMV. Whichever method you choose, you should bring as many potentially relevant documents as possible to ensure that you have all the information you need to provide.

Note that if you are paying for car registration renewal online or in person using your routing and account number, you can find these numbers on a check from your bank. If you are paying for registration renewal by credit card, make sure that your state’s DMV accepts your credit card type. Most major credit cards are accepted by most DMVs, however not all cards are accepted at all times. You should also find out if you are eligible for a reduced senior car registration renewal fee. For example, in some states, certain retired persons are eligible to pay only a processing fee, rather than the entire vehicle registration renewal fee. Download our comprehensive guide to read more about DMV fees.