Owning a car is a big deal, so it’s no wonder there’s so much documentation attached to it. There’s the driver’s license, the license plate, and the insurance, to name a few. And then there’s the registration, the most baffling necessity of all. What do these pocket-sized cards and flashy stickers do, and why do you need them? If you want to know what car registration is and why it’s important, find the answer here.
Car Registration: What Is It?
If you live in the U.S., you must register your car with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Department of Transportation. Your car’s registration connects your vehicle to you and the state you live in and confirms that it’s road-legal.
How Does It Work?
Whenever you purchase a new car, move to a new state, or your current registration expires, you need to apply for a new registration either in-person or online. Depending on your state, it typically costs between $30 to $50 to register a car. If this is your first time registering your vehicle, you’ll need to present several documents, including your driver’s license, car title, proof of payment, and proof of insurance. For a renewal, your vehicle identification, license plate, and driver’s license numbers will usually suffice. Once your application gets approved, you’ll receive a registration card to pocket and a registration sticker to place on your car.
Why Does It Matter?
Why does car registration matter? There are a few reasons why this simple document is so essential. For one, it’s an incredibly useful tool for the government. They use it to track criminals, and they also use it to assess individuals’ yearly taxes. It’s also a valuable tool for you to have on hand. If you get pulled over, most officers will ask to see your registration to prove that you’re the car’s owner. If you can’t provide it, you could get in big trouble! Furthermore, if you want to sell your vehicle, you’ll need an active registration to pass to the new owner. Selling a car with an expired registration for on-road use is illegal.
If you own a car, registering it is essential! Remember to register any new vehicles with your local DMV and keep up with your annual or biennial renewals.