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Registration renewal at the California DMV

Once yearly the California motorist must renew their registration with the state for the vehicle they drive. Something that is heavily taxed when late and evident to all when expired.

Obviously the technical age being upon us makes it a more manageable task to accomplish with plenty of information on the web to answer questions.

DMV series

Renew your registration online

Perhaps the easiest option requires no interaction with any of the bureaucracy associated with the Department. In order to renew your registration with the California DMV you must have three things:

1) A renewal notice with an RIN, or Renewal Identification Number

2) A smog certificate filed with the DMV

3) A renewal notice showing your currant address or a confirmed change of address within the DMV database.

You can check to see if your county requires a smog check to renew your registration.

Non-operational vehicle registration

A non-operational vehicle is one no one uses, one that cannot do any of the following on public roads or highways:

  • Drive
  • Be towed
  • Be stowed
  • Park
  • Should you decide to put your vehicle in non-operation status it must be done prior to your vehicle registration’s expiration date.

    All you have to do is check the designated box on your renewal notice from the DMV to indicate non-operational status on your vehicles record.

    You will then be expected to pay a PNO fee which should be mailed to the DMV with the appropriate portion of your renewal form.

    Should you find yourself without your renewal form, you may fill out the Reg 102 Form and mail it along with your check or money order to the following address:

    Department of Motor Vehicles
    Registration Operations
    PO Box 942869
    Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

    All those horrible fees

    They seem to multiply so quickly. On your registration you could be expected to pay the following fees:

  • Registration Fee
  • Vehicle License Fee – This one may be tax deductible in CA
  • Weight Fee
  • Special Plate Fee
  • County/District Fee
  • Owner Responsibility Fee
  • Signing document

    Biennial smog inspection

    Anyone residing in the counties which require smog certification for registration must comply to biennial smog inspection and submit their certification with every other renewal.

    If your vehicle is less than six years old you will pay an annual smog abatement fee for its first six years in lieu of the biennial smog certificates.

    California DMV insurance requirements

    Every California driver must carry proof of insurance in their vehicle at all times, gold star if you can find it in under five minutes.

    There are several types of proof found acceptable:

  • Liability insurance for a motor vehicle
  • Proof of a cash deposit with the DMV in the amount of $35,000
  • A self-insured certificate issued by the DMV
  • A bond from a company licensed to do business in the state of California in the amount of $35,000
  • Minimum insurance requirements

  • $15,000 injury / death one person
  • $30,000 injury / death more than one person
  • $5,000 damage to property
  • 16 thoughts on “Registration renewal at the California DMV

    1. Brenda wilkinson

      I would like to know when I renew my registration. Can I renew
      my registration,even if I am still in Virginia working?
      I financed a new 2007 Red Ford focus in California. Could I get the vehicle inspected in Virginia, and are there any fees I need
      to pay?

      Thank you!

    2. AdminPaige Filler Post author

      Hi Tom,

      In order to find out information about your vehicle registration, you’ll have to contact your local DMV.

      They will be able to give you information specific to your state and vehicle.

    3. AdminPaige Filler Post author


      Thanks for noticing the oversight!

      In order to get another RIN issued for your vehicle you’ll have to go to your local DMV and renew in person.

      Next time, hold on to that sucker!

    4. change of address

      I recently moved and I didn’t notice until after I posted my online payment that my form still had my old address. How can I ensure that I will get my ’08 sticker?


    5. Caren

      I’m looking at a copy of a renewal notice. On the bottom (detatch & return) section second row/second series of numbers – is this the stated value of the vehilce?? Thank you in advnace

    6. Karma

      california registration expired september 1, working in florida, how can i get registration in california to transfer to florida when i need smog emmission? car is a lease

    7. Darrin

      My SUV needs a transmision. I can’t pass the smog test without a tranny.

      If I register my vehichle for Non-Operational, can I later change the status back to operational after the repair is done and it passes smog?

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