Fast and Easy Vehicle Registration

Is it time to renew your California registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? If you need to renew your registration and you are not required to pass the smog or vehicle emissions test, you can renew your registration fast and easy without driving to the DMV and without waiting in lines. You can register your vehicle online quickly and without any hassles.

When it is time to renew, you can process your renewal from any location where you have Internet access. With the online option, you can register any motor vehicle, and the system will indicate applicable fees for the type of vehicle you are registering. You pay through a secure checkout process using a major credit card. If you are short on cash, you have the option of paying your registration fees using a convenient payment plan of a 3, 6, or 12-month easy payment plan that fits your budget.

Assessment of Additional Fees May Be Required

There are additional fees required for special circumstances. For example, some local California counties or districts assess other fees, and if you have a specialized vanity plate, your licensing renewal will include an additional cost for Specialty Equipment. There is also an additional fee of .65% based on the value of the vehicle, and there could be an additional delinquency fee if you have unpaid tickets or you are required to pay a late renewal fee.

Smog Testing and Emission Control Certification

All vehicles registered in the state of California must pass a biennial emissions and smog test. Required every two years, a note on your renewal notice will indicate if your vehicle must undergo testing. All motor vehicles driving the roads in California must have a biennial test except hybrids, trailers, electric cars or trucks, and motorcycles and there are certain other types of vehicles exempt from testing.

Any vehicle manufactured prior to 1975 is exempt, and any diesel-powered vehicles made before 1997 are also exempt from the mandatory smog and emissions test. If you have a vehicle, less than six years old and you have already paid the required $20 abatement fee or if you drive a motor vehicle powered by natural gas and the vehicle weighs more than 14,000 pounds, your vehicle is exempt.

If you want additional information about the California smog certification program, please go here. This page provides additional information about specific counties that require inspection with registration renewal. If you want to check by zip code, please visit here. You can enter your five-digit California zip code and obtain additional information about smog certification for your specific community.

If Your Vehicle Fails the Inspection

If your vehicle does not pass the emissions test, you will not be able to register your vehicle, and it will be illegal to drive. The DMV in California does not provide technical support should your vehicle not pass the smog and emissions test; however, you will receive a printout outlining what repairs are required. You can then take that report to a vehicle repair shop for service. Once repairs are completed, you can retake the test.