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Registering your car. Even though it’s something everyone has to do, it’s still surrounded by a fair bit of mystery. Whenever you go to the DMV to register a vehicle, even though you’ve thoroughly prepared, there’s still that doubt in the back of your mind that you’ve done something wrong and you’re about to waste a bunch of time. With a few tips, though, you’ll be more prepared with the right materials so you can get your car registered successfully the first time.
If you’re registering for the first time, it’s crucial that you have the title of the vehicle available. If you don’t have the title, you can order a duplicate title to be sent to you. However, that process can take 4-6 weeks, depending on your locale. Without the title, very little can be done, as that is the true legal document that proves your ownership of the vehicle and allows the employees at the DMV to issue your registration.
Most car registrations include some type of property tax based on the value of the vehicle. When you go to renew registration, if you haven’t paid these taxes in past years, you won’t be able to renew your registration until you pay them. One common mistake people make is not transferring an old vehicle, boat, or trailer out of their name after they sell it, causing it to continue to accrue property taxes in their name, even though they no longer own it. Be aware of your tax situation to avoid any costly surprises when you go to renew.
If you’re registering your car from out-of-state, you may be required to have your vehicle inspected. This helps the DMV ensure that no grossly unsafe cars are being licensed in the state they oversee. Make sure your headlights, taillights, horn, windshield wipers, and other basic safety equipment are all functioning properly so you can pass the test and get your vehicle registered quickly.
When it comes to legal paperwork, process is everything. Since titles and registrations are both legal documents, it’s crucial that you follow the correct process to ensure you can complete your registration. One problem that’s often encountered is not having the correct signatures. Even one missing or out-of-place signature can prevent you from successfully registering your vehicle. If you’re able, try to head to the DMV ahead of time on a day they’re not as busy to have them mark exactly where you need to have the documents signed. That way, there’ll be no surprises when you go back later.
When dealing with the DMV, keep in mind that they’re simply executing the laws for your state regarding the titling and registration of motor vehicles. If something seems unusual, try to gather as much information as you can about what went wrong so you can correctly it quickly and completely. Remember, the agents at your DMV office do not have any say in how the laws are executed, so do your best to remain patient with them to help the process go more smoothly for everyone involved.