A smog check is not required on a title or pink slip transfer or vehicle registration renewal if the vehicle's biennial smog certification was submitted to the DMV within 60 days prior to the transfer date.
Also, smog certifications for California vehicle registration or title transfer are not required for any motor vehicle that is 4 or less model years old.
Do I Need Auto Insurance? The California vehicle registration process can not be complete without auto insurance. Minimum 15/30/5 auto insurance is required. The first two numbers in 15/30/5 mean, in an accident each person injured can receive a maximum of up to 15,000 dollars with 30,000 dollars total allowed per accident to all parties involved. The last number refers to the total coverage per accident for property damage in California; in this case 5,000 dollars.
STEP 2. You have 10 Days to Register your New Vehicle. Department of Motor Vehicles transfer & CA DMV registration fees are due within 10 days of the vehicle sale or transfer date, or 10 days from the day you establish residency or employment in California. An exact amount of vehicle registration fees can only be calculated when you submit your application by mail or make an appointment at your local DMV branch office.
Registration penalties are assessed if payment is not received by the DMV within 30 days of the sale, or past 10 days of moving to California, or establishing employment. If multiple sales occur before the DMV is notified, a separate transfer fee is collected for each sale when the application for transfer is received by the Department of Motor Vehicle. Fees may include registration penalty.
STEP 3. Protect your Liability. Complete a Notice of Title Transfer and Release of Liability Form. The seller is responsible for reporting the change of ownership and registration to DMV within 5 days from the date of sale. After the DMV updates this information, you will be cleared from future liability on the vehicle. The purchaser is responsible for reporting the change of ownership to DMV within 10 days from the sale date.
California Vehicle Registration Renewal - Refer to your DMV paperwork. Locate the smog check and auto insurance requirement sections. Make sure you satisfy these requests before sending in your vehicle registration renewal payment. A smog check is due once every two years. Smog check results are electronically sent to the DMV by the smog station where your car was tested. It is not necessary to visit a DMV office to complete your car's registration renewal process.
The entire process can be handled by mail or online.
Lost Vehicle Registration, Tags, or Stickers - If you have lost or misplaced your vehicle's registration or expiration stickers (tags), you will need to apply for duplicates. Complete the Application for Duplicate Registration Form.
Lost Vehicle Title - If you have lost or misplaced your vehicle's title (pink slip) you will need to apply for a duplicate. Download and complete the Application for Duplicate Title Form.
When filling out either of the registration or title applications above, do not forget to include:
- Owner's full name.
- Owner's current address.
- Owner's driver license number.
- Vehicle's license plate number.
Along with the Duplicate Title or Registration Forms, you will need to complete a Statement of Facts Form explaining what happened to the original title, tags, or registration.
Process by Mail or In Person - You may submit registration applications in person by making an appointment at your local DMV branch office, or by mailing in to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
For questions or concerns you may contact the DMV at (800) 777-0133.