Find answers, information and resources to help you with all your California vehicle registration needs.
Can I Renew My Car's Registration Without a Smog Check?
I received my registration renewal notice and it's asking for a smog check. Can I renew the registration right now, without getting the smog check first? I plan on taking my car in sometime next week, but want to get the renew payment part out of the way. Thanks in advance.
Technically you can't renew your vehicle's registration without a smog check, but you can pay your renewal fees.Allow us to explain... You may pay your vehicle registration renewal fees now without a smog check, but you'll receive your new registration card and sticker after a passing smog check is obtained. The benefit of paying your renewal fees now will be that the DMV will not charge you late penalties if you don't obtain a smog check before your vehicle registration expiration date.
If your registration is close to expiration and there's a chance you might not get the smog check done on time, or the vehicle doesn't pass the smog test for any reason, paying your renewal fees before the DMV deadline will ensure you are not charged any fines or penalties. It's a great way to ensure you don't get penalized when doubting whether your vehicle will pass the smog inspection or if you're experiencing time constraints.
A very important note about paying registration renewal fees through the DMV when your vehicle has not passed a smog check.Give yourself plenty of time... If you intend on renewing your registration through the DMV either by mail or online and before obtaining a smog check, please allow at least 30 days from the date your vehicle passes the smog inspection to receive your new registration card and sticker. This is the amount of time it will take the DMV, after your vehicle receives a smog inspection, for them to clear the RDF (Report of Deposit of Fees) on file and process your vehicle's registration renewal. Clearing an RDF simply means, converting your renewal payment to a completed registration renewal.
What's the fastest way to get my new registration card and sticker after the smog check?If your registration is due to expire soon or for any reason you need to get your new registration card and tag as soon as possible, renew your registration through NeedTags.com for faster service. We will post fees with the DMV now so that you avoid late fees, and mail out your new registration card and sticker on the same-day which you obtain your smog inspection.
Through NeedTags, you will not have to wait the 3 to 4 week period for the DMV to realize you've fulfilled your smog check obligation, to clear your RDF, and place your renewal back in queue for processing. We handle the entire process in one day, and on the same day you let us know you've got the smog check done.
DMV Late Fee ChartFor reference, see the rate chart below for DMV late fees. It's initially not that bad, although any penalty is too much to pay in our opinion. Note, past the 10th day, the fines double.
- 1 to 10 Days Late - Additional 10% vehicle license and weight fee plus $10.00 DMV penalty and $10.00 CHP fee
- 11 to 30 Days Late - Additional 20% vehicle license and weight fee plus $20.00 DMV penalty and $20.00 CHP fee
- 31 Days to 1 Year - Additional 60% vehicle license and weight fee plus $30.00 DMV penalty and $30.00 CHP fee
- 1 Year to 2 Years - Additional 80% vehicle license and weight fee plus $50.00 DMV penalty and $50.00 CHP fee
- More Than 2 Years - Additional 160% vehicle license and weight fee plus $100.00 DMV penalty and $100.00 CHP fee