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All Topics > Registration Renewal > Do I Have To Pay DMV Fees On An Obsolete Diesel Truck?

Do I Have To Pay DMV Fees On An Obsolete Diesel Truck?

Last Updated: 05-29-2022

We have a diesel truck that is now obsolete. It cannot be used in California due to diesel regulations. How should we handle the registration renewal notice? We do not have resources to bring the truck into compliance, so we will be keeping is stored on our property, or try to sell it in another state. What do we need to do to notify DMV our our intentions?


Do not pay DMV renewal fees for a diesel truck you can't drive.

California's diesel truck emissions regulations are getting much tougher... but that's another topic for another day. The current situation calls for us recommending you place your diesel truck under Planned Non-Operation (PNO) status until you decide to sell it out-of-state or maybe even bring it into California compliance.

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Do not pay registration renewal fees if you will not be able to operate it on public roadways in California. From our understanding, the diesel trucks being banned can get by with an engine upgrade; designed to lower emissions. You're diesel truck's year, make, and model might influence your decision on whether it'll be worth your time and money to go the engine change route.

Have you considered placing your diesel truck in PNO status?

PNO stands for Planned Non Operation, meaning you plan on storing and not operating your truck during the next renewal year, and do not wish to pay registration renewal fees; subsequently you are not required to provide liability coverage for the truck either. Just keep in mind, not only may the truck not be driven on public roadways, but it cannot be parked on public property either. In certain jurisdictions, this may include shopping centers, malls, movie theaters and the like.

Can I sell my diesel truck while its under PNO status?

After placing your diesel truck under Planned Non-Operation status you will be able to transact the vehicle, meaning you can sell the truck to a buyer in California or to someone else out-of-state. The truck cannot legally be driven without a permit or reinstated registration. If the truck is not drivable, towing it will obviously be necessary, but no moving permit will be required. If the truck does run and the new owner would like to drive it away, you can ask them to Start a DMV Title Transfer and obtain a temporary moving permit. The entire title transfer process can be handled quickly online.

I want to PNO my diesel truck. What should I do next?

We've written a detailed article titled Everything You Need To Know About A PNO. Please visit the link. It will provide you with, well, everything you need to know about filing a PNO. Keep in mind not all vehicle registrations are eligible for PNO. There is a strict timeline which needs to be followed.

You may request a PNO filing up to 60 days prior to your truck's registration expiration date without penalty (only pay the $22.00 PNO filling fee), or 90 days after the registration expiration date (pay PNO filing late fee). Also keep in mind, if at any time the truck is parked or operated where it may be subject to citation, then full registration fees and penalties for that year become due.

I've decided to sell my diesel truck out of state. Do I have to tell the DMV?

Absolutely. You'll want to immediately (as soon as the purchase occurs) notify the DMV that the truck is no longer your responsibility because it's been sold. You'll need to give the DMV the buyer(s) full details, including where they live; presumably out of state, which is exactly what the DMV needs to know so your Release of Liability is filed correctly. An important fact to note with your Release of Liability request is the odometer reading of your vehicle at the time of sale. 

File your Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (NRL) online here.

Your Release of Liability filing serves as a notice to the California Department of Motor Vehicles that you no longer own the vehicle and as such, liability associated with the vehicle needs to shift from you to the new owner. The completion of this form (mailed or online) must be done within five days after you sell the truck.

When filling the notice (or NRL), you will be required to provide the following details:

1. Detailed description of your truck and this includes the vehicle make, the model year, the vehicle license plate number and the Vehicle Identification Number.

2. The truck’s odometer mileage record at the time of transfer or sale.

3. The date of transfer or sale.

4. The name of the buyer or recipient.

5. Your name (this would be written as the seller's name) and residential address.

Note even after submitting your NRL, your name will remain on the DMV records as the vehicle's previous owner. With a proper NRL filing, liability associated with the vehicle should be removed from you and transferred to the buyer. If you fail to provide the DMV an accurate NRL, your application may not be processed successfully.

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