How to Renew Car Registration in Tennessee
You must apply for a car registration renewal in Tennessee before your vehicle’s tag expires. Driving with an expired registration is illegal, and failure to renew on time may result in traffic tickets and late fees. To apply for a DMV registration renewal, however, you must first submit your registered motor vehicle for an emissions inspection. Once it passes this inspection, you may renew your vehicle’s registration credentials in person, online or by mail.
Note: If your registration is lost and is not due to expire soon, you may be able to request a duplicate car registration instead.
Keep in mind that before renewing your registration credentials with the Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR), you may choose to apply for an emissions inspection waiver. Depending on the situation, you may qualify for a waiver in the event of financial hardship.
Learn more about these requirements and the steps you must take to renew your registration credentials by reviewing the sections below.
How to Apply for DMV Car Registration Renewal in Tennessee
After performing your car reg check and obtaining an emissions inspection certificate, you may renew your vehicle’s registration credentials online, in person or by mail, depending on your county.
Not all county clerk offices offer you the opportunity to renew your registration credentials online. If your county does not offer a car registration renewal online, you will have to renew in person or by mail.
Find step-by-step car registration renewal instructions by getting your copy of our in-depth guide.
How to Renew Online
You may renew a registration online in TN if you reside in a county that offers this renewal method. However, you may need to pay a convenience fee if you choose to renew your registration credentials online. Moreover, applying in person at your local county clerk’s office may be a better option for you if your registration credentials are due to expire within the next few days.
When renewing their registrations, many drivers ask, “Can you check vehicle registration status online before renewing your credentials?” If you have any questions about your vehicle’s registration status, you may submit an online request prior to renewing.
If you cannot apply for DOR registration renewal online, you may visit your local county clerk’s office to renew your credentials in person. During your office visit, you must submit your emissions inspection certificate, payment for the annual registration fee and DOR renewal notice if you received a reminder card from the department.
If you did not receive a vehicle registration renewal notice from the DOR, you may present your car or truck’s current registration certificate or any other document that displays its vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate number.
If you prefer to apply for TN auto registration renewal by mail, you must forward your DOR reminder card, emissions inspection certificate and payment for any applicable fees directly to your local county clerk’s office. If you have any questions about the documents you must provide, you may contact the county clerk’s office before mailing in your application.
Tennessee Tag Renewal Emissions Inspection Requirements
Before applying for a license plate renewal in TN, you must first bring your registered vehicle to an official emissions inspection station. Typically, your vehicle may undergo an emissions inspection as early as 90 days before your registration credentials are due to expire.
To complete your car reg check and emissions inspection, you may visit any official emissions inspection station in the state, regardless of the county in which your vehicle is registered. Once your motor vehicle passes the inspection, you must submit your certificate of compliance when renewing your registration credentials with the Tennessee DOR.
If your financial circumstances help you qualify for an emissions inspection waiver, you will be able to renew your registration whether or not your vehicle passes an emissions test. Depending on the situation, you may qualify for a hardship waiver or repair expenditure.
Learn more about renewing your vehicle registration in Tennessee by downloading our free step-by-step registration guide.