How to Renew Car Registration in Texas
Motorists must apply for a car registration renewal in Texas once every year before their vehicle’s current registration expires. If a driver’s vehicle registration expires in December of 2019, for instance, motorists must apply for renewal before the last day of December to avoid a penalty fee.
As a reminder to apply for the DMV registration renewal in a timely manner, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) will send vehicle owners a reminder notice card via mail or email.
To renew your registration credentials in the Lone Star State, you can apply online, in person or by mail. However, you may need to complete additional tasks before renewing your registration, such as submitting your vehicle for an inspection.
To learn more about the requirements for a registration renewal, review the information below.
Texas Tag Renewal Application Requirements
You must apply for a DMV car registration renewal before your vehicle’s license plates are scheduled to expire, as requests can take several weeks to process. If you wish to renew registration online, you may apply as early as 90 days in advance.
However, you must apply for renewal in person or by mail if your registration credentials have been expired for more than six months.
Before applying for a license plate renewal in TX, you must submit your vehicle for an inspection at a participating Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) inspection station.
Download our free guide for step-by-step instructions on how to fulfill this requirement.
Once your vehicle passes the inspection, you must present a hard copy of the inspection report when renewing your registration credentials. The TxDMV may also be able to obtain an electronic copy of the report.
If your vehicle’s registration credentials expire before you renew, you can legally operate the automobile for up to five working days without incurring a penalty fee. Once this date has passed, you are subject to traffic citations and fines.
Note: If you lose your car registration close to its expiration date, it may be best to complete the renewal process instead of ordering a duplicate.
How to Apply for a Vehicle Registration Renewal in Texas
You can apply for a Texas DMV auto registration renewal in person, by mail or online, depending on your preferred method. To learn more about each of these application methods, review the sections below.
How to Renew Online
In many cases, you can renew your vehicle’s registration credentials online through the TxDMV’s website. You must provide the last four digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN) and a full license plate number.
When you renew online, you automatically qualify for a small discount on the renewal of your registration materials.
After renewing, you may check vehicle registration status online on the TxDMV’s website. Performing an online car reg check is especially useful if you are waiting to receive new registration stickers or license plates in the mail.
However, you must allow up to three weeks to receive your new registration credentials in the mail after you apply online
When renewing your vehicle’s registration credentials in person, you must visit a county tax office or an approved TxDMV substation, such as a grocery store. You may renew your license plates in person even if you did not receive a renewal notice from the TxDMV.
If you receive a TxDMV registration renewal notice in the mail, you may choose to renew your vehicle’s license plates by mailing your application materials to your local county tax office.
Your renewal notice provides specific application information, including a list of the fees you must pay.
If you do not receive your new license plate stickers after applying by mail, you can check the status of your application by contacting the tax office in the county where you live. To perform a car registration check after applying for renewal by mail, you must be able to provide your vehicle’s license plate number and VIN.
Download our free guide for more information on each application method.