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California Car Registration Fees and Fee Calculator

Have you recently purchased a new or used car while living in California? Or did you just move to California with your own car? Then it is mandatory to register your car with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To drive a vehicle legally on the roads of California, you need to possess a Certificate of Registration for your vehicle in your name.

However, understanding the California car registration procedures and obtaining the certificate with minimum hassles can be quite a challenging task. provides dedicated services to guide you through the car registration processes.


Use the Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator to calculate your California car registration fee for 2010 or 2011. You can also calculate your California car registration renewal fees. The fee generated from this calculator is an estimate. Actual registration fees may vary due to differences in the information you provide in the online form for calculation and the original records held by the DMV. partner Cartagz can help you complete your California car registration process quickly and conveniently. Cartagz is a solution-provider for even the most challenging DMV issues, such as renewal of registration for vehicles with outstanding parking tickets, replacement of lost vehicle registration certificates and so on. Cartagz automates the registration process and you can find all the information, tips, tricks, and forms online for easy processing. With Cartagz, you can access all the information you need, right from your home or office, at your own convenience.

Vehicle Information
Key your license number
Key last 5 positions, if less than 5 positions, key the full VIN
Home Address Information
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5 digits


The California DMV collects a fee for first time California car registrations and renewals of registration. Several factors are considered while calculating the registration fees.

Owner's State of Residence

The registration fee also depends on where the vehicle owner stays or where the vehicle was purchased. If you want to register an out-of-state vehicle in California, then the registration fees will be higher.

Definition of an Out-of-State Vehicle

  • Vehicle registered outside the state or in a foreign country
  • Vehicle brought into the state by a person who recently moved in
  • Vehicle purchased from another state by a resident
  • Vehicle gifted to a resident of the state from outside the state

Type of Vehicle

The fee also depends on the type of vehicle. The fee varies for different vehicle types, such as automobiles, commercial vehicles, trailers, off-highway vehicles, and vessels (watercraft).

Purchase Price

The purchase price of the vehicle is also taken into account for the California car registration fee calculation.

Special License Plates Used in the Vehicle

California DMV allows the use of special interest license plates for autos, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, and trailers. The privilege of using these special plates comes at an annual special plate fee that needs to be paid during the annual registration renewal.

Late Registration Penalty

If you have purchased a used vehicle you must register it within ten days of the purchase date to avoid late registration fees. If your car is new to California, you must register it within 20 days of the entry date to California to avoid registration fee penalty based on the number of days.

Unpaid Traffic Tickets/Toll Evasion Bail

If you have received a ticket for a traffic violation or toll evasion and haven't paid the bail, then the bail charge plus an additional service charge is collected during registration renewal. This information will be obtained by the DMV from your driving record or vehicle history report that provides the total points level accumulated from the traffic tickets issued. Traffic violations are dictated by the California Vehicle Code which covers traffic laws and rules of the road for the state.

To renew your registration, complete the form at the top of the page.

Reviews of California Car Registration Fees and Fee Calculator

I baught a 1989 ford bronco turns out it had fake tags hasn't been registered sence 2006 is there anything I can do to get out of past due registration fees or am I at a complete loss?

I'm giving my daughter my car but I live in Texas she lives in California. Shes financing the car through her Credit Union.

Is Credit Union purchase required before it's registered in Cali?

Who's responsible for registering the vehicle in Cali?

How much time will this take?

Can I just let my daughter borrow my car until she can finance?

The 2009 fee level was .0065 of the value of the car. Now it is over .0110 of the value of the car. That is almost double. This percentage is not reflected by the calculator. Every year the value of my car is re-taxed. The percentage should decrease as the car gets older, not increase.

do I have to have a smog before I can register my vechile?can I register my vechile if I have unpaid tickets from a different car in the past?

I have a 1966 scotsman travel trailer I purchased with a bill of sale. It has been sitting in the desert for years no registration, no VIN ot tags. How can I register this trailer? in the state of California San Bernardino county

Hello people with knowledge!

I have an old car that has been sitting up in my garage since 2008.

It had some old tickets which I paid them all off.

The car was not running but I did not register it as being inoperable. Now years have passed, can't drive the car because it has no good engin, .

I want to get registration on it or have it listed as inop until I decide what to do with it.

I put a lot into the car, so I do not want to just dump it. The tires alone are worth $400.00. It is a classic Benz, 450 XL.

What do I do now with the DMV???

Thanks a bunch!

I was trying to break out the various registration fees for a new car purchased late in 2010 so I could deduct the appropriate property tax fees from my income tax. The various fees are identified on the initial registration form as 001, 002, 003, etc. This calculator is *&^%$#@! useless for trying to find out what the "license fee (may be an income tax deduction)" is.

I'm looking at buying a car that the owner says had about $300 of unpaid traffic/Parking tickets. Will I have to pay that when I register the vehile in my name



I doubt it because I believe traffic tickets are the responsibility of the licensed driver and parking tickets are the responsibility of the registered car owner therefore the parking ticket would be sent to whoever owned the car during the time the parking ticket was cited. I hope that made any sense to you

Hope u didn't buy the car yet! Wait till the fool pays the tickets, duh!

my son purchased a car from a private party who had not registered the car for several years. Is he responsible for all of the late fees?

Yes, he would be responsible for all the late fees.

I am about to purchase a used car, and I would like to get a rough estimate of what my registration fee will be. Unfortunately, your calculator is asking information that I won't know until I purchase the car, so it's completely useless to me. Why can't you make a calculator where I can just plug in the purchase price, make, and model number without having to jump through these extra hoops?

If buying a used car from a dealership after the vehicle's registration has expired, will I be responsible for DMV late fees?

If you are buying it from a dealer they should register and smog check before completing the sale unless it is sold in 'as is' condition.

How do I transfer my personalized plates to a new purchase used vehicle?

i agree but i would like to get more iinformation on my vehicle i just purchased, i would like to get registration fees

Just run your VIN number and the other required information through the fee calculator above and it will provide you with an estimate of the fees.

So what would I do if I don't have - let's say - the license plate.

I have the same problem like some other people here. I would like to roughly know how much registration fees I have to pay BEFORE I buy a car. It actually has an effect on how expensive my new car maybe. I for example really have no idea if a registration fee for a fairly new car, around USD 15,000.00 would cost. Is it rather USD 500 or even USD 1,500.00???

I believe I read on the dmv website once that the vehicle license for a car worth $25,000 would be around $147 dollars.


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