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. can help you complete your California car registration process quickly and conveniently. 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. automates the registration process and you can find all the information, tips, tricks, and forms online for easy processing. With, you can access all the information you need, right from your home or office, at your own convenience by clicking here.


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.

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