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North Carolina Car Registration Renewal

Vehicle Registration Online Services Guide

How to Renew A North Carolina Car Registration

Vehicle owners can apply for NC car registration renewals online or in person at any NC DMV office. You will be required to supply the following documents:

  • Your renewal notice.
  • Proof of completed vehicle inspection.
  • Proof of paid vehicle property taxes.
  • Proof of liability insurance for the vehicle.
  • Payment for the fees.

You can find more information about renewing car registrations in North Carolina below.

When to Renew Your North Carolina Car Registration

The process of renewing car registrations in North Carolina can be completed up to 90 days before the expiration date stated on your registration card or license plate sticker. Vehicle owners will receive an NC DMV vehicle registration renewal notice from the Division of Motor Vehicles before your credential expires. Drivers who do not renew their expired car registrations before or on the designated expiration date will be required to pay a late fee. Although the North Carolina DMV allows car owners to operate their vehicle up to 15 days after the renewal deadline, they will be fined once the grace period has expired should they be found to be operating an unregistered vehicle.

How to Renew Your North Carolina Car Registration

Car owners who need to renew car registrations in North Carolina can do so using two different renewal methods. Drivers can either renew car registration online or complete the car registration renewal process in person by visiting an NC DMV office. Motorists must meet all eligibility requirements and comply with the staggered renewing car registration system set by the DMV. To find out which renewal method suits you best, read the sections below.


Vehicle owners who would like to learn how to renew car registrations in North Carolina online must meet certain DMV eligibility requirements. Every vehicle must be currently registered in NC and have undergone a vehicle inspection no more than 90 days before the date of expiration. The system requires drivers to enter the following information in order to renew car registrations online:

  • The vehicle license plate number.
  • The last five characters of the car title number.
  • The applicant's valid email address.
  • Payment information (credit or debit card).

A receipt confirming the transaction will be sent to the applicant's email address.

Note: If you wish to change your address of residence at the same time you renew your vehicle registration online, your updated registration card will be mailed to the address on file with the DMV.

In Person

When renewing car registrations in North Carolina in person, you must visit an NC DMV office in your county and submit the required documents and fees. The first step to a DMV vehicle registration renewal is to pass a North Carolina vehicle inspection test prior to renewing. Then, the car registration owner must pay all vehicle property taxes and clear any registration stops placed against the vehicle before he or she renews expired car registrations. The NC Division of Motor Vehicles requires all drivers to present a vehicle insurance document, such as a DL-123 form, an insurance card on their name or an insurance binder. Finally, applicants must pay the appropriate NC auto registration renewal fees, based on their county of registration and type of vehicle. Additional safety and emissions inspection fees may be applicable. DMV transactions can be completed using cash, personal checks, money order and credit/debit cards.

Liability Insurance Requirements

To renew a car registration in North Carolina, motorists must have valid auto insurance and present the appropriate proof for it to the NC DMV. According to North Carolina laws, all car owners must have minimum liability insurance in order to operate a motor vehicle on state roads. Thus, the minimum car insurance requirements for private passenger and commercial vehicles are set as follows:

  • For a bodily injury of one individual - $30,000
  • For a bodily injury of two or more individuals - $60,000
  • For property damage - $25,000
  • For commercial vehicles - $750,000

Note: North Carolina laws require underinsured and uninsured drivers to maintain liability insurance, even when the policy limits exceed the minimum vehicle insurance requirements.

Vehicle Registration Fees in NC

North Carolina auto registration renewal fees are based on various factors such as the type of vehicle and the county in which it was registered. Drivers of private passenger vehicles must pay a $36 license plate renewal fee, $13.60 for safety inspection costs and $30 for an on-board diagnostic emissions inspection. Owners of vehicles registered in Wake County must pay $5 to renew car registration, those registered in Randolph must pay $1 and the fee for cars registered in Durham and Orange is set at $15. All North Carolina DMV vehicle registration renewal fees can be paid via credit or debit card, in cash, via money order or by personal checks. For more information on the exact amount of fees you need to pay, contact an NC DMV office in your county.

New North Carolina Resident

New state residents cannot renew car registrations in North Carolina and are required to re-register their vehicle with the NC DMV. Upon establishing residency, drivers must register their vehicle within 30 days. At the appropriate time, new residents can then use the DMV vehicle registration renewal procedure. State laws require newcomers to obtain a North Carolina driver's license before applying for car registration.

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