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Please help me register my wheels!!
June 19, 2012 5:59 PM   Subscribe

I really need help registering my car in CA. I realize questions like this have been asked before, but I would really appreciate guidance about what to do in my (not very snowflakey) circumstance.

I moved to CA from NY/FL last year. My FL registration on the car is expiring in July, and I would like to go ahead and register it in california and get a california drivers license. My questions are as follows:

1. The car is registered in my dad's name. He, kind soul that he is, is willing to gift it to me using a form I obtained from my dealer. Will this settle the matter, so that I can register it here in CA, or are there other steps I should take? (It currently has the FL tags on it).

2. I got the car smoged in January. Have I waited too long for this to be valid? (The car in question is an rx-8 with less that 50k miles on it, so it smogs just fine). Should I get that redone before I head to the DMV?

3. What exactly do I need to bring to the DMV and is there anything I can do to make the process faster? Do I need to make an appointment? If there are not appointment times soon, can I just go and wait? Will I need to take the test for my license the same day I register?

I realize similar questions have been asked before, but I am a young adult and this is stressing me out and I just want to make sure I have everything. I appreciate your time and thank you for your help.
posted by afterdark to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
 
Do you have or can you afford to get AAA? They will handhold you through the registration process (and do it at one of their locations rather than the DMV).

You have 30 days after you get your license to register your car. As far as we could tell you don't *have* to get your license first, but again AAA can answer you.

Get AAA. It's worth it.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:10 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Not sure about the process here, but is your dealer a California dealer? Because they can probably take care of the registration for you for a fee.

2. Unfortunately, I can't answer this (drive a hybrid).

3. Have you been to the DMV website yet because they have a checklist for what you should bring & forms you can fill out in advance. My memory is fuzzy but I believe the title info & proof of insurance were the two big things you need. You should make an appointment. I believe they accept walk-ins, but it will be a huge waste of your time. Even with an appointment there is a fair amount of waiting. If I recall correctly, appointments were available within a week of when I was checking, and, if I wasn't picky which location I went, there were appointments available sooner. I don't know if you can take the test & complete the car registration on the same day. I went in for my driver's test first and then made a separate appointment for my car registration. I would think you would need your California driver's license to register the car, but am not 100% sure.

I don't know if any of this has been helpful. I will tell you that it was all much easier than I thought it was going to be, and as a not-so-young adult, I was very stressed out about it, too. On preview, I just saw Lyn Never's response & I, a AAA member myself, had no idea they offered that service but that is an excellent suggestion. Start with AAA & go from there.
posted by katemcd at 6:17 PM on June 19, 2012


You don't have to make an appointment, but it's much faster if you do. Schedule an appointment online and you specify what you need to do, e.g. registration and/or license. Since you have a driver license already, you just need to take the written test.

They also have details on the web site about what you need to bring.
Details for getting a license
Details for registering your car
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 6:17 PM on June 19, 2012


The 30 day clock to register your car in CA starts when you move to the state, not when you get your CA license. And I think you also have only 30 days to get a CA license after moving here. They have high fees for not doing it within those timeframes. Many, many, many people do not comply with those dates, and obviously it's to some extent an honor system. I of course would never suggest someone lie on an official form. But if for some reason one were planning to do so, I wouldn't recommend bringing in a smog test from January that shows you've been in the state for over six months without registering your car here.
posted by primethyme at 7:17 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


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