Temporary tags for transporting a car from TN to CA?
February 19, 2006 10:47 PM   Subscribe

I have a car that has been sitting parked for 6 months in Nashville, TN and the tags have expired. I will be going this week to drive it to my new place in San Jose, CA. I know that I will have to pay a few hundred bucks to register it in CA when I get there and would like to avoid paying to register for a full year in TN when I only need valid pates for a few days. I've done some searching on the TN website and can't find any information if there is any sort of temporary tag (even 10 days is more than enough) that would get me through. Does anyone have experience with this? Any ideas on what my options might be?
posted by aaronh to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total)
Are you able to pay to register it in CA before you pick it up from TN?

As long as it's registered in some state, and you have a temp. registration slip proving you've paid for it - I don't think there should be a problem. Just make sure it's registered in CA first and get the temporary tag from them rather than from TN.
posted by twiggy at 10:51 PM on February 19, 2006

From the Tennessee DMV Web Site:
Question: Can I get a second Temporary Operation Permit?

Answer: You could possibly get one if:

(1) Original emission testing was taken prior to registration expiration and receipts for repairs or a repair bill can be provided (related to emissions repairs) dated after the issuance of the first T.O.P.

Items to bring are:
- Original failure papers
- Current failure papers
- Repair bill or receipts for items purchased to repair emissions problem
- Ownership papers
- Driver license
- $5.50 fee

(2) Have title problems.

Items to bring are:
- Ownership papers
- Proof that something is being done to clear up problem
- Driver license
- $5.50 fee

Bring all paperwork to:

Title and Registration Division
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, TN 37243-8050

A check will be done to determine if the law allows an additional temporary tag. If you need further information or do not fall under the two above categories, contact our office at (615) 741-3101 (ext. 157).

This leads me to believe, naturally, that you can get a FIRST temporary operation permit.

Try calling the number on the bottom and asking one of the kind folks there what the story is.

(Arizona lets us do it online and print the thing out. Tres useful.)
posted by disillusioned at 10:57 PM on February 19, 2006

By the way, not to digress too much, but I hope your car has been started sometime in the last 6 months. Otherwise you may be in for more headaches than just needing to get temporary plates.
posted by autojack at 11:18 PM on February 19, 2006

Register the car in California before you go to Tennessee. Make sure you get some sort of permanent or temp tag. Put it on the car and drive to California.
It's just that simple.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:13 AM on February 20, 2006

Thanks for the info from the TN DMV. I swear I searched all over that site and couldn't find anything close to that. I must be more tired than I thought. :)

The problem with California is that I'm not there yet. I'm moving from Boston to California so I'd have to it by mail or something without proof of residence. I think I'm going to see what I can do with this TN stuff. Of course, since it's President's Day, I'll have to wait until to tomorrow.

As a side note, the car has been started in 6 months. I had been trying to sell it and a friend has shown it to a few people in the interim. It's not been on much, but it has been used. I'm going to have it thoroughly looked at before I hit the road.
posted by aaronh at 8:20 AM on February 20, 2006

I usually just replicate a current tag sticker on my computer and print it out and glue it on and drive carefully til I reach my destination!
posted by lee at 8:20 AM on February 20, 2006

autojack writes "By the way, not to digress too much, but I hope your car has been started sometime in the last 6 months. Otherwise you may be in for more headaches than just needing to get temporary plates."

Battery at worst if it's 4+ years old. I only drive my '66 in the summer, I don't take any special precautions when I park it, and it fires up and drives ok from day 1 of the new season.
posted by Mitheral at 8:28 AM on February 20, 2006

Lee, I'd thought about doing the same kind of thing but it seemed worse to get pulled over with a fake sticker than without getting a new sticker all together. One is negligence, one is fraud. I think fraud is probably more punishable.
posted by aaronh at 9:14 AM on February 20, 2006

That would be felony forgery in many states...
posted by reverendX at 9:24 AM on February 20, 2006

Wouldn't the FIRST temporary permit be the one that was used to get the car off the lot?
posted by MeetMegan at 9:36 AM on February 20, 2006

Honestly, I wouldn't even bother. Unless you drive like a turkey your chances of getting pulled over for something like registration are pretty slim. Even then, it's not a moving violation. It's usually just a $10 fix-it ticket.

I see people driving around here with registration that expired 2-3 years ago. Heck, looking out of my office window I can see a car that has tags that expired in July 2005.

Years ago when i moved from CA to WA, I had expired tags. The DMV up there said "Doesn't matter, you're registering it here now."
posted by drstein at 10:27 AM on February 20, 2006

DrStein, I've been thinking about that. I don't drive like a turkey and I figure as long as I don't get pulled over in TN, no one will care that much.

The problem is, I know someone who did get pulled over for an expired tag in TN (it expired a week before they were moving to another state). According to the officer (who ended up giving only a warning), if they give you a ticket for an expired tag, it's a mandatory court appearance. Doesn't matter if you pay it or what. Sounds fishy to me but I can't seem to locate any definitive answer on the matter one way or another.
posted by aaronh at 10:53 AM on February 20, 2006

Ya know, something that would avoid the TN tag problem as well as the "what if it won't start" and as a pure bonus means you don't have to drive it back to CA? Hire an auto shipping company to put it on a truck and bring it to you.
posted by ilsa at 12:48 PM on February 20, 2006

I got that ticket last year (expired registration, Davidson County, TN).

I just had to properly register my car, then show proof that I registered it, and pay the fine. I took care of it all before the court date and I did not have to appear in court. I showed my proof of registration and paid my fine in person though -- not sure if you can do that through the mail or by other means.
posted by peppermint22 at 1:29 PM on February 20, 2006

peppermint, can I ask you how much the fine was?

Also, has anyone ever gotten a ticket in another state for an expired tag? If I'm driving through Texas and get pulled over, would it be worse because I'm out of state or does it matter?
posted by aaronh at 8:32 PM on February 20, 2006

It was like 70 bucks total (first offense). The list of specific fines for Davidson County are here. You get like six weeks to reregister your car and pay the fine (although you are subject to additional tickets during that six weeks if you're caught driving around still unregistered).

And while I went to the payment window at MetroCenter, that website above says you can mail in your proof of complance and your check.

(Not sure what would have happened if I had gotten a ticket in another county/state.)
posted by peppermint22 at 1:37 PM on February 21, 2006

Thanks for the info, Peppermint.

After not being able to call yesterday because of the holiday, busy signals all morning, and waiting on hold for about 45 minutes I was basically told that I just had to renew there. They have no temporary tags.

I'm going to do that. It avoids the risk of tickest and it's not too expensive. I figure it will allow me to maybe wait a short while before registering in CA.
posted by aaronh at 2:34 PM on February 21, 2006

In Arizona, bad tags are a $500 fine (kicked down to $90 if registration is maintained with 30 days) and usually mandatory court.

But um. We have a LOT of illegals.
posted by disillusioned at 2:28 AM on February 24, 2006

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