7 Step Guide to Car Registration in San Diego.

Updated: Mar 11


To register a vehicle in San Diego, you will need the following:

  1. Vehicle Title: You will need the original or a certified copy of the vehicle’s title. If there is a lien on the vehicle, you will need the name and address of the lienholder.
  2. Smog Certificate: If your vehicle is more than four years old, you will need a smog certificate. You can obtain this certificate from a licensed smog check station.
  3. Insurance: You will need to provide proof of insurance for the vehicle. The insurance must meet California’s minimum liability insurance requirements.
  4. Application for Title or Registration: You will need to complete an Application for Title or Registration (Form REG 343). You can obtain this form from the DMV website or at a DMV office.
  5. Payment: You will need to pay the registration fees and any applicable taxes. The amount you pay will depend on the vehicle’s value, weight, and type.
  6. Valid ID: You will need to provide a valid driver’s license or ID card.
  7. VIN Verification: If the vehicle was previously registered in another state, you will need to have a VIN verification completed. This can be done at a DMV office or by a licensed VIN verifier. Many car registration services in San Diego have in house VIN verifiers like Zaks Auto Registration.

It’s important to note that if you purchased the vehicle from a private party, you will also need to complete a Bill of Sale (Form REG 135) and have the seller sign the title over to you. If you purchased the vehicle from a dealer, they will handle most of the paperwork for you.

Once you have all the necessary documents and have paid the fees, you can submit your application and receive your new registration and license plates.

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