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How To Renew Your DMV California Vehicle Registration Online

Updated on February 1, 2018

Renewing your vehicle registration online is a relatively easy task that can potentially save you and the DMV a considerable amount of time, money, and natural resources. If you're prepared to use the Internet to electronically transmit the necessary information, a detailed step by step instructional module is outlined on the DMV ( Department of Motor Vehicles ) web site. A time saving word of advice, before you log on and begin, make sure you gather all essential data including the "Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice", credit card, debit card, or checking account information, and have it all readily available in a convenient location next to your desktop, laptop, or tablet computer to ensure a timely and hassle free Internet renewal experience.

Everything you need to apply for online vehicle registration renewal or PNO at the DMV web site is listed below including acceptable payment methods, and a few other notes of importance. Using the Internet for this and other essential everyday tasks can be one of the most cost effective and efficient ways to save all parties involved a considerable amount of time, administrative costs, and natural resources. In addition, there is no extra charge for online renewal, so let's get started.

  • Renewal Fees - A complete itemized list of applicable fees and late charges is annotated on the statement, usually in the upper right hand corner. If your payment is received on time via traditional mail delivery or online submission, and all other pertinent requirements have been met, you should receive the updated stickers in the mail within the indicated time frame. If the fees are not paid on or before the date indicated, a late charge will be imposed on an escalating scale and the penalty determined is directly connected to the specific time frame in which payment is received. A chart showing late payment dates and applicable penalties can be found on the right hand side of the renewal notice below "Total Amount Due On Or Before". Late payment fees are non negotiable and collection will be enforced, so try to be on time to avoid additional expenses.

Phone: 1-800-921-1117


Itemized Fees (Upper right hand corner of renewal notice)

  • Registration Fee
  • License Fee
  • Weight Fee
  • Special Plate Fee
  • County/District Fees
  • Owner Responsibility Fee

- Add Above Fees To Calculate Total Due (Indicated On Notice) -

Smog Check (Certification) - It is absolutely essential that you get a "Smog Check" if your vehicle requires one. I always have this inspection performed prior to either sending in the applicable renewal fee or submitting pertinent information online just in case there is an issue regarding the test results. California law is explicit and unambiguous regarding air quality and related measures every resident must take to ensure his/her vehicle does not emit an excessive amount of airborne toxins. A reduction in every residents carbon footprint as a result of the ongoing commitment to exhaust mitigation is still a top priority here in the golden state and this preventative action is unquestionably having a significant and lasting positive impact on the local and national environment. If your notice indicates a smog check requirement ( Usually noted at the top of the statement ), you must have a qualified station perform the test and the vehicle must pass inspection before a renewal can be issued. If your statement includes this as a pre-condition, it would be prudent to designate the smog test as top priority to ensure your car or truck is still operating within acceptable carbon emission limits. As per the renewal notice at the top of the statement, standard procedure is to have your vehicle checked and certified by a "Test Only" or "Gold Shield Station"

  • The inspector will usually provide a hard copy of the certificate to the customer and also transmit another copy via computer directly to the DMV. Verify this procedure with the smog test station -
  • Per the Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice, if your vehicle does not pass the smog test and you meet certain requirements, you may be eligible to receive monetary consideration for repairs -

  • Liability Insurance - California law indicates the minimum liability insurance coverage that must be maintained by a vehicle owner. If you have questions about your policy in relation to the required coverage amount, check with the insurance agent who issued the policy or contact the DMV for specific guidelines. If your statement specifically indicates that proof of insurance must be provided, have the necessary information available before starting the online process. Per standard procedure, your insurance company will automatically submit this information to the DMV in an effort to expedite the renewal in a timely manner but having the information readily available as a precaution before logging on to the web site might be a good idea.


  • PNO - According to the renewal notice, the DMV charges a fee to file for a PNO (Planned Non-Operation). So even if you store the vehicle and do not drive it, make sure to check your statement for the applicable payment due to process your request. There is also a late charge assessed for a PNO if the payment is not received within a certain date indicated on the statement, so submitting a timely return for non-operation is also essential. The late fee schedule is designed with an escalating scale, so make sure you read the instructions carefully to avoid penalty even if you don't plan to drive your vehicle for an extended period of time.


  • Valid Credit Card, Debit Card, or Checking Account Required - To renew your registration online you must have a valid credit card or checking account for electronic debit. Have this information available when you access the site to begin the data input process. It is highly advisable that you have an updated browser with the most comprehensive and efficient internet security features to ensure the maximum level of protection. An updated browser can help guard personal information and protect against privacy being compromised.



Payment Options Per DMV Web Site:

- Credit Card - 
- Debit Card - 
- Electronic Check -
American Express

- RENEWAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER - This number should be annotated in the upper right hand side of your notice. Have this information readily available when renewing online -


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