Every Texas driver is required to display a valid registration sticker on his or her vehicle to show that the vehicle is currently registered with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Portions of vehicle registration revenues contribute to state highway funds, building and maintaining the state transportation infrastructure and to individual Texas counties to the tune of millions of dollars annually. A failure to obtain or renew your Texas vehicle registration can result in hefty fines if you are caught, and with the convenient ability to renew online, by mail or in person, you likely will not catch any sympathy from an officer who discovers that you are operating a nonregistered vehicle in Texas.
If you are new to Texas and you intend to drive your vehicle in the state, you must register the vehicle within thirty days to comply with Texas law. Also required within the first thirty days is passing a vehicle inspection and obtaining a Texas driver license. By legalizing your vehicle within the designated timeframe, you can prevent being issued multiple citations that will cost you considerably more than a timely registration renewal and inspection would have in the first place.
First and foremost, your vehicle must be insured and you must provide proof of such in order to have it inspected or registered. Before registering a vehicle, new Texas residents must have the vehicle inspected at an approved inspection station, prior to which proof of financial responsibility is required. Upon passing the vehicle inspection, you are issued a certificate indicating so, which you will need to present in order to register the vehicle. Armed with your proof of insurance, inspection certificate and proof of ownership of the vehicle (such as the title), visit your local county tax office to complete the required paperwork and pay the necessary fees to obtain a registration sticker for your vehicle.
Renewing a current Texas vehicle registration is simpler than renewing an expired one. Some Texas counties allow you to renew your registration online, a convenient option for many Texas drivers. However, if you wait until your registration expires, you will be required to renew it in person. If your vehicle was registered in Texas for the previous year, you should receive a renewal notice by mail prior to the expiration of your registration. This notice can be returned by mail along with your payment and proof of insurance, and you will receive the updated sticker by mail. If you do not receive a renewal notice, for instance if you have moved, be sure to contact the renewal office prior to your sticker’s expiration date to update your address and renew your registration on time.
Have trouble registering on time each year? You have the option of prepaying your vehicle’s registration for the next year or two and receiving updated registration stickers automatically when the time comes. Also, some Texas counties allow you to update vehicle registration at offsite locations, such as major grocery stores, which may provide a convenient option depending on your location.