Michigan Car Registration for New Cars and Registration Renewal

January 27, 2012

Completing your Michigan car registration is easy, requiring only a brief trip to a local Secretary of State office. When you purchase a new car in Michigan, the title and registration paperwork are submitted to the Secretary of State by the dealership. In fact, some Michigan dealerships have the authority to issue license plates and registration certificates on site, meaning that all information is electronically sent to the Secretary of State in Lansing, eliminating paperwork delays for everything but new titles. However, if you purchase a vehicle from out of state or from a private party seller, you need to visit a local Secretary of State branch office whether the vehicle is new to you or a brand new, untitled vehicle.

If you have any specific questions about registering your vehicle in Michigan, you can contact a local branch office or the state-wide help line at (888) SOS-MICH/(888) 767-6424.

Signed Title or RD-108 (Receipt for Dealer Transaction)
Before visiting a Secretary of State branch to apply for vehicle registration, you must have the title for your new vehicle signed by the seller and transferred into your name. This transfer can be completed at the same time you visit a Secretary of State branch office to get your registration. If purchasing from a dealership in Michigan, the dealership will apply for title on your behalf, and you will receive a copy of form RD-108, which serves as the temporary title and your proof of registration while the dealer obtains it from the Secretary of State. If you purchased your vehicle out of state and financed it, you may not be required to get a Michigan title. Instead, you will be issued a registration for a vehicle with a foreign title until the lien is paid off. If you purchased a vehicle with cash or from an out of state private party, you need the foreign title to be transferred at a Secretary of State office.

Proof of Michigan No-Fault Insurance
Before a Michigan car registration can be issued, a vehicle must have Michigan no-fault insurance. This insurance policy may only be written by an insurer in the state of Michigan. If you have insurance but forget to bring it to the Secretary of State's office, your agent may fax proof of insurance directly to the office.

License Plate and Registration
Once proof of ownership and proof of no-fault insurance are received by the Secretary of State, you must purchase a license plate and pay for vehicle registration. If you want personalized plates, you may order them at this time. Depending on the plate you choose and the cost of your vehicle when new, registration fees vary. Fees may be paid by cash or check made out to Michigan Department of State. Select offices accept credit card payments, and you can find local offices at the Secretary of State website.

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Michigan

Where the matter of renewing the car's registration is concerned, the Michigan Secretary of State's office sends an announcement regarding the upcoming registration renewal dates to the vehicle owner. After receiving this notification, you can undertake the registration renewal process over the telephone, by visiting a Michigan DMV office in person, going onto the Michigan Secretary of State website and using the online services offered or by mail.

Expected Fees
The registration fee charged during renewal is specified on the notice the Michigan Secretary of State sent you. It can often be different from person to person. The fee structure is dependent on a number of factors such as the model of your vehicle, the make, the type (commercial, SUV or light, etc.), the weight of the vehicle, its age in manufacturing years and so on. Newer vehicles tend to get charged a higher amount than an older vehicle. In order to find out which specific category your vehicle falls under and its corresponding fees structure, log onto the official website of the Michigan DMV. In the event you default and cross the deadline for the renewal of the registration you will be charged an extra $10 fine as a penalty.

Necessary Changes
When you receive your registration renewal notice you might find errors or minor discrepancies in the printed notice. These errors need to be corrected before you undertake the renewal process so mistakes do not get logged into your account permanently. Many times vehicle owners change residences but continue to be listed at an older address, which leads to the renewal notice being posted to the wrong address and consequently the vehicle owner missing the deadline and having to pay the $10 fine. Such errors can create confusion in the long run and need to be set right before you complete your next registration renewal. You can file a correction request for these errors either by calling the toll free help lines or by logging onto the official Michigan Secretary of State website and using the customer care section. You can also contact the closest branch office of the Michigan Secretary of State and discuss the situation with them to request the necessary changes be made as soon as possible.