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What Do I Need to Renew My NC Car Registration?

To avoid getting a ticket on the road, you must maintain an up-to-date car registration. However, the vehicle registration process can be tricky if you don’t fully understand the requirements. To make matters more confusing, every state and county can have different renewal requirements. 

The local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here with information on what you need to renew your NC car registration. 

Passed Car Safety Inspection

Vehicle safety is the most crucial element of any car. A comprehensive variety of safety features protect you and other drivers on the road. To ensure the roads stay safe, the NC DMV requires a pass on your safety inspection before you can renew your registration. 

Simply bring your vehicle to a local mechanic for the inspection and any necessary repairs or services. You can read our guide to everything checked during a safety inspection here. This detailed checklist will help you better understand the inspection process and whether or not your car will need service to pass.

After you pass your inspection, the results will be uploaded to the NC DMV system. This process allows you to renew your registration within an hour or two of your inspection pass. 

Passed Emissions Inspection

In some cases, you will have to pass an emissions inspection upon renewing your registration. This process ensures that your eco-friendly vehicle features (such as the catalytic converter) are in good condition. It also prevents and fines vehicle emissions tampering. As of 2023, emissions inspections are requirements in the following 19 NC counties:

  • Alamance
  • Buncombe
  • Cabarrus
  • Cumberland
  • Davidson
  • Durham
  • Forsyth
  • Franklin
  • Gaston
  • Guilford
  • Iredell
  • Johnston
  • Lincoln
  • Mecklenburg
  • New Hanover
  • Randolph
  • Rowan
  • Union
  • Wake

This number is down three from last year, as Lee, Onslow, and Rockingham County all dropped emissions inspection requirements. 

Even if your county requires emissions inspections, your vehicle might qualify for an exemption. Such exemptions apply to:

  • Cars less than three years old with fewer than 70,000 miles
  • Registered farm vehicles
  • Older and antique cars
  • Diesel-powered vehicles

You can read more in our guide to everything checked during an NC emissions inspection

Property Tax and Registration Fee Payment

Your registration renewal also requires your vehicle property tax payment and registration fee payment. The tax charge helps pay for county services that help keep the roads safe. The DMV‘s registration fee helps pay for the overhead costs of DMV support, software, and even the cost of printing and mailing your new registration.

Car Insurance Coverage

If you get hit by an uninsured driver, you could end up dipping into your own insurance coverage or paying for an accident out of pocket. An easy way to regulate the coverage of vehicles on the road is through the registration renewal process.

You will only be able to renew your registration if your vehicle is covered. Drivers will need to provide their car insurance company name and their full policy number upon registration renewal.

Vehicle Information

You will need to have some vehicle information handy once you are ready to renew your registration. Particularly, you will need your license plate number and the last five digits of your title number. The DMV will send you a registration renewal notice with all of this information. However, they often send this notice out a few months in advance, meaning some of your current information might not match. Particularly, your title number can cause some trouble. 

The title number changes with each new owner of a vehicle. An owner transfer can happen when you:

  • Pay off your car
  • Refinance your auto loan
  • Register the vehicle under a new name

In these cases, your current title number might not match the registration notice from the DMV. Thankfully, you can look up your new title number on the NC DMV website

Once you have all the above documents and information, you can renew your NC registration online.  

Car Inspections Near Me at Chapel Hill Tire

When it is time for your annual car inspection, the experts at Chapel Hill Tire are here for you. We proudly serve drivers throughout the greater Triangle area with 10 locations across Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. 
Our professional mechanic locations are also preferred by drivers from surrounding areas, including Knightdale, Pittsboro, Wake Forest, Hillsborough, Morrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an appointment or give us a call to get started today!

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