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How To Register A Car In Massachusetts

August 12, 2022


In the state of Massachusetts you can register your vehicle online, in the mail, over the phone, or in person and there are great resources available to get you through the whole process.

Here is what a car registration looks like. Below is a list what you will need when registering your car in the state of Massachusetts.

1. Provide Proof Of Ownership With A Title

You must prove that you are the owner of the vehicle before you register the car in the state of Massachusetts. Make sure the title is in your name or transferred to your name on the title. Hold onto the bill of sale if you are transferring ownership, this is helpful to the DMV when registering your car.

Here is some more information on the transfer of ownership on Massachusetts titles.

2. Insure Your Vehicle

If you are not insured make sure you complete this step. Here are a few insurance providers that offer car insurance:

Most car insurance plans are very customizable. Plans can start as low as $40 if you only choose liability coverage.

3. Make Sure You Are In Good Standing At The DMV

Your vehicles registration may be delayed if you have any tickets or open vehicle citations. In the state of Massachusetts your registration may be withheld if you have these things

  • Parking tickets
  • Toll violations
  • Unpaid vehicle taxes

4. Provide These Documents When Registering Your Car In Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you can register your car online, over the phone, through the mail, and in person. Here are the documents that you'll need:

For First Time Registration, You Will Typically Need These Items:

  1. Your state’s identification card or driver’s license
  2. Your insurance information for the state the vehicle will be driven
  3. A sales tax payment
  4. Your vehicle’s title
  5. Documents stating that your vehicle has passes emissions regulations and a safety inspection
  6. The car’s registration application

Private Sale Or Transfer Of Ownership: 

  1. Title in your name
  2. When transferring a vehicle to a new owner make sure all of the owners are listed on the title in the "transferred to" line. The sellers must sign the 'assignment of ownership section on the back of the title.
  3. Odometer Disclosure Statement & Bill of Sale
  4. In the state of Massachusetts, include the registration renewal form when submitting your registration through the mail.

Renewing Your Car’s Registration? Make Sure You Have These:

  1. Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  2. Driver’s license number
  3. Proof of insurance
  4. License plate number
  5. Proof that your vehicle was registered previously (registration card)

Out-Of-State Dealer? Bring These As Well:

  1. Bring the Title of the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin
  2. Odometer Disclosure Statement & Bill of Sale

5. Safety Checks

Does your vehicle need a smog check in Massachusetts?
Any vehicle that is registered in the State of Massachusetts is required to go through an annual safety and emissions inspection. Your vehicle will be inspected for safety, and in some cases, an emissions test.

These vehicles are exempt from emissions checks:

  • Cars, trucks, and SUVs made in the 2000 model year or earlier but do not emit smoke
  • Diesel vehicles weighing less than 8,500 lbs and made before the 2003 and/or are over 15 years old
  • Diesel vehicles weighing up to 10,000 lbs and made before the 2007 model year and/or are over 15 years old
  • Non-diesel medium-duty vehicles made before the 2008 model year and/or are more than 15 years old
  • New vehicles
  • Mopeds, motorcycles and tactical military vehicles
  • Electric vehicles
  • Construction equipment, such as articulated loaders, backhoes, bulldozers, cranes, excavators, loaders, and pavers  (This does not include pickups or vehicles owned by construction companies driven on MA roadways (i.e. semis, dump trucks, cement trucks, etc.)
  • Tracked vehicles
  • All-terrain vehicles
  • Military vehicles
  • Tractors and off-road farm equipment (does not include pickups or vehicles with farm registration plates driven on MA roadways)

Here is where you can find an emissions test near you in the state of Massachusetts.

You have 7 days to make a safety check appointment if you move into Massachusetts.

6. Fill Out The Massachusetts Car Registration Form

The last step is filling out the registration form. You will need your VIN, your license plate number, and your driver’s license number.

You will have to provide the accident history of the vehicle or any custom tune-ups the vehicle has had that effect the driving of the car.

Check out this Massachusetts DMV page to find out what fees you will need to pay for your specific vehicle.

You can register your car in Massachusetts online, over the phone, in the mail, or in person here.

You'll need to register your car annually in the state of Massachusetts.

Donating A Car In Massachusetts?

If you are looking to donate a car in Massachusetts, look no further than Wheels For Wishes car donation program!

Benefit the kids of Make-A-Wish Massachusetts with the click of a button from Boston to Worcester to Springfield.

  1. Just call 1-855-278-9474 or fill out our easy online donation form.
  2. Next, we’ll arrange your tow within 24 hours of the next business day.
  3. When all is said and done, we’ll mail you a receipt that you can attach for your taxes next year!

Whether your car runs or not, Wheels For Wishes takes almost all vehicle donations and we’ll pick them up from anywhere in the Massachusetts area! Your car donation to Wheels For Wishes also gives you the best possible tax deduction. Help a Make-A-Wish child with your car donation today!

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CDF also runs the following programs:
Wheels for Wishes benefiting Make-A-Wish®, Wheels for Wishes & Wellness benefiting local children's hospitals and charities, Vehicles for Veterans benefiting disabled veterans, and Animal Car Donation benefiting animal rescue organizations.

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CDF's mission is to help these benefitting charities fulfill their missions with proceeds from CDF's car donation programs. CDF and all benefitting charities are separate and unaffiliated 501c organizations.
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A federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
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