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How To Register A Car In Texas

June 7, 2022

There are plenty of ways to register your car in the state of Texas. 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. Here is what you will need when registering your car in the state of Texas.

1. Provide Proof Of Ownership With A Title

You'll have to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle before you register the car in the state of Texas. 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 Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas

In Texas, 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 Texas, 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 Texas?
Any vehicle that is registered in the State of Texas is required to go through an annual safety inspection. Your vehicle will be inspected for safety, and in some cases, an emissions test.

What vehicles need a smog check?

  • Here is a list of counties that you will need to have an annual smog check:
    • Brazoria, Collin, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Ellis, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Johnson, Kaufman, Montgomery, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Travis, and Williamson.
  • Gasoline powered vehicles. Diesel powered vehicles and motorcycles are exempt from emissions testing, but are still required to have the annual safety inspection.
  • Vehicles 2 through 24 years old OR upon expiration of the two-year initial inspection sticker.

What Type Of Emissions Test Will My Vehicle Receive?
You'll receive an On-Board Diagnostic (OBDII) test when you are checked for emissions. Here is where you can apply for your inspection and emissions test.

6. Fill Out The Texas 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 Texas DMV page to find out what fees you will need to pay for your specific vehicle.

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

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

Donating A Car In Texas?

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

Benefit the kids of Make-A-Wish Texas with the click of a button from Dallas, to Austin, to San Antonio!

  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 Texas 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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