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On The Road

How to make sure you register your vehicle on time

Q: My car is due for its registration renewal in two weeks. However, I haven’t received my registration renewal notice. I am worried about accruing late fees or missing my registration due date. How can I ensure my registration is renewed on time?

 A: Not to worry, you can still renew your registration on time. Call (800) 777-0133. You’ll be able to find out what fees are due, what documents are required and what payment options you have. To ensure that you receive your registration renewal on time in the future, visit www.dmv.ca.gov to update the address at which your vehicle is registered. You can do this online as long as you have your vehicle identification number and current registration information available.

Q: My daughter received her driver’s license last week, but she’s not quite sure what restrictions apply to a newly issued license. Where can we find rules and restrictions that apply to new drivers so that we can make sure she follows them properly?

 A: It’s great that your daughter is aware of the importance of these provisional restrictions to keep her and other drivers on the road safe. When a provisional driver’s license is issued, the following restrictions apply.

• For the first 12 months, she may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless she has a licensed parent, guardian or other adult over the age of 25 in the vehicle with her.

• For the first 12 months, she may not transport any passenger (even family) under the age of 20 unless she has a licensed parent, guardian or other adult over the age of 25 in the vehicle with her.

• She may drive alone between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.

 To read about exceptions to these restrictions or learn more about the provisional driver license and other laws for teens, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/teenweb/dl_btn2/dl.htm.

 Q: I would like to buy a car from my co-worker, but I am not sure what the process is to buy a vehicle through a private party. What paperwork is involved, what should I expect to receive from the current owner and what do I need to know as a buyer? 

 A: You are wise to plan ahead and learn about this process before you commit. The most important thing to know is that you must transfer ownership of the vehicle within 10 days of the purchase. The transaction can be handled by mail or in a DMV field office. To do this, visit www.dmv.ca.gov to obtain the proper mailing instructions or schedule an appointment online. The following items are required to transfer ownership.

• A properly endorsed title (also known as a “pink slip”), which the previous owner must provide to you.

• The odometer mileage if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.

• A smog certification, which the previous owner must provide to you if the vehicle is older than four model years. Cars that are four model years old or less do not require a smog certification.

Plan to pay a use-tax fee based on your purchase price and a transfer fee of $15. Penalties will be assessed if these are not paid within 30 days of the sale date.

To read additional details on private-party buying and selling, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/vr_info.htm#BM2522.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarz-enegger appointed George Valverde California Department of Motor Vehicles Director in 2006. Valverde previously served as undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency and deputy secretary for fiscal operations.

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