Car Inspection vs. Car Registration

To most people the difference between a car inspection and car registration seems obvious. However, to others it can be confusing. This is where we come in to help to explain exactly what the difference of these two important things are.

Car Inspections

All vehicles registered in New York State must get a safety inspection at a DMV-licensed inspection station every 12 months or when the ownership of the vehicle is transferred. A valid inspection sticker must be displayed on your vehicle. If your vehicle does not have a valid inspection you cannot renew the registration, you can receive a fine, and/or you can receive a parking ticket. The inspection can easily be done at your dealership or local auto repair shop. Inspection prices vary based upon how long you have owned your vehicle and also depends on the state in which you reside.

Car Inspection

Car Registrations

You or your business must register and title at a DMV office any vehicle you own or lease. A registration doesn’t need to be in the owner’s name, or for only one person. Auto dealers can register and title a vehicle for you, and issue plates. If you are registering a vehicle yourself you will need to bring a few things.

Here’s what you need to bring:

  • original title (or other proof of ownership)
  • current NYS Insurance ID card (auto liability insurance)
  • bill of sale / proof of sales tax payment / sales tax form
  • NYS driver license, permit, non-driver ID, or other proof of identity
  • completed Vehicle Registration Application (MV-82)

You will also need payment for fees and taxes or proof of an exemption. Similarly to your car inspection, the fees vary by state, but also by the size of your vehicle. Your local DMV will notify you when your registration expiration date is approaching, usually every 2 years.


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