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How to Renew Car Registration in Michigan

As a motorist, you are required to perform a vehicle registration renewal in Michigan in order to be able to continue to legally operate your motor vehicle on public roadways. You may be wondering how to renew car registration, but fortunately there are a variety of ways to complete your DMV vehicle registration renewal, including online, in person at an approved self-service station and by mail. Review the sections below for more information on renewing car registration, including the penalties for failing to renew and additional options for active-duty military members and out-of-state residents.

When You Should Renew Car Registration in Michigan

A vehicle registration renewal is required annually, as most noncommercial vehicle registrations will expire on the owner’s birthday. This is important to keep in mind, as there are many states that allow a vehicle to be driven until the end of the birthday month. This is not the case within the state of Michigan. Your MI DMV vehicle registration renewal notice will typically arrive by mail within 45 days prior to the date that your vehicle registration would expire. This is why it is important to ensure that the Secretary of State office is aware of any sort of address changes, as you will still be legally responsible for renewing car registration, even if you do not receive a notice.

When renewing car registration, there may be a variety of options available to you, and these options will be included with your renewal notice. If you do not receive your MI DMV vehicle registration renewal notice, you will only be permitted to renew at your local Secretary of State Office. Additionally, when you renew car registration, you may be required to update a new license plate along with your registration. Under state law, all license plates that are 10 or more years old are not permitted to be renewed and instead must be replaced. This may also affect which car registration renewal methods are available to you, as not all of them will provide this service. If it is time for your license plates to be replaced, your renewal notice will state so.

Michigan Vehicle Registration Renewal Requirements

No matter what method you choose for renewing your car registration, it is important that you understand what requirements must be met.

When renewing car registration, you will need to ensure that your motor vehicle is insured with a minimum of a no-fault auto insurance policy, otherwise you may not be able to complete your renewal. All Michigan vehicle registration renewal methods, other than visiting your local Secretary of State Office, will also require you to provide your renewal notice. Car registration renewal fees are due when renewing your registration.

As outlined above, you may also be required to renew your license plates in order to complete the renewal of your vehicle’s registration. Additionally, you may not able to complete your DMV vehicle registration renewal outside of visiting your local Secretary of State Office if your name, vehicle information or address is incorrect in your renewal notice.

Consequences of an Expired Car Registration in Michigan

Failing to perform a vehicle registration renewal can provide you some serious consequences, including an expired car registration, additional fines, fees and penalties should you be stopped by a law enforcement officer — due to the fact that you will no longer be permitted to legally operate your motor vehicle until you have renewed your registration.

Renewing an expired car registration in Michigan means that you will likely need to pay a late fee on top of your registration cost, however, it is important to know that if your registration expires on a holiday or weekend, then your expiration date will be extended to the following business day. Additionally, if you need to renew expired car registration that is older than six months, then you will be required to pay for two years worth of registration in addition to any late fees that may be assessed.

How to Renew Car Registration Online in Michigan

Completing a vehicle registration renewal online is often the most convenient way to renew your registration as it can be done from the comfort of your own home. In order to be to renew your car registration online, you must be eligible to do so. Your renewal notice will state if you are eligible for an online renewal. In addition to eligibility, you must be able to provide your Michigan driver’s license or state identification number, your date of birth, your eye color, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. When renewing car registration online in MI, it is also important to know that a receipt will be generated at the end of the transaction, which will provide you a temporary proof of registration renewal that you can use until you receive your new registration.

How to Renew Michigan Car Registration by Mail

Completing a DMV vehicle registration renewal by mail is another convenient way to complete the transaction, and unlike an online renewal, you can choose to pay with a check or money order and you are able to order new plates for your vehicle, when required. In order to renew car registration by mail, you will need to mail your entire vehicle registration renewal notice, proof of insurance, renewal worksheet (when applicable), and payment using the enclosed envelope that your renewal notice provides. Never send cash when renewing registration by mail as it cannot be accepted.

Renewing Car Registration in Michigan at an SOS Office

Unlike other methods, most residents have the option of completing their vehicle registration renewal in person at the local Secretary of State Office. While this may not seem as convenient as completing a DMV vehicle registration renewal online or by mail, renewing in person comes with the benefit of receiving your new vehicle registration the same day. Not only that, but there are many more payment options available to you and you can update any of your information during your registration, such as a change of name or address.

How to Renew Car Registration in Michigan Using a Self-Service Station

Residents who cannot complete a vehicle registration renewal online or by mail, but still do not want to wait at the Secretary of State Office may consider completing DMV vehicle registration renewal at one of the many self-service stations that are available. Self-service stations will require you to have information that is provided on your renewal notice, but similar to visiting the Secretary of State Office, self-service stations provide an immediate issuance of your registration. If eligible to renew car registration at one of these stations, you can find them at many Secretary of Office and local government office locations.

Michigan Vehicle Registration Renewal for Active Military Personnel

Unlike a handful of other states, Michigan does not extend your vehicle registration renewal due date if you are an active-duty military member, even if you are stationed out of state. You may be eligible to perform a DMV vehicle registration renewal early, but if that is not possible, then you may still complete your registration either online or by mail. Additionally, the SOS will allow you to renew your registration through the Special Services Branch.

Out-of-State DMV Vehicle Registration Renewal in Michigan

Residents who are out of state at the time of their vehicle registration renewal still have several renewal methods that they can take advantage of. If you choose to renew MI car registration online, be sure to submit a one-time mailing address so that you will receive your registration. Alternatively, you can also complete your renewal by mail. Lastly, residents who are out of state will also have the option of renewing by fax. You will need to be able to provide a photocopy of your current registration, proof of insurance and credit card information with your fax.

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