Updated on July 19, 2021
In Michigan, cars, SUVs, and motorcycles aren’t the only motor vehicles that require a registration. Recreational vehicles, such as mopeds, watercrafts 20 feet and longer, and snowmobiles (unless used on private property) also have to be registered. Trailers must have tabs too if used on the road, plus all trailer coaches are titled and registered.
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Last year, 404,286 motor vehicles were involved in 245,432 reported crashes in the Great Lake State, so insurance coverage is crucial. But know that in Michigan auto insurance from another state is not accepted. Motorcycles also need a policy, but don’t require no-fault insurance. Keep reading for important details about Michigan tabs.
Michigan Vehicle Registration Renewal Guide
How To Renew A Car Registration In Michigan
The state of Michigan requires residents to renew their vehicle registration each year on their birthday. Individual registrations may be renewed as soon as the person receives their notice.
Renewal notices are sent out 45 days before a registration is set to expire, and the information on the renewal notice generally includes:
- Applicable fee(s).
- Expiration date.
- A PIN to use for online renewal if you are eligible.
- Instructions on how to renew by mail.
Emissions Testing And Renewing Your Michigan Registration
The state of Michigan does not require vehicles to undergo emissions testing.
There are several methods to use in order to renew your registration. If you have a PIN on your notice you can use the online system. You will simply need to visit the online services page for the state and follow the instructions that are provided.
In order to renew your registration in person, you will need to visit your local Secretary of State branch. Be sure to bring the following with you:
- Renewal notice or current certificate of registration.
- Driver’s license.
- Proof of auto insurance.
- Payment for registration fees, if paying by credit card expect to pay an additional 2% in processing fees.
There are also self-serve stations found throughout the state that can be used to renew your registration as well. You can use these if your information is current, you have a PIN on your notice, and you have a valid credit card.
In the state of Michigan, you are required to have a current driver’s license and valid vehicle registration to drive legally. If you happen to lose one of these things, you will need to replace it before you are legally allowed to drive again.
Getting a replacement vehicle registration in Michigan is simple. You only need to provide a few pieces of information about yourself and your vehicle. Here’s a full rundown on how to replace your vehicle registration in Michigan.
Replacing Your Registration vs. Vehicle Registration Renewal
Renewing and replacing your registration are similar processes, but they’re fundamentally different. You can renew your registration when you have a valid card that expires soon.
If your registration is damaged or lost, you will need to apply for a replacement car registration. You can do this through the Michigan Secretary of State. You will need to provide some information about both yourself and your vehicle, but replacement registration cards are generally free in Michigan.
Replacing Stolen License Plates
License plates are an easy target for vandals because they are easy to remove. If your license plates have been stolen and you need to replace them, start by going to your local police station and filing a report. This is important because you could face repercussions if you don’t file a report and the person who stole your plates is pulled over while driving with them.
You can take this report with you when you go to the Michigan Secretary of State office. You will have to pay a fee of $5 for a new plate, replacement vehicle registration, and replacement car tag.
How to Replace a Lost Sticker
Stickers—called tabs in Michigan—are somewhat easy to lose or damage because of their size. However, having a valid license plate sticker on your car is an important part of driving legally.
If you lose or damage your tabs, go to the Secretary of State office as soon as possible and make a request for new tabs. This will cost you $5.
Where Can I Replace My Registration
In Michigan, you can replace your registration in person at a Secretary of State office or online using the SOS website. You will need to provide the same information and pay the same free regardless of how you apply for a replacement vehicle registration.
When you apply for a duplicate registration card, you will receive a temporary card until the permanent one is mailed to you.
What To Do With Old Michigan License Plates
License plates can become damaged after years of exposure to rain, snow and sun. When this happens, it may be in your best interest to replace your plates so they are easier to read and more aesthetically appealing. You can replace your plates by filling out an application and paying the $5 fee.
You don’t necessarily have to surrender your plates in Michigan. However, you should at least make sure to bend the plates in half and recycle them so nobody else can use them without your knowledge.
Replacing Your Plates With Specialty Plates
Michigan offers a range of specialty plates, including fundraising plates, historical plates, and veteran/military service plates. You can replace your plates with specialty plates by paying an extra fee and selecting specialty plates when you apply online.
There are also personalized plates in Michigan. The Michigan SOS website has a service called Plate It Your Way which allows you to check the availability of personalized license plate combinations. When you’ve found a personalized plate you want, you can replace your plates with them for an additional fee. Personalized plates can only contain numbers, letters and spaces, and cannot contain profane or sexual language.
Common Questions About Michigan Registration Renewal
Are there any questions about renewing or replacing your Michigan vehicle registration that we didn’t cover?
We are constantly updating our content and welcome your feedback. Leave us a comment and let us know any other questions you might have regarding how to renew, replace or request a duplicate registration or plate sticker in the state of Michigan.