In 1905, the Golden State asked its residents to register their vehicles and get license plates. The front tag was only added in 1911. Drivers provided their own plates until 1914 when the CA DMV issued the tags. Today most vehicles, but not motorcycles, require two license plates and registration validation sticker for the back plate.
Use eTags© to Quickly Complete Your DMV Service. Renewals, Title Transfers and More, All Online!
Personalized license plates appeared in California in 1972
One number, three letters, three numbers
Since 1980, California license plates have used a “Numeral Alpha Alpha Alpha Numeral Numeral Numeral” pattern or 1AAA000. It works sequentially: 1AAA000 to 1AAA001, and so on. In other words, a CA tag has one number, then three letters, then three numbers. In 2027, the Golden State’s current sequence will end at 9ZZZ999, as currently in 2023, CA is at 9EWZ000-9EWZ999 series.
Skip the DMV, renew online for downloadable registration
You can renew your California car registration online in just a few minutes. No DMV line or visit to an auto tag agency. With eTags, just enter your license plate number and VIN so your renewal can process. Make sure to have current California auto insurance and are up to date on your smog certificate, as the Golden State requires a smog check every other year.
In 1987, a new reflective coating was used to make tags easier to see at night or in poor weather conditions
Renewing online with eTags gives you access to an instantly downloadable registration for temporary use. Just in case you’re asked to show proof of license plates renewal, while you wait for your paperwork by mail. You can use any device you prefer to get online for pre-filled forms.
SEE ALSO: TITLING USED VEHICLE IN CALIFORNIA WHEN BUYING FROM PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL
Expired tags can cost you up to $200
Currently, California has about 27 million licensed drivers. Those with registered vehicles must renew their license plates every year. The CA DMV typically sends out notices so that you know the renewal is coming up. But you’re allowed to renew your vehicle registration 60 days before the license plate expires. Not renewing your tags can lead to fines between $100 and $200 including surcharges.
California license plates are issued to vehicles, not individuals so they’re usually transferred to the new owner when a vehicle is sold
Payment options car registration online
For eTags services online, you have a few different ways to pay including PayPal Credit which is interest-free for six months on purchases of $99 and more. There’s also Pay Pal’s Buy Now, Pay Later, allowing you to split payments equally for a few months. You can also try to get an interest-free loan with Affirm or pay by credit card.