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How To Register a Car in Texas

How to Register a Car in TexasDid you just purchase your first car? Congratulations! When you move to Texas from another state, you have 30 days from the day you move to register your vehicle. While other states may just require a speedy trip to the DMV, here in Texas there are just a few things that you need to do before registering your car.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to register a car in Texas:

What Do I Need to Register My Car in Texas?

There are four steps you need to follow to register your vehicle in Texas as a new resident. Once you have all your documents and you’ve taken each of the following steps, you’ll be officially able to drive in Texas as a registered Texan! Note: Active duty members of the military and non-resident, full-time students attending a Texas university or college are not required to register their vehicles.

1. Obtain Automobile Insurance

You must obtain an insurance policy for use in the state of Texas. Most insurances are accepted; however, it’s best you check with your agent to make sure. All policies must have coverage for a minimum of $30,000 per person up to $60,000 for injuries and $25,000 for property damages. 

2. Vehicle Inspection

 Texas requires every vehicle on the road have a state inspection to ensure it is in a safe, drivable condition for the safety of yourself and others on the road. When you arrive to your inspection, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance, driver’s license, and payment. The cost of the inspection is about $7.00 for most passenger vehicles. Gasoline engine vehicles that are over two years old will also a require an emissions inspection in certain counties, that includes Travis and Williamson. Many automotive service centers, quick lube centers, and dealerships offer inspections. The vehicle safety inspection includes a check of:

    • Windshield Wipers
    • Mirrors
    • Horn
    • Steering
    • Seat Belts
    • Wheel Assembly
    • Exhaust System
    • Brakes System & Parking Brake
    • Tires
    • Beam Indicator
    • Tail Lights
    • Headlights
    • Stop Lamps
    • License Plate Light
    • Rear Reflectors
    • Turn Signals 
    • VIN
    • Gas Caps
    • Window Tint

Many vehicles fail the vehicle inspection due to damaged windshield wipers, a check engine light on, headlight or taillights out, trouble with the parking brake, or uneven tire wear. Be sure to check these items before you take your vehicle into any vehicle inspection station to avoid an automatic failure. Ensuring each of these safety features on your vehicle is operational helps to prevent accidents. It’s important to address any failures and have them repaired on your vehicle to ensure safe roads and cleaner emissions. 

3. Registration & License Plates

To obtain your license plates and sticker, you’ll need to visit the county tax-assessor collections office and provide insurance, the original vehicle inspection report, and proof of ownership such as the registration or title from the state of your previous residence, the Texas title and registration application (form 130-U), and registration 

How much does it cost to register a car in Texas? The cost is actually pretty reasonable compared to some other states. The cost for registration is a flat fee of $50.75 plus an additional $1 for TexasSure, the electronic insurance verification program and other DPS initiatives, as well as any additional fees per county. As a new resident, you’ll also be required to pay sales tax-related fees which will vary based on your previous state residency taxes.

4. State Issued Driver’s License

Now that your car is registered, you’ll also need a Texas driver’s license (you have 90 days from the day of your arrival to obtain your license). Driver’s licenses need to be obtained through the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration in Texas

Registration renewals are mailed to registered vehicle owners. You have the option to renew your registration online, by mail, or in person. By completing your registration online, with a passing vehicle inspection, you will receive a $1.00 discount. Renewals can be completed up to 90 days prior to expiration.

When you’re ready to register your car, truck, or SUV in Texas and need a State Inspection, come see us! Sun Auto Service is an authorized inspection station for vehicle state inspections. We also offer a wide range of automotive services from oil changes, brakes, transmission repairs and everything in between. Our business is a fixture in the Southwest, established in 1978 and is family-owned and operated. We offer same day services, in most cases, and provide free towing with major repairs. We only perform services with your approval and because we stand behind our work, we offer a nationwide 2-year/24,000 mile warranty with every service. You can trust that your car is in the best hands with our expert ASE Certified Technicians using the most up-to-date equipment and tools. Visit any of our Sun Auto Service locations in the Austin area for all your automotive needs.