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Have you ever noticed the tiny sticker that is stuck to your vehicle license plate?
The sticker is incredibly small and rather easy to overlook. However, it plays an important role, and forgetting about the sticker could cause serious problems.
This tiny sticker is known as a car tag. It is important to note that the numbers on the car tag refer to the date when it is due to expire.
So, let’s find out everything you need to know about car tags…
What is a Car Tag?
A car tag is the yearly registration sticker that you are provided with when you renew your vehicle’s registration. This sticker needs to be placed in a visible spot on your vehicle’s license plate. The numbers on the car tag relate to the year that your vehicle registration remains valid.
Why Do You Need Car Tags?
Car tags serve as proof of your yearly vehicle registration. It is a legal requirement that your car tags are attached to your vehicle at all times. Not carrying and failing to show on demand the required documents while driving is illegal.
When you purchase a used car, you have to transfer the registration and title to your name. If the car tags are not clearly displayed, the registration status of your vehicle will be unclear. This could lead to serious issues when you sell your car or are stopped by a law enforcement officer.
Are Tags The Same as License Plates?
Your car tags and license plate are very different. The car tags are a very small sticker that simply displays a couple of numbers. However, your license plate is assigned to your vehicle by the state’s DMV when it is first registered.
If you are purchasing a used car, the license plates will already have been issued. The numbers and letters on the license plate will relate to the state where it was registered last. If you plan to register this vehicle in the same state after purchasing it, the process will be quick and easy.
However, you will have to return the license plates to the DMV if you are registering the vehicle in a different state. You will be issued new license plates in your state upon vehicle registration. These license plates need to be attached to your vehicle before you hit the road again.
Unless you are registering your car in a new state, the license plates will remain on the vehicle each year. However, the car tags have to be renewed and replaced each year. When you receive your new tags, attach them to the corner of your license plate straight away.
How to Tell When Your Car Tags Expire?
Your car tags serve as a reminder to update your vehicle registration, as they both expire at the same time. Check the year on your car tags to see when they expire. However, it is important to understand that only the year of expiry and not the exact month is stated.
For example, if you register your vehicle in February of 2020, your car tags will say 21. However, your car registration is only valid until February of 2021, not until the end of the year. Although it will not be obvious on your car tags, your vehicle registration document will show the exact expiration date.
Can You Get in Trouble for Expired Car Tags?
If your car tags have expired, law enforcement officers will assume that your vehicle registration has also expired. If you are driving your vehicle, an officer is likely to request that you pull over. The officer will then ask to see proof of your current vehicle registration.
Driving with expired car tags is likely to result in a fine or penalty. The amount you have to pay will depend on the expiry date and a number of other factors. To avoid fines and hassle, it is best to make sure your vehicle registration and tags are up to date.
What To Do When Your Car Tags Expire?
It is important to renew your vehicle registration when your car tags expire. As soon as you renew your registration, you will be presented with new car tags.
You will probably receive a registration renewal notice several weeks before your registration expires. The renewal notice will be sent to the address you supplied when you registered your vehicle. If you have recently moved house, it is a good idea to update your address to avoid missing the reminder.
A Simple Process
Perhaps the easiest way to renew your registration and tags is by mailing payment to the DMV. The renewal notice usually comes with a return envelope to help make the process quick and easy. As long as you make the payment before the expiration date, there will be no fine to pay.
Alternatively, you can visit your local DMV office and pay your renewal fee in person. However, the line to do this is likely to be long, and it could easily eat several hours of your time. Some DMV offices allow you to make an appointment to pay your renewal fee to save waiting in line.
Special DMV booths can also be found throughout the USA. It is best to know the location of your closest booth and make a plan to avoid wasting time at the DMV. Once you have received your new car tags, attach them to your license plate or another part of your vehicle.
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As you can see, it is essential to make sure that your car tag remains up to date. It is also important to make sure that the car tag is clearly visible on your license plate at all times. Therefore, you should take extra care when cleaning your license plate so that the sticker does not come off.
Like with other important documents, it is a good idea to keep a backup of your car tags just in case. You may want to take photographs of them or make photocopies. Therefore, you will have evidence of the car tags in case they happen to get lost for any reason.