Are you wondering about what to do with old license plates California? I recently contacted the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for guidance on disposing of my old license plate. They told me that old plates aren’t needed by California. Curious, I also asked if I could sell the plate on eBay or Craigslist, or even give it away as a souvenir. Their answer was simple: the plate is no longer valid, so it’s your choice what to do with it.
However, there’s more to it than just getting rid of the plate. Below, you’ll find additional information about handling your old California license plate, including steps to take if you are moving out of state or shipping your vehicle overseas.
Do I Need to Return License Plates in CA?
You are allowed to keep your old California license plate. There is no requirement to give it back. If you are moving to another state and registering your vehicle there, the new state will inform California.
Sometimes, the new state might ask for your old California plates when you are registering your vehicle there. Remember to update your address with the California DMV when you leave the state.
How Do You Dispose Of Old License Plates in California?
It’s perfectly fine to dispose of your old California license plate. You can throw it away if you no longer want it. However, this is risky if you do not shred the license plate first before disposal. The reason is that it can be traced back to you in case it is found in a crime scene.
What to Do with Old License Plates California?
The DMV told me that since the old license plates are no longer valid, what you do with them is up to you. You can sell them on platforms like eBay or Craigslist, or even keep them as souvenirs. There’s no specific law against this.
If you have an old California license plate and are thinking about what to do with it, there are some creative and fun options you can consider.
1. Keep It as a Souvenir
Instead of returning your old California license plates, why not keep them as souvenirs? In antique stores, old license plates are often sought-after items.
For example, when I was in Queretaro, Mexico, I saw a collection of various license plates in an antique store, and it was quite a sight. The same is true for California plates in antique stores.
2. Use in Creative Arts
Your old license plates can be transformed into various artistic creations. Here are some ideas:
- Bird feeders
- Wall hangings
These are just a few examples. You might even find inspiration to make a frame for your favorite photos, adding a memorable touch.
3. Shop Decoration
If you have a shop, displaying your collection of CA license plates can be an interesting decor idea. I’ve received many compliments from visitors on the license plates displayed in my shop. Sometimes, if I have duplicates of a state’s plate, I even give one away to interested visitors.
4. Decorate Your Garage
One popular idea is to use old license plates as decorations in your garage. You can hang them up with a rope or nail them directly onto the wall. This adds a unique and personal touch to your space.
What if You Just Received Your Personalized Plates?
So, you just got your personalized plates. Now, on the little DMV slip, it reads something like:
This office is holding your environmental license plates. In order to retain your priority, California Vehicle Code (CVC) §5109 requires these plates to be assigned to a vehicle. If they are not assigned to a vehicle within 30 days from the date of final notice, we will cancel these plates and make them available to other applicants.
In this case, if your CA plates arrive with the registration and stickers, you don’t have to go into the DMV. However, you have to turn in your old plates either via the dropbox at the DMV or by mail.
Can You Retain Your Personalized License Plate When Selling Your Vehicle in California?
In California, you’re allowed to keep your personalized or vanity license plates. To do this, you need to fill out the Special Interest License Plate Application. This is to inform the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about your decision. Even if you don’t use these plates on a vehicle, you’re required to pay an annual retention fee. The amount varies based on the type of plate you have. Remember, you won’t get a reminder for this fee.
Keep receipts every time you pay for your personalized plate. If you forget to renew it every year, the DMV will cancel your personalized California plate.
If you have sold your vehicle and want to give up your personalized plates, you should let the DMV know. You do this by filling out the same Special Interest License Plate Application and then turning in your plates to the local DMV office.
You’re not obligated to surrender your personalized California plates if you don’t want to. But, if you stop paying the annual renewal fee, the plates will become invalid. This means you can’t use them on another vehicle. However, there won’t be any consequences if you choose not to renew them.
What to Do When Relocating from California and Registering Your Vehicle in Another State
If you’re leaving California and planning to register your car or motorcycle in a different state, here’s what you should do:
1. Notify the California DMV
Fill out the Change of Address (DMV 14) form. This lets the CA DMV know you’re moving. Make sure to check the box that says “check if registered outside of CA.” This ensures you’ll get any necessary bills in your new state. You should do this within 10 days of your move.
2. Update Your Registration Details
When it’s time to renew your vehicle’s registration, write on the renewal notice the date you moved and the new state where your vehicle is now registered.
Send this back so the DMV can update your records. If you don’t do this, they might keep trying to collect fees from you, like through bank levies or wage garnishments.
3. Move the Vehicle Out of the Country
If you are shipping your vehicle out of the country, you need to give back your California license plates to the DMV. You’ll also need to fill out a transfer application. For more specific steps, look up California’s guidelines for shipping vehicles internationally.
When you sell your vehicle, keep your license plates. Tell the buyer to get a temporary tag. This is important for both cars and motorcycles. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to get this temporary tag so they can legally drive or ride the vehicle home. Now, what to do with old license plates California? Anything you feel most comfortable doing with your old plates will do.