If you have old Illinois license plates you no longer use, it is now your property. In Illinois, the Secretary of State does not require the return of the license plates. Now, this article will tell you what to do with old license plates Illinois.
Normally, when you sell your motor vehicle in Illinois, you are not required to return your license plates to the state. This is different from some other states where not returning plates might result in penalties or ongoing insurance obligations. Therefore, if you’re in Illinois, you can decide what to do with your old or expired license plates.
However, you should inform your insurance company once you no longer own the vehicle, to avoid any confusion or unnecessary charges.
Now, in a situation where you have an old license plate and receive renewal notices from the Illinois Secretary of State, you simply fill out the form to show that you no longer have the vehicle or the plate. This keeps your records up to date.
What to Do with Old License Plates Illinois
With your old license plates, there are a few things you could do with them. Since there’s no legal requirement to return them, you can keep them as souvenirs, use them for creative projects, or recycle them. It’s entirely up to you. So, below is what to do with old license plates Illinois:
Dispose of It in the State’s Recycling Bin
If you have an old or expired license plate in Illinois and you’re not sure what to do with it, one option is recycling. Just take your license plate to one of the Secretary of State’s facilities. There, you’ll find tamper-proof bins specifically for disposing of license plates. This service is available at approximately 136 motor vehicle facilities across Illinois.
License plates in Illinois used to be made from galvanized steel, but now they are designed with recyclable aluminum to help conserve resources.
Before you recycle your license plate, cut it into pieces because if the plate isn’t properly disposed of, there’s a chance it could be misused. For example, you might start receiving notices for non-payment of charges associated with your old plate if it ends up on another vehicle. Cutting up the plate helps prevent this from happening.
Keep it as a Souvenir
Illinois license plates can make great souvenirs, especially since Illinois switched from steel plates to aluminum in 2004. Your current plate might become a vintage collectible in the future. If you have specialty or personalized plates, you can choose to cancel your registration and keep them for memories.
Hang It in Your Garage
Many people love to decorate their garages with old Illinois license plates. It adds a personal touch and can be seen as a unique gift from your state.
If you own a mechanic shop, displaying old plates can enhance the aesthetic appeal and create a pleasant ambiance, especially if they make a soft, dangling sound.
Old license plates offer a canvas for creativity. Some Illinois residents repurpose them into birdhouses, cages, or even picture frames. Using a license plate as a frame can give a unique, rustic feel to your photos and preserve memories in an unconventional way.
These ideas allow you to repurpose your old license plates in a meaningful or artistic manner, adding a personal touch to your space or keeping a piece of history.
What if You Forgot to Renew Your Plates?
Let’s say you mistakenly failed to renew your vehicle registration. In my case, I had moved to a new area from Illinois and updated my driver’s license address, but that was it. Fast forward to November 2021, I checked my registration, thinking I was just late for the new one, only to realize I’d been driving with expired tags for over a year.
I’m the type to own up to my mistakes, so I went straight to the DMV and explained everything. To my relief, they were understanding. They told me how fortunate I was for not getting caught and surprisingly, they didn’t charge me for the year I missed. They just issued new plates and registration, with the usual annual fee, and no late charges. It seemed like they chose the simplest solution rather than anything underhanded.
So, take your driver’s license, proof of address, and old registration to the DMV and be honest about the situation. Chances are, you might find yourself as fortunate as I was.
Ps. This is not to say that they may not want the missing year’s fees as well, since you have been driving the car.
So, what to do with old license plates Illinois is that after selling your vehicle, you can recycle them at any Secretary of State facility and dispose of them in a designated bin or keep them (for your garage decorations, creative projects, or as souvenirs). Meanwhile, before the buyer leaves (if you plan to sell your car), advise them to get a temporary tag for their ride home. You should not give your old plates to the new owner.
All in all, the choice is yours, and there are several creative or practical ways to handle them.
Read also: Proof of Ownership of Car Without Title