California Car Registration


California has some pretty strict rules for just about everything. Most people would be shocked to know how big a pain it is just to open a checking account at a bank. What do you mean I can deposit a paycheck but I can only access X amount of dollars from it?

Your car can be an even bigger headache. State law requires that you get a new driver’s license within 30 days of moving into the state. And how about those tags? Register. Then, renew – ASAP.

In California, towing companies are authorized to tow any vehicle with tags that are expired 6 months or more. Sounds reasonable, until you move to L.A., and 6 months feels like 6 days.

Let’s just say for shits and giggles that you do get towed at 1AM on Ventura Boulevard because your tags are expired. Upon calling the police about your 12-year-old car being stolen, you’re informed that it’s been impounded. Here’s what may, or may not follow:

  1. Go to Van Nuys DMV just before 8AM to get in line, to get in another line, to wait for your number to be called. Marie tells you your 1997 car title is invalid because it doesn’t have some stamp. Mail this. Sign this. Notarize this. And put this in your window. $100.
  2. Go to North Hollywood Police Station. Speak with Officer Whatshisname. He is drinking a Big Gulp, and feeling comedic this morning. Let me call someone. She’s sending a fax. Sign this. Intial this. What, no California I.D.? I could have arrested you. I can’t release the car to you. I can release the car to her. Joke. Joke. I’ll call the tow company. They said it’ll be $1,000. Ha ha.
  3. Go to towing company in Van Nuys. Sign this. Sign this. I’ll be right back. I can’t release the car to you. I can release the car to her, but she has to drive it off the lot. Wait one moment. $184.15. You can drive it out now.
  4. Go to work. Have a nice day.

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