What do you do after a successful car hunt? I personally enjoy the hunt itself; there’s nothing like tracking down an old car and knowing that you got a good deal. Once the deal is struck, it’s time to handle your business and complete the necessary paperwork to register the car. Every state is different and has certain requirements but for the most part, registering an older car is a similar process no matter where you reside. In this tech article, we hooked up with VIP Registration of Bellflower, CA. VIP Registration has been in business for over 30 years and has a great motto, which is, “VIPs never wait in line. Why should you?” They have a licensed staff dedicated to handling daily appointments coordinated with DMV technicians to ensure that your DMV needs are top priority. Their prompt, professional team can handle your title, registration, and verification needs on everything from vehicles to vessels and commercial equipment!

“It’s all about paperwork,” states Barry, of VIP Registration. “As long as you have a legitimate paper trail, it is easy for the registration process to be started and completed.” A title on the car is the ideal, but not the only way to register a car. For example, a California car that was bought new in 1956 and was last registered in 1974 will have fallen off the DMV system and will need to be re-inspected and be processed the same way an out of state car would be. With that said, the process is the same for a car that you bought from out-of-state that you’re trying to register back in California. The DMV will do a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) check to make sure that it isn’t stolen and the same process as an out-of-system car would have with the DMV.

This process is common and is also used for old “Barn Finds” and abandoned vehicles. For example, if you were to go to Middle America and found the car that you really wanted and the seller didn’t have a title for the vehicle but had a Bill of Sale, they can register the car for you ― as long as it is not stolen. Same goes for a found vehicle that you brought back on a tow truck. As long as there is a VIN number, the car can be easy to register. If there is no VIN number on the vehicle, there is a way of fixing it. You would have to work with the DMV and the Highway Patrol to sort that out. With a referral from the DMV, the Highway Patrol would check for a VIN number and once they determined the vehicle wasn’t stolen, they could issue a VIN for the vehicle. Once they issue you a VIN or as they refer to it in California, a “blue tag,” you can finish all of your paperwork and register the vehicle.

Once a vehicle inspection that requires an operating engine and transmission in the vehicle is complete, they will do a VIN check and the rest is handled through paperwork and fees that may apply to the vehicle. As long as there were no liens, the vehicle can be registered pretty quickly. In the case of the car that we are trying to register for the article, it will be registered as “permanent Non-Operable registration deferred.” This will give us a title but no registration, and once we’re done with our car, registration will be just like a regular renewal. By doing this, we can save the annual registration fees and with a title in hand, we will be able to finish registering the car once it is completed.

While talking to Barry, he let us know about registering a vehicle with era-correct plates. If the car already has them, it’s easier to register the vehicle but if you want to add them to your car, you can. You basically don’t own the plates; they are property of the state. You can still have “YOM” Year of Manufacture plates ― you just need to make sure that they are still usable. In California, there are a few things that you need to make sure of before registering the plates. If they came with the car and you have both plates, you can usually keep them on the car. If you buy a set of plates at an automotive swap meet or on eBay, you need to make sure that they are not stolen because if they are, you will not be able to register them. If you own a car and you buy a commercial set of plates, you will not be able to use them. The same goes if they are dealer plates. You basically need to walk in with the plates and surrender them to the state, along with the Y.O.M application, and they usually will re-release them to your car as long as they meet the state’s criteria. Just remember that you can use old era correct plates on old cars, but you can’t use old plates on newer models.

Companies like VIP exist because of the vintage car industry. They are true professionals as they stay on top of all the new rules and regulations that are always changing. VIP Registration will make the car registration process much easier for you; saving you time and getting you out on the road as soon as possible. If you need VIN verification, registration, or other DMV services, give VIP Registration a call.