Frequently Asked Questions About Car Registration in Durham North Carolina

 In Neal's How-To's

Q: Do I need an emission test in Durham?

A: Yes, Durham County requires an on-board diagnostic emission inspection unless your car is:

  • 35 years old or older.
  • Model year 1995 or older.
  • A diesel vehicle.
  • Under a farmer rate license.

For a complete list of NC Counties that require emission tests, go here.

Q: Do I need to get my car inspected before I get it registered in NC?

A: Yes. Your car needs to pass a car safety inspection within 90 days before your old registration expires. If your county requires an emission test, you also need to pass it before registering your car.

Q: How much does it cost to register your car in NC?

A:  This depends on your car. Here are some of the most common vehicle fees:

  • Passenger vehicles: $36.
  • Trucks under 4,000 lbs.: $36.
  • Motorcycles: $24.

For new car registrations, the fees are the following:

  • Passenger license plates: $36
  • Certificate of title: $56
  • Regional Transit Authority Registration Tax: $8
  • County Vehicle Registration Tax: $15

Q: I just moved to Durham, when do I have to register my car?

A: You have 30 days after you move to NC to register your car. You do NOT need a new car inspection.

Q: How do I register my new car?

A: Before registering with the DMV, you need everything on this list:

  • Your North Carolina driver’s license. If you are moving from out of state, you must register for a new North Carolina driver’s license FIRST. If you applied but have not received your card, you can use your proof of application from the DMV when registering your car.
  • Notarized title.
  • Proof of car insurance.
  • Bill of sale.
  • $36 license plate fee ready.
  • Three forms:
  • 1. Title Application
  • 2. Damage Disclosure Statement
  • 3. Odometer Disclosure Statement

Q: Can I register my new car online? 

A: No, you can only register a new car in person or by mail. You can RENEW your car registration in-person at the DMV or online. For more information on how to renew your registration, see the previous post on how to register your car in Durham North Carolina.

Q: What if I am late to renew my car registration?

A: There is a 15 day grace period after your registration expires. During this time you can drive your car without getting a ticket, but you will be charged up to a $25 late fee.

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