Car Registration - Good vs. Bad

You have a car, you gotta pay the fees to drive it on the road. It is what it is. The proof of registration can be good, or bad.

Good: When I lived in Ontario, it was simple. A little sticker that goes on the corner of your license plate. Every two years, just put the new sticker over the old and you are good to go.

Bad: Stupid Ass New York state. A sticker that goes in the bottom corner of your windshield. Through two years of baking in the sun, the glue holding the sticker turns to superglue leaving you with this crap when you need to replace it. 30 minutes of scraping in the most difficult to reach part of the car, you can finally put the new one on, knowing what awaits in another two years.

Good: Oregon. I just renewed last week. Pulled into the state-run smog testing station, there was no wait; while I went inside to pay, the testing was completed. I was in and out in less than five minutes, with my new tags in hand, which last for two years. Total cost, for smog test and registration: $107, which is up $20 from two years ago.

Bad: California. The last time I registered a car there was in '04, so perhaps things have changed, but this is how I remember it: smogging was pretty much an all-day event. You had to go to a private mechanic or gas station or whatever to get your car smogged. The test took forever, and they would inevitably find something that needed to be fixed before the vehicle would pass. :rolleyes: In the last few years they would actually transmit the results to DMV, so some progress was being made there. Registration had to be mailed in, which meant waiting weeks for new tags. Even for older cars, the cost was well over a hundred bucks, for a single year. IIRC, when my truck was still newish the cost was over $300 per year. At least the smogging only had to be done every other year… or has that changed, too?

Good riddance, California.

Good: Saskatchewan: Hi I bought this car, can I have some plates and insurance please? Here is a small amount of money. I would like the middle insurance option. Total time elapsed: 15 min.

Bad: Ontario.
Me: Hi I’d like some insurance please.
Them: You need an ON driver’s license first. Go there and stand in line for six hours.
Me: Ugh. What if I was living in SK, and just wanted a car in ON. Can’t I insure a car with a SK license?
T: No.
M: Fuck fuck fuck. Okay. Here’s my Driver’s License. Now can I have some insurance.
T: OK send us your info.
M: Sends info. Waits. Waits. Waits. Hey guys did you get the info I sent you?
T: Yes, but we need your insurance history too.
M: It’s on the info I sent you. Hurray for Gov’t insuance.
T: But we need your insurance history.
M: It. Is. On. The. Record. I. Sent. You. Get a manager to approve it.
T: The manager approved it. You will have your policy in fifteen days.
M: 10 days later. Hey just calling to make sure that there is no trouble with my policy.
T: We need your insurance history.
M: ::smack::
T: Oh wait, I see a manager approved it. But your quote expired.
M: So make a new one.
T: But the price might be different.
M: Make a new one.
Fifteen days later. (I called every couple of days)
Them: OK - That’ll be $750
Me: Per annum, that’s not too bad.
T: No per month.
M: And how many times does my dick get sucked for that price? Aside: The highest quote I got was 11 000/six months from State Farm. For a Beige station wagon, WTF? And Desjardin told me to fuck right off.
T: Enjoy your insurance, and don’t forget to have your car inspected and emission tested by Canadian tire (pass - for the gov’t) and then Shady Jack’s Garage (for the Insurance co) (You need $1000 in repairs or you will die!!!eleven! [They wanted to fix my brakes until I raised holy hell]) And after that you get to stand in line for more soul sucking hours to get your plates.
M: Fuck El Toro

I don’t have any bad registration stories to tell, so let me tell you the good:

My home state, Arizona. Vehicle emissions only need to be tested once every two years. You can also register your vehicle for two years at once. So, go to vehicle emission place. Wait behind only one or two cars. Three if they’re busy. Pull in. Open gas cap cover and pop hood. Step out of car while they run the emissions check. In and out in about 5 minutes. Cost for emissions check: $12.25. Go home. Get on PC. Go to the Arizona DMV website. Use debit card to pay for registration. No standing in line. Sticker comes two or three days later. Total to register car for two years, about 50 bucks. My car’s a 1996, still runs reliably, I don’t need a new one.

I don’t have to do that this year. 2011 is when I get to skip the emissions and vehicle registration. They sent me a 2012 sticker last year, so that’s already on my license plate.

Illinois registration is similar, except it’s annual. You can renew in person, by mail or online. (Although it’s aggravating that there is an extra fee for renewing online – shouldn’t it be the opposite?)

The City of Chicago issues a “vehicle sticker” annually that is applied to the same area. I’ve started using this product to avoid the mess you describe. It’s about 3 or 4 dollars for two sheets, as I recall (insult to injury, I know, but worth it to avoid the scraping).