Illinois car registration renewals

Determine the Status of Your RegistrationRegistration-Renewals

You must renew your registration every 12 months.

Renew Illinois Registration
It is illegal to drive for any time period with an expired license. Its also illegal to drive without having proper insurance. You can further research insurance providers to attain information on policies. There are different renewal options available.

Register a Vehicle in Illinois for the First Time
If you recently moved to the state or bought a car you will need to complete an initial vehicle registration with the Secretary of State (SOS) office. You must follow a separate registration process for this.

Register a Non-Operational Vehicle
Since the state doesnt provide a special process for registering these vehicles, you must register and renew your non-operational vehicle in the same manner as functioning vehicles.

Check Your Renewal NoticeRegistration-Renewals

You should receive your renewal notice in the mail a few months before your registration expires. While you are not required to have this form to renew, it does contain useful information regarding your registration, such as the fee you owe, your personal identification number (PIN), and renewal code (if eligible for online or phone renewal).

If you didnt receive your notice you must still renew on time. If youre missing your notice and want to get one, call the SOS at (800) 252-8980. If you are eligible for online or phone renewal, all you need is a PIN and renewal code, so send an email to the SOS.

It is possible that your vehicle may need a smog test before you can renew its registration. It depends when the SOS sends your smog notice.

Calculate Your FeesRegistration-Renewals

Renewal fees depend on the type of plates you have and the method you choose to renew. The standard plate fee is $99, but, depending on the renewal method, may carry an additional minor charge.

Other vehicle-related fees you might find are your monthly or annual car insurance payments. You can browse lower rates to make sure you get the best deal.

Avoid Late Fees and Penalties
It is illegal to drive in Illinois with expired plates for any period of time. The state does not punish people who are tardy in renewing their registration with the $20 late fee if the registration gets renewed within 30 days after the expiration date.

Renew Online, In Person, By Mail, or By PhoneRegistration-Renewals

If youve changed your name, address, or vehicle information since your last renewal or you didnt receive your renewal card, it will affect how you renew.

Renew Online
1. You must check to see if you are eligible to renew using this method.
2. If youre eligible, have your PIN, renewal code, and insurance information available.
3. Be prepared to pay your renewal fee with your Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card, or American Express credit card or through your checking account. A $1.75 surcharge applies to credit card transactions.
4. Follow the instructions provided on the renewal website.
Allow at least one month to process your request.

In Person
1. Get your renewal notice or current registration (some currency exchanges and banks may only accept your renewal notice).
2. Be prepared with a cash, check, travelers check, or Discover Card credit card to pay your fee. A $2 surcharge applies to credit-card payments at SOS locations; currency exchanges and banks charge a minimum surcharge of $3 no matter the payment method.
3. To complete the renewal go to an SOS location, currency exchange, or participating bank branch.

By Mail
1. Sign your name at bottom of renewal card. If you cant find the card, write a letter with your name, address, license plate number, vehicle made, vehicle model year, and vehicle identification number. It would also help to include a copy of your current registration card.
2. Write a check payable to the Illinois Security of State to pay your fee.
3. Send everything to:
Secretary of State
Vehicle Services Department
501 S. 2nd St., Room 011
Springfield, IL 62756-6666
Allow at least one month to process your request.

By Phone
1. Have your PIN, renewal code, and insurance information ready.
2. Have a Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card, or American Express credit card ready to pay the renewal fee and the $1.75 processing fee. You could also pay through your checking account.
3. Call (866) 545-9609 to use the automated, touch-tone system
Allow at least one month to process your request.

Affix Your StickersRegistration-Renewals

Make sure you follow the instructions provided to properly place your stickers on your plate.

Get a Tax DeductionRegistration-Renewals

Some states calculate their car renewal fee based partially on a vehicles estimated worth, which acts as a personal property tax that allows residents to use this renewal fee as a tax deduction.

However, Illinois doesnt calculate its renewal fees in this method, and therefore you cannot take the deduction. Consult a tax attorney to learn more.

Do Your Part to Keep Our Roadways SafeRegistration-Renewals

Now you have your renewal all set, but to keep you and other motorists safe maintain your car and keep it in good shape.

Have regular oil changes and tune-ups. Rotate your tires a couple of times a year and properly replace worn tires. A qualified and reliable mechanic will be able to handle these matters easily, as well as alert you to potential problems before they become dangerous.

Purchasing an after-market warranty also gives you the ability to take care of major repairs that might be hard to afford. Join a roadside assistance program because it will allow you to safely deal with unavoidable emergencies.