How to Find Out Which License Plates are Available in Your State | YourMechanic Advice

How to Find Out Which License Plates are Available in Your State

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When you register your vehicle, you get a license plate. Unless you specify otherwise, you will get the standard, generic license plate for your state. However, most states have numerous options for fun, specialized license plates. Some of these plates are simply different colors or different themes, while others are personalized for certain careers or colleges. In addition to these specialized plates, you can personalize the letters and numbers that appear on your license plate.

Having a specialized license plate is a lot of fun, because it helps your car stand out, and makes your vehicle personalized and authentically yours. However, before getting a specialized plate you will have find the ones that are available in your state, and choose the plate for you. You will also have to pay a small fee to get a specialized plate.

Method 1 of 2: Use the DMV’s website

dmv site screenshot state selection

Step 1: Log on to your local DMV website. All specialized plates must be purchased through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which is the same place where you register your car. To access your state’s DMV website, go to www.DMV.org, and then select the state that your vehicle is registered in (or will be registered in).

To select your state, simply click on the blue arrow near the top of the webpage, next to the words “Choose Your State.”

license plate and placards

Step 2: Navigate to DMV's special license plate page. Maneuver to the special license plates section of the DMV’s website. After you have made it to your state’s DMV page, click on the button that says “Registration and Titling”, then select “License Plates and Placards”. Then follow the instructions on the website to find the section for specialized license plates.

  • Tip: Depending on your state, you may have to input the zip code in which your vehicle is registered in order to see the available specialized license plates.

Step 3: Select your favorite license plate. Browse the specialized license plate offerings, and choose the one that best suits you and your vehicle.

Step 4: Check the requirements for your chosen license plate. Some license plates are only available to select people, so you should double check to make sure that you are eligible for the specialized plate that you have chosen. You should also check to see what the fee will be for this particular plate.

Step 5: If possible, order your specialized plate. Many states will let you order your specialized plate directly from the DMV’s website. However, some sites will only sell you the plates at a DMV location. Read the instructions on the specialized plate page to figure out whether you can place an order or not.

Method 2 of 2: Purchase the plates at a DMV location

dmv map california highlighted in orange

Step 1: Find the closest DMV office. You can find your local DMV office on your state’s DMV website, or by googling DMV. Find the address, and make sure that they are open when you plan to go.

  • Tip: Many DMV offices are only open on weekdays, at standard work hours, so you may have to work around your schedule to make a trip to the DMV.

Step 2: Check the available specialized license plates. Most DMV offices have most or all of the specialized plates on display, but if not, a DMV worker will be able to give you a list of the available license plates.

Step 3: Check the requirements, and purchase your specialized license plate. A DMV worker can let you know which specialized license plates are available to you, and what the fees will be to purchase them. Follow the DMV representative’s instructions to buy your specialized plate.

With your new specialized license plate, your car will be a little bit more fun, a little bit more unique, and a lot more personalized.


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27 years of experience
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Very friendly and explains things if you are interested. I will continue to work with Gustavo any time I need auto work done - this is my second time out for a different car and will book him for my third car. Already have recommended Gus to my friends.
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