How to Register a Car in Colorado

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All vehicles must be registered through Colorado’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you have recently moved to Colorado, and have established residency, you have 90 days to register your vehicle. This must be done in person, at the DMV office in the county you live in. Residency is defined as:

  • Operating or owning a business in Colorado
  • Living in Colorado for 90 days
  • Working in Colorado

New residents registration

If you are a new resident and wish to register your vehicle, you required to provide the following:

  • VIN verification
  • Current registration certificate or title
  • Identification, such as driver’s license, passport, military ID
  • Proof of passing an emissions test, if applicable
  • Car insurance proof
  • Registration fees

For residents of Colorado, after you purchase a vehicle, it must be registered within 60 days. Depending on the age of your vehicle and the county you reside in, you may need a smog check. If you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer will handle the registration paperwork in most cases. It is best to confirm this when purchasing the car.

Registering vehicles purchased from private seller

If you purchased your vehicle from a private party and wish to register it, you need to provide the following:

  • VIN verification
  • Current registration or title
  • Identification, such as driver’s license, passport, military ID
  • Proof of passing an emissions test, if applicable
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Registration fees

If you are a military member stationed in Colorado, you may keep your vehicle’s registration in your home state, or register your vehicle in Colorado. If you do register your vehicle, you need to comply with emission laws and requirements, but you do not have to pay the Specific Ownership Tax. To meet the standards for this waiver, you must bring the following to the DMV:

  • Copy of your orders
  • Military ID
  • Current Leave and Earnings Statement
  • Non-residence and Military Service Exemption from Specific Ownership Tax Affidavit

There are fees associated with registering a vehicle in Colorado. Sales and ownership taxes are added on as well. All of the fees vary by county. The three types of fees are:

  • Ownership tax: Personal property tax based on the value of your vehicle when it was brand new

  • Sales tax: Based on your car’s net purchase price

  • License fee: Based on the weight of your vehicle, purchase date, and the taxable value

Smog checks and emissions tests

Some counties require smog checks and emissions tests. These should be done before registering your vehicle.

The following counties require smog checks:

  • Jefferson
  • Douglas
  • Denver
  • Broomfield
  • Boulder

The following counties require emissions tests:

  • Weld
  • Larimer
  • El Paso
  • Arapahoe
  • Adams

Be sure to check local guidelines when it comes to smog and emissions checks. Furthermore, you can find exact registration fees at your local county’s DMV. Visit the Colorado DMV website to find out more about what you can expect from this process.


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Number of Reviews

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Rating Summary
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10,490
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85

Richard

15 years of experience
60 reviews
Richard
15 years of experience
Ford F-150 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Fremont, California
Excellent communicator, walked me through the fixes and even gave me an idea of what might be next on the fix list.
Dodge Grand Caravan - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Union City, California
quickly diagnosed the problem but knew it would take longer than appt time to fix. since we had appt the next day for brakes he rearranged his schedule to do it all together the next day. very knowledgeable, friendly, and professional.

Tung

14 years of experience
285 reviews
Tung
14 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Mableton, Georgia
Very detailed and customer service oriented. Did an amazing job fixing my back brakes and even set-up a schedule of future appointments for my car!
Ram 1500 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Marietta, Georgia
Tung showed up on time and was very friendly. Changed my brake pads in about 30 minutes and gave me recommendations on when to change the rear pads. Will ask for him by name next time.

Horus

9 years of experience
103 reviews
Horus
9 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Antonio, Texas
Horace worked on my Land Rover today. Showed up on time and was professional and courteous. Replaced front and rear break pads. Great job!

Juan

11 years of experience
37 reviews
Juan
11 years of experience
Dodge Avenger - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Mountain House, California
Was very thorough in explaining the condition of the car and how the repairs will impact it’s service.

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