How to Transfer Your License Plate Number From Your Old Car to Your New One

If you have a personalized license plate, you likely will want to transfer your license plate number when you purchase a new vehicle. Transferring your personalized license plate allows you to keep the unique and meaningful specialized plate on your car. It’s also much cheaper and easier to transfer personalized plates than it is to cancel them and purchase them again with your new vehicle.

Even if you don’t have a personalized license plate, there are many reasons to transfer your current license plate number from your old vehicle to your new one. You may have your license plate number filled out on forms, which may make it easier to transfer the number than to change pertinent information. Thankfully, it’s very easy to transfer your license plate number from your old car to your new one.

Method 1 of 2: Transfer your plate at a DMV office

dmv registration page
Image: DMV California

Step 1: Gather your pertinent information. Make sure that you have all the necessary information for the car that you are transferring from, and the car that you are transferring to.

You will need proof of current, active registration for the vehicle that you are transferring the license plates from, and you will need to have the title certificate of the car that you are transferring the license plates to.

If the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office that you are visiting already has your information on hand, then you may not need all of this paperwork.

  • Tip: Be sure to bring a form of payment to the DMV office, as it costs a small fee to transfer your license plates to your new vehicle.

license plate being installed onto vehicle

Step 2: Visit your local DMV office. Bring the aforementioned information to your local DMV office, and tell them that you would like to transfer license plates.

With the information that you have provided, they will be able to transfer and install the plates easily and quickly.

  • Tip: If the DMV doesn’t install the plates for you, and you don’t feel comfortable installing your new license plates, have a professional do the job.

Method 2 of 2: Transfer your plate at the dealership

Step 1: Purchase your new vehicle. When you find the new or used car that you are ready to upgrade to, head to the dealership to handle all the final paperwork and payment.

  • Tip: This must be done at an authorized dealership.

Step 2: Ask the dealership about license plate transfers. When you are filling out your title information, the dealership will be able to handle the license plate transfer for you.

It doesn’t take much time or effort to have your license plates transferred from your old vehicle to your new one. Just follow these easy steps, and your license plate will stay with you, even when your car changes. If you notice that your license plate light is out, have one of YourMechanic’s expert mechanics replace it for you.


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Jim

33 years of experience
185 reviews
Jim
33 years of experience
Toyota Corolla L4-1.8L - License Plate Light - Dublin, California
Jim was great with the car. He quickly identified the issue and proposed the solution. He showed great expertise in providing valuable feedback to some of my questions as well. I would recommend Jim any day for auto services.

Darnell

19 years of experience
21 reviews
Darnell
19 years of experience
Volkswagen GTI L4-2.0L Turbo - License Plate Light - Los Angeles, California
Darnell did fantastic work on my VW GTI and treated it like it was his own car. Highest recommendation!

Riley

41 years of experience
18 reviews
Riley
41 years of experience
Subaru Forester H4-2.5L - License Plate Light - Washington, District of Columbia
He was very kind and professional - quickly diagnosed the problems with our car and repaired them. I would highly recommend Riley for your car repair needs.

Ramon

20 years of experience
166 reviews
Ramon
20 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.8L - License Plate Light - Tucson, Arizona
Ramon is very professional and personable. He took the time to explain how the window regulator works and why mine needed to be replaced. Found and repaired a couple of other issues I had with my car as well. Thanks to Ramon my first experience with "Your Mechanic" was a good one and I will definitely use your business again.

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