What should I do in this situation with my car tags/registration?


#1

I was living in Tennessee but after losing my job I just came back to where my parents live in Mississippi.

My tags/registration for Tennessee expire at the end of September. I am actually going to be flying out this Friday, September 26 to go visit my girlfriend out in California and I will be staying there roughly 4 weeks to look for a job. Whether I get a job or not I will be coming back here at the end of October/early November. At that time I will either start looking for a job here in Mississippi if I can’t find one out there in that time frame or if I do get offered a job I will immediately come back here to pack up my stuff and move out to California. I haven’t decided whether I would drive my car which is older out there, sell it, transport it, etc.?

So what should I do about my car tags/registration/drivers license…would you change them out now here in Mississippi before I go this Friday or should I wait until I get back and do it the day I get back? The car wouldn’t be used at all during the time I’m gone.

I was thinking I should just wait until the day I get back if I don’t get a job out there OR if I do get a job out there but decide to not take it/or transport it there with a carrier.

But then I was thinking that if I do get a job out there and decide to drive my car out there I should renew it now so I’m not driving cross country on expired tags? Or would I be ok on expired tags just driving there for 1-2 days in transit and the day I get to California get new tags/registration/drivers license there?


#2

if you drive cross country on expired tags you are asking for trouble


#3

Yeah I’m not suggesting I do that. I’m just asking what I should do in my situation? Should I renew my tags/registration now or when I come back in a month? If I do it when I come back in a month and decide to drive my car out if I got a job there I would literally just renew my tags/registration for a few days in Mississippi and drive out to California to renew them again?


#4

Don’t let your tags expire, will be a PITA getting everything re registered. wesw is right, do not drive with expired tags. I would register the cars at your parents address, good safe place to have paper work sent to. Even if you move to CA you will have time to transfer registration, you can do it on your schedule then instead of rushing.


#5

Register the car in Tenn or Miss whichever is cheaper and easier and no matter where you end up, drive the car until those fresh plates expire…Half the cars in California have out of state plates and the cops don’t seem to worry about stuff like that…You certainly don’t want to have to deal with California emissions the first week you are there…


#6

Are you sure your older car will pass inspection in California?

As to registration my vote it to keep it up to date. Consider it cheap insurance and keep the insurance on the car itself up to date.

Some places can get pretty picky on things like this. Get stopped in OK for expired tags and lack of insurance and your car will get towed unless you get a very benevolent law enforcement officer.

I’ve been through Albuquerque, NM 4 times and got stopped and run through the wringer even though I was clean and legal.
A state trooper in CA kept me on the side of the road in the Mojave desert for almost an hour in 100 degree heat once after stopping me for no front license plate. He insisted that I have one and for some reason would not or could not understand that the state of OK does not issue front plates.

He was going to have my car towed and the only reason he didn’t was because:
They said it would be 4 or 5 hours before a tow truck from Barstow could be sent…
His dispatcher finally radioed back and verified that OK does not issue front plates.


#7

Lol guys I don’t think you are understanding my question. I know I need to get my tags renewed in Mississippi…that’s not my question. I’m saying should I do it now before I go out to fly and visit in California or the day when I get back? I’m just wondering if I should do it now or later because if I decide not to drive the car out there I might just sell it or if I don’t get a job out there and stay in MS meaning I shouldn’t get new tags right now and should wait until I get home in a month? But if I do drive it out there I would just get new tags/registration when I get back for like one day or so until I drive out there which doesn’t make sense either?


#8
I'm saying should I do it now before I go out to fly and visit in California or the day when I get back?

It makes no difference.


#9

In Minnesota you’ve got either 30 or 60 days (depending) to get a new drivers license and change your car registration after moving (there are definitions for that too). So you’re likely going to have to just register everything in MS now unless you can keep the TN registration. I would not worry about California since you would be better off to just buy another car there due to their extreme regulations. Unfortunately unless you are in the military, there is no “national” registration and you have to be attached to some state always. Now if you are military, you don’t need to do anything.


#10

So even though my TN registration/tags expire at the end of September, if I don’t get back from my flight out to California until late October/early November I can do it the day I get back with no problem?


#11
Unfortunately unless you are in the military, there is no "national" registration and you have to be attached to some state always.
Also, a full-time student gets a pass. When I was a working pilot, I spent my first year living out of hotels for 28 days at a time. I gave my mom's house as a "permanent residence," but I had no honest answer to the question, "Where do you live?"

#12

If you have the option to register the car as non operational I would do that until you know what your plans will be. Why register a car if you are going to sell it or tow it cross country. The smog program in CA is not as bad as people make it out to be. If your car was a federal emissions car from the start you will only have to comply with federal regulations. As long as you have not modified or altered the smog equipment the car should pass.


#13
So even though my TN registration/tags expire at the end of September, if I don't get back from my flight out to California until late October/early November I can do it the day I get back with no problem?

Sure and then pay any “late” fees they tack on.


#14
"So even though my TN registration/tags expire at the end of September, if I don't get back from my flight out to California until late October/early November I can do it the day I get back with no problem? "

You are way over-thinking this. Why not just do what you know is easy - register before you leave so the car is always registered.


#15

Check Mississippi law and see what is required to register the car. It looks like you will have to get it inspected in order to drive it there. Will your car pass the safety inspection? If not, you have to repair it.


#16

Since you have to transfer the registration out of TN, I would wait. Take your current title and registration with you and if you get a job in California, then register the car there using your girlfriends address and carry the tags back to Mississippi. If you don’t get a job in CA, then if you return at the end of Oct, wait until Nov to register in Miss if you don’t need to drive it in that short span.

Both Miss and CA have a value tax on the annual registration if the car is not too old.


#17

Well I’m coming back to Mississippi regardless if I get a job out there or not to pack my things and move out there for good if I get a job. I’m not over-thinking this…if I register it now and I do get a job and decide to transport it with a carrier or sell it I would have wasted $50. That’s why I can’t decide if I should register it now or in a month when I get back.


#18

DO IT NOW!!! To avoid problems if you have trouble getting back on time.


#19

Would you get them both done now in terms of registration and drivers license? In Mississippi I heard you have 30 days once you set up residency to get registration and 60 days for drivers license.

But what if I decide to take a job out in California and don’t take my car? Then I wasted $80…


#20

Yep, thats part of being not anchored in any state yet (called transient). You have to check the laws but to be considered a resident, you usually have to be in the state for 30-60 days. But if you aren’t continuously in the state that long at any given time, you aren’t a resident. So why not make it easy on yourself and just keep being a TN resident for a while until a more permanent arrangement is found? Get the plates now for the $50 (that’s a bargain mine are $3-400 each in Minnesota). Then if you end up in MS or CA at some point in the next 6 months, you can 't make the DL and registration change then.

A little OT but if you live in MN and have a boat on a border lake at your cabin in South Dakota, and the boat has Minnesota tags, it has to go back to Minnesota every 90 days or so, or it needs South Dakota tags. Huh? So the boat just has to drift a little east on the lake across the state line and its back in Minnesota again and can then go back to South Dakota for another 90 days. But who’s to say it drifted over the line last week or not unless some game warden stuck a GPS on it? Same thing of course if the boat has SD plates and is used in MN.

Luckily, all 50 states observe the DL from all other states as well as vehicle plates, and unless you just got back from Syria, no one is really checking to see how many days you’ve been in MS.