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  1. #1
    megsmegs is offline Junior Member
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    Default New to PA (and Mt Airy)...car registration?????

    Hi neighbors :)

    I'm new to PA, moved here for a job at Penn and live in Mt Airy. After a frustrating half hour of poking around the PennDOT website, I think I have figured out how to get a PA drivers license (any suggestions on locations with shorter lines/wait times would be appreciated, though). Registering the car, on the other hand, is still somewhat of a mystery....

    I don't think this can be accomplished at a PennDOT office, it looks like registration occurs at private shops/mechanics? Correct? Any suggestions on places to do this that are fairly inexpensive (since it looks like they set their own charges??)?

    Do I need to worry about getting emissions done before registering, is this something that occurs concurrently with the registration, or what?

    Any other tips/surprises I may encounter during this thrilling project?? I know I need PA drivers license and insurance before registering in PA, and my NM tabs don't expire until end of Feb so I have a little time.... thanks :)

  2. #2
    toxigal is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome to PA and NW Philadelphia!

    The steps:

    1) go to DMV. Wait a long long time. Get license.
    2) register vehicle. Are you an AAA member? They had the lowest fees. Take with you: 1) License; 2) Proof of insurance; 3) Vehicle Title; 4) Vehicle (they will do a trace of the VIN)
    3) within 10 days of registering your vehicle it must be inspected.

  3. #3
    Politburo is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome to the most ridiculous vehicle titling/registration/inspection system in existence.

    You technically have to register your car within 20 days of moving here. But given the number of out-of-state plates I regularly see, this does not appear to be enforced.

    Note that the inspection is a safety and emissions inspection. Check all of your lights, horn, wipers, tires, etc. to avoid a hassle.

    Frequently Asked Questions: Vehicle Safety Inspections - Motorist

  4. #4
    mikinvs is offline Twas brillig ...
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    Welcome to the area - you'll love it here !

    I moved here not long ago and I had to go through this overly complicated ordeal.

    Firstly I went to Center City to get my license not long after moving here. Be warned that they don't take checks or credit cards, only cash or a money order. There's your first gotcha. I forget what they needed. I took a utility bill, proof of ownership of my house, proof of insurance and of course my old license. You'll get your old license back, with a hole in it.

    Secondly take you car to an Auto Tags company - you'll need a PA issued official document for this step - your PA license, will do nicely. I took mine to Wyndmoor Auto Tags at 1016 E Willow Grove Ave, Glenside, PA. It'll cost around $100 to register your car. At this point you hand in the title to your car. I'm not sure what you need to do if your car is financed and has a lien on it. You'll be given a single tag/plate right there to replace the one or two you have on your current car - the plate incidentally goes on the rear of the car. Send the old ones back to the old state so that the insurance company knows about it. The DMV will send you a receipt of the old tags which you need to let the insurance company know about. The auto tag person will also give you a piece of paper that you need to stick in the back window of your car. This is your temporary registration whilst PA processes your registration - it gives you three months. Stick this piece of paper in the bottom left corner of the rear window (looking at the car from behind). The receipt from the Auto Tag company is also part of your registration details.

    Once you have your plate and temporary registration you have 10 days to get the car inspected and tested for emissions. If that passes you'll get two stickers placed in your windshield.

    8 weeks or so later you'll get a new title from PA along with a registration sticker that you place on the tag - top left. It's at this point you can take the paper registration out of your back window.

    Oh, I was told by the auto tag place that if you bought your car in the last 6 months, you'll be stuck with paying sales tax on the car.
    Last edited by mikinvs; 01-13-2011 at 04:56 PM.

  5. #5
    mikinvs is offline Twas brillig ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politburo View Post
    Welcome to the most ridiculous vehicle titling/registration/inspection system in existence.
    I've lived in three states (VA, NY and PA) and this is by far the most convoluted state for car registration.

  6. #6
    Braveheart is offline Mismember
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    Upstream Village
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by megsmegs View Post
    Hi neighbors

    I'm new to PA, moved here for a job at Penn and live in Mt Airy. After a frustrating half hour of poking around the PennDOT website, I think I have figured out how to get a PA drivers license (any suggestions on locations with shorter lines/wait times would be appreciated, though). Registering the car, on the other hand, is still somewhat of a mystery....

    I don't think this can be accomplished at a PennDOT office, it looks like registration occurs at private shops/mechanics? Correct? Any suggestions on places to do this that are fairly inexpensive (since it looks like they set their own charges??)?

    Do I need to worry about getting emissions done before registering, is this something that occurs concurrently with the registration, or what?

    Any other tips/surprises I may encounter during this thrilling project?? I know I need PA drivers license and insurance before registering in PA, and my NM tabs don't expire until end of Feb so I have a little time.... thanks
    No one around here worries about that stuff, until they get pulled over however
    We do our stuff online, search Penndot. We found buying counterfeit inspection stickers can save
    alot of time and money too but if you get caught may as well make a run for it or spend 48 hrs
    in the notorius Roundhouse.

  7. #7
    mikinvs is offline Twas brillig ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braveheart View Post
    But if you get caught may as well make a run for it or spend 48 hrs
    in the notorius Roundhouse.
    Hmmm ... visions of Chuck Norris prescribing his own flavor of justice. I don't think I'd last a minute with Chuck, let alone 48 hours. Now I have Eddie Murphy laughing at my corpse.

  8. #8
    mikinvs is offline Twas brillig ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politburo View Post
    You technically have to register your car within 20 days of moving here. But given the number of out-of-state plates I regularly see, this does not appear to be enforced.
    It wasn't enforced for me. I left it a bit late and I haven't been penalized for it yet. The auto tag company I originally took the car to turned me away because I would've had to pay sales tax on it right there and then. He said come back in a week when the date would exceed the title date by 6 month. The issue date on the old New York title actually did not represent the date I acquired the car, it was the date I was issued a duplicate title because I lost the original. Still, I didn't want to pay sales tax on a car that I'd actually owned for 2 years (and have proof of that). The DMV are notorious with sticking to the book, so I took the guys advice and got the car registered a week later.

  9. #9
    borntochill is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by megsmegs View Post
    I think I have figured out how to get a PA drivers license (any suggestions on locations with shorter lines/wait times would be appreciated, though).
    I got my license at the West Oak Lane DMV office at 7121 Ogontz Ave. My wait wasn't long at all. Right nearby is Danny's Auto Tags at 7184 Ogontz Ave that can handle the second part well described by mikinvs.

  10. #10
    BeckyJ's Avatar
    BeckyJ is offline Professor Ornery
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikinvs View Post
    Oh, I was told by the auto tag place that if you bought your car in the last 6 months, you'll be stuck with paying sales tax on the car.
    You only have to pay the sales tax if it is lower for the state in which you bought the car. I moved here from NY with a recently purchased car, but because NY has a higher tax rate, I didn't have to pay any sales tax. Yet another way PA tries to get extra money out of people. If the car has a lien on it the state will hang on to the title until the lien is paid off.

    I used AAA for tags for 3 cars so far and have had no problems.
    Remember, no matter where you go, there you are. -- B. Banzai

  11. #11
    arguered is offline Junior Member
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    Talking dmv

    HI...I LOVE the DMV on Ogontz in West Oak Lane area. I never spend more than 10 minutes there...they are really fast. I was really surprises howe efficient they are for licenses.

  12. #12
    megsmegs is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for all the help and replies! I have registered this car in both Washington State and New Mexico and both required exactly one trip to the DOT/DMV office and that was it, this is definitely a huge hassle compared to that. And as far as any officials know, I've lived here less than 20 days

    It's a 20 year old car so at least I won't have to deal with any tax/lien issues, and I just drove it cross country so it had a solid mechanical tune up before that so hopefully no issues on the inspection, although it is always entertaining to see most mechanics try to a) get the hood open, and b) figure out where things are since it's an old Saab and the engine's backwards/sideways

  13. #13
    phylicia.jester is offline Junior Member
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    …and you can always get good PA car insurance with The Hartford! Combine it with your home insurance for lower rates.

 

 

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