Missouri Car Registration: A Step-by-Step Guide

Those wanting to legally drive on the roads throughout Missouri will need to first register their vehicle in-person at one of the many MO DOR locations. All steps of this process are handled by the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) at local licensing offices.

The Missouri car registration process is done after a private or dealer sale. You will have up to 30 days from the purchase/transfer of the vehicle to get it registered, late registration risk late fees.

You will need to register whenever a vehicle is transferred through inheritance or gifting a vehicle, too.

You’ll receive your MO plate and stickers after completing the registration. Follow along with this guide to understand what forms and fees you’ll submit and process.

How to Register a Car in Missouri

Every car registration in Missouri happens at a local MO DMV licensing office. You will also need to process vehicle inspections when registering (see the sections below).

Gather your driver’s license, insurance, and then make an appointment… here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Go to a MO DMV office
  2. Show your proof of ID & residency
  3. Show proof of vehicle ownership
    1. Completed title certificate, or:
    2. Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, or:
    3. Notarized Notice of Lien, Lien Release, or Authorization to Add/Remove Name from Title (DOR-4809)
  4. Complete the Application for Missouri Title and License (DOR-108)
  5. Show applicable inspections/disclosures
    1. Odometer, if:
      1. Under 10 years old
      2. Weighs less than 16,000lbs
    2. Emissions
    3. Safety
    4. VIN (Out-of-state)
  6. Show proof of Missouri car insurance
  7. Pay the registration fees

Congratulations! Completing these steps and you’ll have registered your vehicle in Missouri. You’re now free to legally drive on state roads and beyond. And remember, always practice safe driving!

Temporary Tags

Temporary tags are available up to 30 days after purchasing a vehicle giving you time to get it over to a registration office. You will submit your vehicle’s information, a completed DOR-108 form, present a safety inspection, show proof of insurance, and pay the $5 permit + $3.50 processing fee.

Missouri Vehicle Inspections

Missouri requires a:

  • Safety inspection
  • Emission inspection

The safety inspection is required for all vehicles and processed when registering the vehicle. This includes if you’re bringing a vehicle in from out-of-state if noted during registration, transferred in a sale, or involved in an accident.

Safety exemptions are possible if:

  • Your vehicle is less than 5 years old
  • It weights under 26,000lbs and registered under 12 months
  • It’s doesn’t fall within this even/odd timing
  • Has a historic plate

… and other variables best answered by your local MO DMV. You’ll typically receive a notice on your registration renewal if your vehicle requires a safety inspection.

An emissions inspection is required in cities and counties like

  • Louis
  • Charles
  • Franklin
  • Jefferson

The model year determines when these inspections take place with even model years happening on even calendar years – and vice versa for odd-numbered vehicles. Some exceptions apply such as having a newer vehicle, certain vehicle types, and first retail sales – check with your local DMV for info.

Inspection fees typically cost:

  • Safety (Passenger Vehicles): Up to $12
  • Emissions Tests: Up to $24

Anyone failing a safety test must repair items before completing registration.

Those failing the emissions test will need to make correct changes before they register the vehicle. A waiver is available for those repeatedly failing the emissions test (Form MO 780-1971).

Missouri Registration Fees and Taxes

How much does it cost to register a car in Missouri? It depends on the taxable horsepower.

Typical fees include:

  • Passenger vehicles: $18.25 – $51.25 (1-year fee)
  • 1-Year processing fee: $3.50
  • Commercial Vehicles: $15.75 – $100.75 (1-year fee)
  • Motorcycles: $8.75 – $10.25 (1-year)

You can check the MO DOR fee chart for a complete breakdown of your final fees. A 2-year processing is available for a typical double price.

Registration Renewal

The vehicle registration renewal process is very similar to what you’ve just learned minus a few different forms and fees. You’ll complete this process whenever transferring ownership, moving out-of-state, or simply wanting to remain legal to drive in the state.