I bought a used car from a dealership with an auto loan they provided. They created a temporary license that they put on the back of the car and said they'd "take care of everything". Since the car's financed, they're holding the title.

What's not clear to me is whether I'm supposed to take the car to the DMV/DOT in person to get it registered in my name, even while the dealership holds the title while there's a loan being paid off, or if they already took care of that.

  • Didn't they give you the DMV registration receipt with all the paperwork? I know in CA that's how it works...
    – littleadv
    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:21
  • They gave me DMV bill of sale paperwork and a registration card to put in the car, but that's not the question because it could be the 30-day temporary dealership registration to make the car drivable. What little I've found online is vague at disambiguating the scenario of a held title as to whether the buyer needs to show up at the DMV in person to register the car in his own name.
    – stimpy77
    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:25

2 Answers 2


Based on your description of what you were given, then you should not need to contact DMV/DOT

However if you are not comfortable with that answer then contact/visit the dealer, you can ask them how long it normally takes, and do you pick up the real plates at the dealer, DMV, or will they be mailed to you. Also call them if the temporary plates will run out in a few days, to make sure everything is good to go.

One other note. If the dealer is in one state, and you live in another they can give you temporary plate for their state but may not be able to file for the real plates in your state.

Once everything is finalized go online to DMV and make sure that the car registration is OK. A few years ago the dealer gave me real plates, they gave me a registration good for two years. But the info sent to DMV was corrupted: the VIN was in the system, but the description was wrong and the plates were listed as none. This was only noticed when I tried to re-register the car two years later. In fact according to DMV the plates on the car were listed as never issued. If I had ever been pulled over it would have taken hours to resolve.


No you dont need to take your car to DMV, They will send you the number plate and registration sticker to your home address.

Dealer would have already charged you for that, he will send all the information to DMV and the temporary plate is also created through DMV only.

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