Colorado Vehicle Registration

Colorado Vehicle Registration: Complete Guide

Colorado Vehicle RegistrationMake sure you have your checklist ready when buying a used car in Colorado. The Colorado vehicle registration process is not a complicated process. Just prepare all the documentation before visiting the DMV. Buying a used car is easier when you use all the tools available online like pricing guides, market values and of course, a vehicle history report.

Check VIN:

In Colorado, you need to register your vehicle before you can use it legally on the road. You must register the car within 60 days after purchasing it to avoid penalties. If the car was purchased from the dealership, they usually handle the registration process. If you purchased it from a private party, you must register the vehicle at the Colorado DMV in person. provides information you need if you are required to:

Colorado License Plates

Colorado License PlateWe all know that in most cases, vehicles are issued with two license plates. One is to be displayed in front while the other should be at the rear end of the vehicle.

The purpose of license plates is primarily for identification. This is of course, necessary as license plates are both required by law and are being used in all transactions and records of events where the car is involved.

It will also provide law enforcement agencies a means to locate the vehicle owner through DMV records. License plates must have a current registration sticker on it to be considered up to date and valid. This will also show if your car registration has already expired.

In case your license plates have been stolen, mutilated, damaged, or lost; it is a must that you apply for a replacement. You’ll need to submit a Lost or Stolen License Plate Affidavit (DR 2283) either by mail or in person at one of the DMV offices.

When to Register a Vehicle in Colorado

You really need to register your car on time in order to avoid penalties. Furthermore, your claims might be negated if your car gets involved in a theft incident. This is aside from the liability that will arise if you are flagged down by a traffic officer for having an expired registration. In Colorado, you need to register your car when:

  • You become employed in Colorado
  • You live in Colorado for 90 continuous days
  • You own or operate a business in the state
  • You recently sold a vehicle (61 day grace period)
  • You have just returned to the state (45 day grace period)

General Colorado Registration Requirements:

  • Application Form (DR 2395)
  • Proof of VIN Verification (DR 2698)
  • Proof of Qualifying Insurance (w/ coverage)
  • Title/Registration (w/ owner’s name), if previously registered/titled
  • Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO), if brand new
  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of Passing Colorado Vehicle Emissions, if applicable
  • Affidavit of Non-Use of Vehicle, if applicable
  • Associated Fees

How to Register a Vehicle Imported from Another Country

Before a vehicle can be taken into the country, it must pass both state and federal regulations:

  • The unit must comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
  • The owner must address matters concerning the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • The vehicle must pass Official Colorado Inspection from an authorized DMV agent or third party.

How to Replace a Lost or Damaged Colorado Registration

Get in touch with a county Colorado DMV branch to get a replacement. You may also request a replacement online.

Requirements for Duplicate Registration:

  • License Plate Number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Vehicle Registration Renewal in Colorado

To renew your registration, the Colorado DMV may require emissions testing for some cars. If that were the case, a proof of passing the emissions test might be needed. Late fees will apply if registration is renewed beyond the expiration date.


  • License Plate Number
  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • Current Vehicle Emissions, if applicable
  • Valid Colorado Insurance
  • Payment

How to Re-register a Salvaged Vehicle in Colorado

Any unit with a repair cost that exceeds its market value may be deemed ‘salvage’ by the DMV. The same applies to cars declared as ‘total loss’ by their insurance companies.

The damage may have come from:

  • Collision
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Accident
  • Trespass
  • Others

Complete this form (DR 2410)  to apply for a salvage title. Salvage vehicles that were fixed can be applied for ‘Rebuilt‘ (DR 2415) titles. However, they must be recognized by the DMV as roadworthy prior to application.

Military Vehicle Registration in Colorado

Non-resident military personnel may keep their registration from home state if they were assigned in Colorado. The same is true for Colorado residents working out of state. They must keep their registration up-to-date to be permitted by the DMV to operate.

How to Transfer a Vehicle Between Family Members

Likewise, a vehicle can be inherited in case of the owner’s death. For the DMV to recognize the inheritance, the beneficiary must present these papers, along with corresponding signatures:

  • Death Certificate(s)
  • Transfer of Title Upon Death Form (DR 2009)
  • Completed Application for Title and/or Registration (DR 2395)

How Do I Change My Address with Colorado DMV?

You can change your address with the Colorado DMV in four ways:

  1. Online
  2. Mailing Change of Address Form (DR 2285)
  3. Driver License Office Visit
  4. During Driver’s License/ID Renewal (when updating)

Submit a change of address request. Afterward, print your own label with the new address. Then, paste it to the back of your Driver’s license or ID card. Two Proofs of Address may also be asked for by an authorized agent.

Colorado Vehicle Registration Fees & Taxes

Fees are calculated based on the following:

  • Empty Weight
  • Vehicle Type
  • County of Residence
  • License Plate Type

As for ownership tax, it is measured based on:

  • The Vehicle’s Year Of Manufacture
  • Original Taxable Value
  • Year of Service

Other factors considered:

  • Age of Vehicle:
    • Less than 7 years old – $12
    • 7 to 9 years old – $10
    • 10 yrs and older – $7
  • Clerk Hire Fee – $4
  • County Road and Bridge – $1.59 (if the vehicle is greater than 2,000 pounds)
  • Emissions-Area Air Account – $1.50 (Class A, B and C motor vehicles)
  • Emissions Program County Area – $0.70 (Class A, B and C motor vehicles)
  • Emissions Statewide Air Account – $0.50 (Class A, B and C motor vehicles)
  • Emergency Medical Services – $2
  • Insurance Fee – $0.50
  • Peace Officer Standardized Training (POST) Fee – $1 (Class A, B and C motor vehicles)
  • Material Fees:
    • Year tab ($0.17)
    • Month tab ($0.11)
    • License Plates (embossed set – $3.78/digital set – $5.64)
  • Motorist Insurance Information Database – $0.10 on Class A, B and C vehicles
  • Registration Base Fee – based on the vehicle’s weight
  • Fuel Type (varies)