Making a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles is a little like going to the dentist -- most people don't like it, but sometimes you have to do it. 7 On Your Side has some ideas that might help you save time the next time you go.
Many people know that with a AAA membership, you can register your car, or get new tags without going to the DMV, but did you know there are a number of other places where you can do the same thing? At those other agencies, no membership is needed.
The DMV is known for its long lines, but there are now 1,800 licensed businesses in California that can handle some of the same services.
"Register the car, transfer the car, get new plates, get a new title," said Jim Parrott. Parrott owns California Auto Registration Service, or C.A.R.S., in Marin where drivers can avoid the hassles of the DMV. "Three years ago when we started, we were the first full service registration service in Marin. Now there are six other places."
These businesses are licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicle's Occupational Licensing branch.
San Rafael resident Miguel Alvarado came to get a vehicle registration transferred. He told 7 On Your Side, "I've gone several times to the DMV and it's taken me at least 30 to 45 minutes to get waited on."
He walked out with a new title in less than five minutes.
"We just scan the barcode that's either on their renewal form or on a prior registration form," said Parrott.
Most of these businesses charge between $25 and $35, plus DMV fees. Drivers can make appointments online at the DMV for all these services, but one misstep and they're sent to the back of the line.
"I was late for my appointment they wouldn't honor it, so I just had to take a non-appointment ticket," said San Francisco resident Darren Wood.
Parrot says they can do about 90 percent of what the DMV does in registering and titling.
"We don't do driver license testing or ID cards," said Parrott.
As we said, there are 1,800 places that do some of the work of the DMV. Check out a list of places here.
7 On Your Side: Save time at the DMV
7 ON YOUR SIDE