The term car tags gets used in a lot of different states, well go over exactly what it means below.
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What is a car tag?
A car tag is an important part of your vehicle registration in most states.
Car tags describe the registration sticker that you’ll be required to place on your license plate or windshield (depending on where you live).
In most states the car tag will display the expiration year and month for your vehicle registration.
Some states use separate tags to display the registration month and the year.
In many states, you’ll have a month tag that always remains the same, and a year tag that you’ll need to replace during each new registration period. Some states combine the month and year on a single tag, while others do not use validation decals at all.
Vehicle registrations typically expire every year or every other year, again, depending on where you live.
Each year, the color of the car tag is usually updated to make it easy to tell whether or not your registration is valid.
Essentially, car tags serve as quick proof of registration.
Driving without car tags or driving with expired tags can result in a ticket and fine.
Remember, you will need to make sure to place your new tags on your license plates after renewing your registration each year.
You can confirm your tag’s expiration date by checking your registration documents.
In some states, the car tags will expire on the last day of the expiration month, while others will expire on the specific date listed on your registration documents.
Renewing your registration is the same a renewing your tags, and most states will allow you to do this:
- In person at your local DMV office.
- By mail after receiving a registration renewal notice.
- Via a self-serve kiosk.
- Through a third-party registration service.
The cost of your car tags will depend on:
- Where you live.
- Your vehicle.
- State and local taxes.
Where do you put the car tag?
Where you’ll need to place your renewed car tags or registration decals depends on the state you live in.
When you renew your registration and receive your new tags, there will be specific instructions that describe where to place them.
In most states, you’ll receive an updated car tag that you’ll need to place in the upper left or right hand corner of your rear license plate.
Generally, the color of the tag is updated each year to make it easy to see that your tags are valid.
Other states require the car tag to be placed on your windshield.
A few states do not require license plates or windshield decals at all.
Refer to the table below to see where the car tag should be placed in each state.
|State||Car Tag Placement|
|Alabama||Rear license plate|
|Alaska||Rear license plate|
|Arizona||Rear license plate|
|Arkansas||Rear license plate|
|California||Rear license plate|
|Colorado||Rear license plate|
|Delaware||Rear license plate|
|Florida||Rear license plate|
|Georgia||Rear license plate|
|Hawaii||Rear license plate|
|Idaho||Front and rear license plate|
|Illinois||Rear license plate|
|Indiana||Rear license plate|
|Iowa||Rear license plate|
|Kansas||Rear license plate|
|Kentucky||Rear license plate|
|Louisiana||Rear license plate|
|Maine||Front and rear license plate|
|Maryland||Rear license plate|
|Massachusetts||Rear license plate|
|Michigan||Rear license plate|
|Minnesota||Front and rear license plate|
|Mississippi||Rear license plate|
|Missouri||Front and rear license plate|
|Montana||Rear license plate|
|Nebraska||Front and rear license plate|
|Nevada||Rear license plate|
|New Hampshire||Front and rear license plate|
|New Mexico||Rear license plate|
|New York||Windshield decal|
|North Carolina||Rear license plate|
|North Dakota||Front and rear license plate|
|Ohio||Rear license plate|
|Oklahoma||Rear license plate|
|Oregon||Front and rear license plate|
|Rhode Island||Front and rear license plate|
|South Carolina||Rear license plate|
|South Dakota||Front and rear license plate|
|Tennessee||Rear license plate|
|Utah||Rear license plate|
|Vermont||Rear license plate|
|Virginia||Front and rear license plate|
|Washington||Rear license plate|
|Washington DC||Windshield decal|
|West Virginia||Rear license plate|
|Wisconsin||Rear license plate|
|Wyoming||Front and rear license plate|