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California Driver's Permit, Drivers Education, Lessons, Tests

6. California Licensing & Registration

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15. Vehicle Licensing & Registration

The California Vehicle Code provides for:

  • a pollution control (smog) check at the time of every other renewal of registration
  • the notification of DMV if an engine is changed
  • rules regarding damaged or lost license plates
  • collection of parking fines
  • the display of plates
  • registration fees which vary with type and weight of vehicle
  • the collection of sales tax on change of ownership
  • other regulations associated with vehicle registration and ownership

The California Vehicle Code specifies the type of equipment that can be installed on a vehicle, and the responsibilities of dealers and private parties in connection with types of equipment and their condition

The California Vehicle Code specifies the width, height, weight, and load characteristics of vehicles including the distance loads may protrude from a vehicle.

The California Vehicle Code addresses issues associated with the ownership and operation of off-the-road vehicles.

The responsibilities associated with owning a vehicle include:

  • keeping it properly registered
  • maintaining insurance or other evidence of financial responsibility
  • keeping it in good mechanical condition
  • being sure those who drive it are properly licensed

The California Vehicle Code provides:

  • regulations governing the advertisement of a vehicle for sale
  • regulations concerning the consignment of a vehicle for sale
  • regulations for private parties selling a vehicle involving the notification of DMV
  • a lemon law for California

The California Vehicle Code also dictates that there is no cooling-off period once you have signed a contract for the purchase or lease of a vehicle, meaning that you cannot return the vehicle expecting a refund.

When you purchase a vehicle, you will receive a Certificate of Title, which is evidence of ownership and a Registration Card that shows that the vehicle is registered with the DMV.

If you purchase a car from a dealer, they will normally take care of submitting documents and fees to the DMV which will then send you your registration documents in the mail.

When a vehicle is being sold by a dealer, The California Vehicle Code provides for:

  • consumer information being made available
  • the correction of safety defects
  • the display of a suggested retail price
  • other issues associated with the sale of a vehicle

If you are purchasing a car from a private party, you must supply the DMV with:

  • an endorsed Certificate of Title from the seller
  • a statement of the purchase price and odometer reading
  • a smog certificate from the seller
  • sales tax fees corresponding to the purchase price of the vehicle. There are smog and tax exceptions granted for close relatives.

DMV will not register your vehicle if you do not:

  • pay the registration fees and taxes
  •  complete the appropriate forms
  • provide a smog certificate
  • provide evidence of financial responsibility

Your vehicle registration card must be carried in the vehicle whenever you are driving. You must show your registration to a law enforcement officer when requested.

Your license plates must be:

  • mounted between 12 and 60 inches from the ground in the rear
  • mounted less than 60 inches from the ground in the front
  • illuminated in the rear

If your registration card or license plate(s) are lost or damaged, you must immediately notify the DMV and obtain replacement(s). If both of your license plates are stolen, you should also notify law enforcement.

You are not allowed to alter your license plate.

Lesson Summary


Lesson 6 Quiz

You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

  1. If you have trouble reading, even if in English, you may take an audio permit test:


  2. The "PROVISIONS" of your provisional license include the following, EXCEPT:


  3. The best way to prepare for the drive test is to:


  4. You will be listed as a "Negligent Operator" if you get:


  5. Which of the following is NOT on the permit test:



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