Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Becoming A Colorado Car

Unlike Indiana, Colorado requires emissions testing of all vehicles--which is a good thing on one hand, because the wind patterns around Denver can smoosh tons of smoggy ick up against the mountains, and a not-so-great thing on the other hand because the rules often turn such enterprises into fee machines.

But anyway.

My 2007 Hyundai fell into the "must be tested" category because it was manufactured before 2009. The time a tech spent checking my car might have stretched all the way to five minutes, for which I paid $25. Then the tech noticed my out-of-state plate and informed me I also had to have my VIN officially verified. The verification process apparently consisted of the tech copying the VIN visible through the windshield into the appropriate field on a computer form. That cost me $20.

So, $45 to get my car registered in the state, and I haven't found out yet how much the registration would cost.

I poked around online to find a registration cost estimator that asked for make, model, and year of the vehicle, and the current MSRP. Umm...? I had no idea. A quick look-see at cars for sale gave me a general idea. With that information, the online estimator spit out guess of $293. That's about three times what my Indiana registration was! Alas, said Indiana registration expired at the end of December, so I didn't have much choice if I wanted to keep driving.

This is where I paused to look up what Colorado does if your registration is out of date. As far as I can tell, they give you a thirty days of grace, then give you a ticket. In Indiana, if your registration tags aren't up to date and you don't have proof of payment (meaning your tags are in the mail to you), your car will be towed from that location.* It's up to you to get home.

But I didn't want a ticket, so down to the DMV I traipsed.

Wait, no. That's what I would have done had adequate DMV information been available online. Instead, I had to visit three different government websites to find out what I needed to bring in transfer the registration, uncover which DMV locations would process the title (because some locations offer only limited services), then cross reference whether the appropriate location was in my county. This is harder than it sounds because there is no list online that I could find. There is instead a map showing all locations. The map doesn't include county boundaries, so you have to keep clicking on locations to find both county and services. Oh, and not all the services are listed.

And... I got it wrong on the first try. A thirty minute drive to the north resulted in the discovery that the location was actually closed. A very nice security guard gave me a paper map showing the other open locations and what services those locations provided. It was, in fact, the very helpful information that was not online.

And... my best bet was to go to from northeast Denver metro to the far south side of the metro. Awesome.

Off I went. I walk inside just as the security guard is taping a note to the check-in kiosk. All credit and debit card processing is offline, so payments must be made in check or cash. Such are the two methods of payment I am most unlikely to have if the bill exceeds ten bucks. The guard assures me it won't be a problem because they'll go ahead with processing the registration while I run out to the local ATM.

But first I must wait my turn, of course, and must check in twice. The first number is for the title and registration. The second is for transferring my license. My numbers are 130 and 87. They call 117 and 75. I settle in to wait.

About half an hour later, the man sitting behind me hands me his ticket because he has to get back to work. His number is 123--the number called not ten minutes later. Hooray!

The registration process goes smoothly, with only one oddity: the clerk asked if I had a fulltime job when I moved here. I didn't answer right away because to me, that means 35-40 hours a week working for someone else. Me, I'm self-employed. When I told her so, she said, "That means you're fulltime, and that makes you a resident." So... if you're staying in Colorado for a bit, and someone pays you on a contract basis, you're apparently a resident because you collected money while in the state. Go figure.

Then the moment I've been dreading: paying up almost $300 for my little Hyundai.

She tells me the registration in under $100. I sat there for a moment, waiting for her to add something else. But no, that's the whole thing. I don't ask for explanation. I check my place in the license-line, and had just enough time to run out to an ATM and return before my second number is called.

The license transfer went without a hitch, though it was odd to be handed off to a second clerk who drilled me on all the answers I'd given the second clerk as if seeking a discrepancy that would necessitate the SWAT team. And it was a good thing I had to take out cash for the registration anyway because all license fees are supposed to be paid in check or cash--never credit or debit. Man, you'd think I was at a bake sale rather than a government office!

I'll spare you the additional details of how new holes had to be drilled in my front bumper to accommodate the second license plate. It's all done now, the car looks lovely with its Rocky Mountain plates, and we wait only in anticipation for what horrible picture the state shall inflict upon me when my new license arrives.

And I guess I'll carry around a little extra cash. Just in case.

*This is an example of poverty begetting poverty. If you're paycheck to paycheck, or got laid off, or had an unexpected expense that devoured your car registration funds, you now cannot get to work or transport your children without the threat of incurring hundreds of dollars in towing and impound fees. And if you can't pay those fees and the registration, you will lose your car altogether. And then, perhaps, your job. It's quite the little racket--one of many in Indiana. Ask my about hypnotherapy sometime. And don't even get me started on the liquor laws!



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2016 06:36 am (UTC)
Whew! That's a heck of a lot of work!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

Latest Month

May 2017


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner