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How to Renew a Car Registration in South Carolina

South Carolina vehicle registration renewal is an important task state drivers must perform to maintain legal operation of their cars. Renewing car registration ensures the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that it has accurate information for the security and safety of all residents. Drivers have the option to renew car registration online or in person, but they will receive notification through the mail. Drivers must get and renew car registration in South Carolina for any standard motor vehicle if it is kept within state borders. Car registration renewals are important to understand to avoid consequences.

When to Renew a Car Registration in South Carolina

The South Carolina auto registration renewal period happens once every two years, which is known as a biennial renewal. Drivers should receive their DMV vehicle registration renewal notice approximately 45 days before the expiration of their vehicle registration. Motorists must renew expired car registration within this 45-day window. Drivers must renew South Carolina vehicle registration by the last day of the month in which the registration ends and is no longer valid. Should the car registration renewal date fall on a holiday or weekend, drivers have until the business day immediately following to submit registration payment and renewal documentation. Note that when motorists renew a car registration that the decal may show a different expiration date from what is shown on their registration documents due to the annual tax payment requirement, which differs from the registration’s two-year schedule.

Consequences and Penalties

Drivers who do not renew and pay for expired car registration will be subject to fines from the DMV. Drivers who fail to renew expired vehicle registration will accumulate traffic violation fees based on the amount of time that has passed after the expiration date. Continued operation of a vehicle with expired car registration on a highway may result in a misdemeanor charge. Additionally, vehicle registration renewal helps law enforcement determine the legality and ownership of the vehicle, so drivers should make sure their registration is current to avoid any fines from the traffic stop.

How to Renew Car Registration in South Carolina

Drivers may renew South Carolina car registration online or in person. The online car registration renewal is not available to all residents, so drivers should check with their local DMV office or county treasurer’s office for online options. To complete vehicle registration renewal, South Carolina drivers must first pay their property and vehicle taxes to the county treasurer office to prevent a delay in registration renewal. South Carolina drivers may renew vehicle registration at the same time the property taxes are due and wait for their new registration in the mail. Drivers who do not a receive a vehicle registration renewal notice or new registration documentation in the mail must contact or visit the DMV as soon as possible. For registrants that have an adjusted tax bill, owe penalties or require a senior citizen discount, an in-person renewal is necessary.

In order to receive DMV vehicle registration renewal notices and other DMV correspondence, drivers must update their address 10 days after a move. To ensure delivery of car registration renewal, drivers may also update their DMV records with any temporary residencies or mailing addresses. If a driver does not receive South Carolina DMV car registration renewal documentation, then he or she must contact his or her county treasury office and DMV location to verify tax payments and the mailing address on file.


Not all drivers may renew South Carolina car registration online with the DMV. To renew car registration online, motorists must receive a notice in the mail that indicates the driver must pay additional renewal fees or submit insurance information. Like all car registration renewal steps, drivers must first pay property and vehicle taxes to their county treasury office and the county must inform the South Carolina DMV of the payment. Drivers may continue with renewing a car registration online once the DMV has the tax payment information. Drivers must then supply insurance company information and a form of credit or debit card payment to complete the online vehicle registration renewal process.

Note: Some county residents may pay their taxes online to begin the car registration renewal process. Drivers should check with their county treasury office about the availability of online tax payment.

In Person

Drivers who prefer to renew vehicle registration in person may do so at a county treasury office. The process of renewing South Carolina vehicle registration is often completed when registrants visit a DMV site to pay their annual property and vehicle taxes. Motorists should bring the mailed DMV vehicle registration renewal notice, payment for renewal fees and vehicle insurance card. The DMV car registration renewal fees and acceptable forms of payment may vary, so motorists should check with the local treasury office for details. If a driver does not receive a vehicle registration renewal notice in his or her mailbox, then the driver should contact the county treasury to verify if property tax payments were submitted.

Note: Currently, renewing expired car registration by mail is not an option in South Carolina. Vehicle owners will only receive a notice for renewal by mail.