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Iowa Car Registration: The Complete Guide

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Wondering what the procedure is to register your car in Iowa? Here’s the complete guide to Iowa car registration, where we break down everything you need to know.

Just like in every other state in the country, it is illegal to drive a vehicle in Iowa without registering it first. If you are pulled over by the law and found to be driving an unregistered, you could be slapped with a hefty fine and your car could be impounded!

Before registering your vehicle, ensure you have all the documents ready – like a valid Iowa auto insurance policy. We explain how to go about the rest of the registration process in this article.

Where do I register my car in Iowa?

All car owners in Iowa or people who’ve recently moved to Iowa must mandatorily complete Iowa car registration with the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Vehicle Services. You must complete registration within 30 days of purchase or moving to the state.

Each county will have a local DoT office where you can register your car in person.

Iowa car registration

What documents do you need to register your car in Iowa?

Car registration for new vehicles

Anyone who wishes to register their car afresh or renew their current Iowa registration needs to have the following documents with them:

  • Completed Form 411007 (Application for Certificate of Title/Registration)
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Your current vehicle title
  • Most recent/accurate odometer reading
  • Payment of registration fees

Car registration for vehicles bought from Iowa dealerships

The good thing about buying a vehicle from a dealership is that they will take care of the Iowa car registration process for you. Their processing and documentation fee is already clubbed with the purchase price of the vehicle – you can easily let them take care of the important paperwork!

Car registration for used vehicles bought from a private party

  • Signed title from the previous owner
  • Bill of sale
  • Damage disclosure (if the vehicle is newer than 8 years)
  • Completed Form 411007 (Application for Certificate of Title/Registration)
  • Most recent/accurate odometer reading
  • Payment of registration fees

How much is the car registration fee in Iowa?

Iowa car registration fees vary based on the county you reside in. Usually, the registration fee is 5% of the purchase price. There may be additional fees based on the model year, weight, and type of vehicle (passenger, motor home, RV, motorcycle)

How can you renew your car registration in Iowa?

The Iowa DOT will send every car owner a Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice before the expiration date. This notice will include details about the payment fee, vehicle information, and the online renewal PIN.


Out of the 99 counties in Iowa, only some allow you to renew your registration online through the specific county website. These include:

  • Linn
  • Montgomery
  • Polk
  • Pottawattamie
  • Poweshiek
  • Buchanan
  • Clayton
  • Dickinson
  • Floyd
  • Iowa
  • Johnson

All other counties allow you to complete Iowa car registration online through the Iowa State County Treasurer’s Association website.

  • You can either create a new account on the county/state website or do a one-time payment
  • You will have to provide your license plate number, online registration renewal PIN, and make the payment to complete the renewal

By mail/ in person

You can also pay the renewal fee in person by going to the county treasurer’s office. Ensure you bring the renewal notice and the relevant vehicle registration information.

Can you renew your Iowa car registration even after it expires?

Yes, you can still renew your Iowa car registration up to 1 month after the expiration date without being fined any late fees. However, after that, you will be charged either 5% of the renewal amount per month or $5/month (whichever is higher).

Car Insurance in Iowa via Way.com

Iowa car registration can be significantly smoother if you have enough auto insurance to cover untoward incidents. However, it isn’t easy to find a policy that strikes the right balance of coverage and affordable rates – unless you know where to look!

Use an insurance aggregator like Way.com to get multiple rates on auto insurance from different companies if you want to save time and money. With more than 200 leading insurance providers on our network, you are sure to find affordable deals on insurance in the state.

It sounds strange because every street has signs that say how fast you can go, but we never see signs that say how slow you can. Is it against the law to drive too slowly? Can you get a ticket for driving too slow? The answer is, surprisingly, yes!


Here’s more info on top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, affordable auto insurance, easy auto refinance, and high-quality car washes near you.


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