Glass Doctor's Guide to Replacing Your Registration Sticker

replacing registration sticker

Replacing vehicle registration stickers – it’s a task every car owner must do yearly. You probably have every intention of removing that old sticker before you apply the new one, but it’s hit or miss. However, to prevent being pulled over for expired tags, it’s vital to adhere your new registration sticker firmly so it lasts until next year. Follow our guide to replacing your stickers successfully the first time around.

Remove the Old Sticker from Your License Plate

It’s easy to keep stacking expired stickers on top of each other, but the official suggestion from the Department of Motor Vehicles is to remove the expired sticker before putting on the new one. This helps the new sticker adhere better.


  • Plastic razor blade
  • Sponge
  • Baby oil or rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towel


  • Peel off as much of the old sticker as possible using your fingers or a plastic razor blade.
  • Wet a sponge and scrub away stubborn parts of the expired sticker and adhesive. A bit of baby oil or rubbing alcohol speeds up the process. If you need to, let the sticker soak for a minute before scrubbing it again.
  • Wipe down the entire license plate so it looks shiny and clean.
  • Dry the license plate with a paper towel and adhere the new registration sticker.

Remove the Old Sticker from the Windshield

In some states, the vehicle registration sticker goes on the auto glass, not the license plate. This requires a different removal technique.


  • Metal razor blade or box cutter
  • Auto glass cleaner


  • Run a metal razor blade or box cutter under one corner of the expired sticker. If one corner is peeling, start there. If every corner is intact, start at the top left.
  • Pull up on the sticker with your free hand as the razor separates it from the glass.
  • Clean any lingering residue with auto glass cleaner.
  • Attach the new registration sticker in the old one’s place.

Prevent Registration Sticker Theft

Some unscrupulous people may see the shiny, up-to-date registration sticker on your license plate and steal it for their own car. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to help prevent theft.


  • Newly applied vehicle registration sticker
  • Putty knife


  • With the registration sticker firmly adhered to your license plate, make diagonal cuts in it from the top left to the bottom right.
  • Make more cuts at the opposite angle, from the top right to the bottom left.
  • This scoring technique leaves your registration sticker perfectly legible, but it becomes harder for thieves to quickly steal your sticker and put it on their own car without getting caught.

Replace Lost or Stolen Registration Stickers

If you misplace your tag or someone gets away with stealing it, ordering a replacement is easy. While every state has slightly different rules, the process is similar everywhere.


  • Proper identification
  • Applicable fees
  • Vehicle registration application


  • Visit the DMV with proper identification, which includes your driver’s license and potentially one other form of ID.
  • Be prepared to pay a small fee for your new sticker – usually less than $1.
  • You may need to fill out the same vehicle registration card as when you originally applied to renew your car’s registration.

While you’re getting your car ready for another year on the road with a new registration sticker, why not have that cracked windshield replaced? Blemish-free glass helps you see better while driving and improves your safety if you get into a rollover accident. Contact Glass Doctor® today to learn more about auto glass care or to schedule an appointment to replace your windshield.