Is a City Vehicle Sticker Required for Your Car?

There are a number of steps drivers must take to operate a vehicle legally, whether you live in Illinois or any other state in the U.S. The need for a city sticker is one of those rules that can be easy to overlook. But it’s important to know if and when you need one – along with a number of auto-related tasks – to avoid the risk of penalties while out on the road.

Items that drivers may need assistance processing include:

  1. Auto Titles
  2. Vehicle Registration
  3. License Plate Transfers
  4. Lost or Stolen Plates
  5. Parking Permits

But not every city or town requires a city sticker, which can cause confusion for folks who are just trying to follow the rules. Here are a few things to know about city stickers.

What Is a City Vehicle Sticker in the Midwest?

Many cities like Chicago issue vehicle city stickers to local drivers. The purpose of requiring these decals is to help fund local road work and conduct other necessary infrastructure projects. To sort through your requirements and be sure you have everything you need to operate a vehicle in the Midwest, visiting CFSC Auto Services online is a good place to start.

Do All Drivers Need to Have a City Sticker?

Not all cities require it, but if yours does you’ll need to buy it regardless of where you park. For instance, some Chicago suburbs have begun revoking city sticker requirements. Des Plaines is one of the towns that has taken such measures in recent years. Stay in touch with your local government if you want to know about changing laws in your area.

Can You Be Fined for Not Having a Sticker?

Check with your local municipality for information on fines, penalties, and any rules regarding city stickers. Not only do the rules change from place to place, but they can get updated periodically, and it’s important to know what the most current regulations are where you live and drive. For instance, Chicago may issue fines and late fees up to a maximum fine of $250, depending on the violation. However, amounts may be lower for seniors, drivers of alternative vehicles, and other groups.

Is There a Grace Period in Illinois?

Stickers expire after the last day of the month indicated on them, but there is typically a grace period for laws requiring vehicle stickers. In some places, they must be obtained within 30 days of moving to the city if you also drive there, and you could be charged a late fee if you purchase the sticker after the deadline. There may also be a grace period if you are caught driving with an expired sticker.

So, the answer is that there are grace periods if someone is late in obtaining a vehicle sticker, but it pays to be on time and get the sticker as soon as possible to avoid the stress of complications and possible penalties.

Can You Contest Tickets for Sticker Violations?

Not long ago, an Illinois Court ruled that the city of Chicago had improperly fined motorists for years, unfairly penalizing them for incorrect uses of city stickers. A class action lawsuit is pending, and it could result in tens of thousands of people being owed money. In any case, read the fine print on any ticket you receive and collect evidence if you suspect you have been ticketed or fined unfairly. Typically, improper tickets can be contested in writing or in court.

Take Care of Auto and Financial Services at Your Local CFSC

Driving can be stressful enough. Staying on top of your auto-related needs should not be. With dozens of storefronts throughout the Midwest, CFSC Auto Services can assist you with your vehicle title, registration and transfer needs. Our helpful assistants can answer any other questions you have about maintaining the proper documentation required by Illinois or the specific town where you live.

Call first, or stop by your nearest CFSC Auto Services location to take care of your auto documentation needs today!

What to Do if Your License Plates Are Stolen

Staying on top of everything you need to drive safely and legally already takes time and effort. Which is why the last thing any driver wants to deal with is a stolen license plate.

It may not be as significant a problem as a stolen vehicle, but license plates get nicked, as well. In fact, the Chicago Police Department recently cautioned local drivers about a spate of incidents of stolen plates that had occurred in communities throughout the city so that people can be aware of the problem and take quick and appropriate action.

There are several key things to know that help ensure your plates are right where you need them.

More License Plates Have Been Stolen in Towns Throughout Illinois

As drivers, we’ve been taught to lock the doors and keep an eye out for risks to our vehicles. We take many steps to avoid everything from red light tickets to parking violations. But many people would be surprised to discover that they should also check their vehicle to be sure their license plates are both still securely attached to it.

There have been hundreds of reports of different types of license plate theft, including ones that are not attached to any vehicle. In total, this type of theft has doubled in just a short amount of time, and the numbers are on the rise in some cities in Illinois.

Be Careful Removing and Storing License Plates for Any Reason

One driver who removed his plates after selling his car faced an unexpected challenge. He began receiving tickets in the mail from the city of Chicago for fines he supposedly owed. Except for one thing: he wasn’t the driver. Now he faced stiff financial penalties due to actions taken by someone else.

As it turned out, the plates he removed had been stolen from his garage and were now on a different vehicle far away. Ten different violations added up to over $1,000, and the fines were being sent to his home since he was perceived as the registered owner from a legal standpoint.

Why Would Someone Steal Your License Plate?

Disputed tickets based on stolen license plates or stolen vehicles are not uncommon. A plate under someone else’s name is handy for someone who doesn’t have a license and wants to fly under the radar. That way these criminals can appear to be legitimate, since a plate is on their vehicle, but they don’t have to go through the process of registering it under their own name.

Fortunately, this type of fraud is easy to avoid as long as you properly handle your plates from your old vehicle – something that can be done quickly at any CFSC Auto Services location.

Do You Need License Plates to Drive Legally in Illinois?

Every driver in Illinois, as with most states, must be in possession of up-to-date license plates as well as a valid driver’s license. Plate stickers to replace the old ones can be purchased each year at CFSC Auto Services, as well.

So, What Should You Do If Your License Plate Is Stolen?

If one or both of your license plates are stolen, file a police report immediately in the town where you live. In addition, visit a CFSC Auto Services location near you to get your plates replaced as quickly as possible. You can stop by or phone in advance to ask about:

  1. CFSC hours of operation
  2. ID and other documentation you may need
  3. Possible replacement fees
  4. Anything else you want to know about replacing lost or stolen plates

Ask About Vehicle Title, Registration, License Plates & Stickers at CFSC Auto Services

To lower your chances of losing your plates, take actions to protect them. These may include:

  • Inspecting them to be sure they’re well-secured
  • Installing surveillance cameras in your vehicle
  • Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity nearby

CFSC Auto Services throughout the Midwest are there for you if plates are lost or stolen. We will make sure your title and registration are handled properly and registered online. We also manage sticker renewals on the spot and license plate transfers when you sell your vehicle.

Visit any CFSC Auto Service location to access quick and convenient services for your car. Check us out online to find out what else we can take care of – all under one roof!

What You Need to Know Before Selling Your Car

Used cars are a desirable commodity in this country. According to Autoweek, nearly 40 million used vehicles were sold in the U.S. last year alone. If you plan to sell your car, be sure to find out what steps you need to take so the process is entirely legal and the sale is recognized in your state.

If it’s your first time, there is a lot to learn. How to advertise, where to meet prospective buyers, and how much money to ask for are all questions that will come up along the way. Below is a review of some basic steps that will help you sell your vehicle successfully.

How to Make the Sale of a Vehicle Go Smoothly

The first thing you will want to do before selling a vehicle is to make sure all the relevant paperwork is in order. If anything is missing, it might take some time to track it down. Generally, the necessary documents will include:

  • The vehicle title
  • The bill of sale
  • Proof of recent smog test (depending on the state or county)

Other documents, such as maintenance records or a “vehicle history report,” can boost the selling price as they let savvy shoppers know that the vehicle is in good condition. If the process is overwhelming or you’re short on time, a website like Carfax can handle the sale for you.

Research Your Car’s Fair Market Price & Other Sales Tips

Drivers can visit online resources to discover what the market value is of their vehicle and be sure they’re getting a fair price for it. Numerous other steps might help you get a better sales price, such as cleaning the vehicle inside and out, posting attractive photos of it online, making any necessary repairs, and answering questions that carshoppers have about the vehicle’s history.

Take These Steps When Selling a Used Vehicle in Illinois

To avoid unexpected issues after the fact, be sure to pay attention to detailed requirements in your local area. For example, in the state of Illinois, several specific steps should be followed carefully when selling a used vehicle:

  1. Remove the license plates from the car you’re selling before the buyer picks it up.
  2. Give the buyer the vehicle title at the time of delivery.
  3. Be sure to sign and date the title once the sale is final. CFSC Auto Services can help ensure that the title officially gets transferred to the new owner and is registered with the Secretary of State’s office.
  4. This process may involve completing and mailing a “Notice of Sale” form, which you can find either at the bottom of the title or at ilsos.gov.
  5. Don’t forget to get the buyer’s name and address to avoid any registration issues after the sale.
  6. Prepare a “bill of sale” for the buyer that reflects the date it was sold as well as the price that was paid for it.
  7. Make a copy of the “bill of sale” to keep on file.
  8. Last, thoroughly inspect the car one last time. You will want to remove your vehicle registration, insurance card, and any other personal property.

CFSC Auto Services Will Help Transfer Your License & Registration to New Owner

Once you’ve found a buyer, a couple key steps the seller takes are important. CFSC Auto Services can make sure you handle this stage of the sale properly so that all of the documentation is completed and submitted where it needs to go. Our team of pros helps people selling their car in a variety of ways:

  1. Used car registration
  2. Transferring license plates
  3. Other basic vehicle needs

For more information on buying or selling a car, go to CFSC Auto Services online today!

What Are Emissions Tests and Do You Have to Pass?

For several decades now, emissions tests have been a familiar routine for most people who drive legally in the U.S. They are part of a larger effort to limit greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate pollution, and getting your vehicle’s emissions levels tested every year or two is a common requirement that helps keep dangerous emissions from gas-fueled cars as low as possible to protect the air quality around us.

Because it is not an annual requirement, it can be easy to overlook this pesky rule until it comes time to renew your plates. A failed test does not mean you can no longer operate your vehicle legally. However, it may mean you won’t be able to renew your plates until you make the necessary repairs.

When Do Emissions Tests Take Place?

If you are a registered driver in Illinois, you will receive a “Test Notice” in the mail about four months before your license plate is set to expire. Online resources such as this one provide a list of the nearest test locators, with information on where and when drivers can go to have the test done after being notified.

What Is an Emissions Test?

An emissions test is just what it sounds like – a test to ascertain whether harmful emissions are leaking from your vehicle to determine whether repairs should be made. The “On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) test,” as it is called, only takes a few minutes, and most drivers pass. According to the Illinois Air Team, “The OBD test consists of connecting a scan tool to a vehicle’s on-board computer to determine the OBD system status (readiness checks) and whether the Malfunction Indicator Lamp/Light (MIL) is commanded on (in which case it would be illuminated), and to retrieve any stored diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs).”

In short, drivers leave with a report following the test that lets them know what the results are. Whether you pass or not, you are legally allowed to continue driving; nothing else is required at that moment.

Does Every Vehicle Need to Pass an Emissions Test?

The answer is no. Most cars do need to pass in Illinois, but certain types of vehicles are exempt. While you should certainly double check, below is a list of just some of the vehicles that typically do not need to pass a test:

  • Electric vehicles (EVs)
  • Certain older cars and custom vehicles
  • Diesel trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Equipment and other vehicles that don’t get registered

Failed Emissions Tests Help Drivers Know What to Fix

Some drivers dread the news that their car has failed an emissions test. But the good news is that it lets them know something is wrong with their vehicle that needs to be fixed. Your local mechanic can take a look at the report, as well as your car, and determine what repairs can be made to get your car’s emissions back down to acceptable levels.

Passing an Emissions Test is Required of Most Illinois Drivers – But It Varies State to State

Passing an emissions test is required in most but not all states. Keep in mind that emissions rules have changed over the years, along with the frequency tests are required and where testing stations are located. Some states, such as Kansas, don’t require the tests at all. If you think you’re supposed to test your vehicle but haven’t received a notice in the mail, contact your local government to find out what steps to take next. The last thing you want is to be penalized for not having up-to-date plates just because your notice got lost in the mail!

Renew Your Plates at CFSC Auto Services

Driving with expired plates does pose a possible financial risk. While most drivers must pay a fee to renew their plates each year, they can face additional risks for driving with expired plates on top of that original fee they owe. In other words, if you are a driver, it doesn’t pay to ignore your emissions test or your local plate requirements.

But dealing with lost, stolen or out-of-date plates can be a hassle. That’s why the team at CFSC Auto Services is here to help. We will renew your plates for you so you can be in and out and avoid all the headaches! All you have to do is come in with the proper ID and payment and we will handle the rest. Call us in advance to make sure you have the proper paperwork and pay amount before heading over.

Stop by your nearest CFSC location to pick up your plates or stickers and to make sure all your other auto-related paperwork is in order.

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