How Much Does a Tennessee License Plate Cost?

If you buy a used car from a private seller in Tennessee, you’ll need to get a new license plate when you go to register the vehicle. A standard Tennessee passenger vehicle plate costs $26.50 on top of registration fees.
Tennessee also has a variety of specialty and personalized plates to choose from, which cost more. Additional taxes and fees apply to both new and renewal registrations.

Let’s get into the details of license plate costs in the great state of Tennessee.

The Cost of License Plates in Tennessee

Tennessee license plate costs range from $26.50 to $71, depending on which type of plate you choose.

Here are the options Tennessee offers for passenger vehicle plates:

Personalized plates
Specialty plates
Military plates
Disability plates

How Much is a Standard License Plate in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the standard "In God we Trust" passenger vehicle plate costs $26.50.

You'll receive the classic In God we Trust plates when:

Registering a vehicle in your name
Replacing lost, damaged, or stolen plates
Trading down from specialty plates for standard plates

For more info on Tennessee’s license plate types, visit the official Tennessee Department Of Revenue page.

How Much is a Personalized License Plate in Tennessee?

Want to make a statement? Personalized plates cost $35. They are also referred to as vanity plates, and they let you customize your ride with a unique letter and number combo.

When selecting the lettering for your custom Tennessee plate, there are some restrictions:

You are limited to 7 total characters and spaces
No special characters or punctuation can be used
Offensive or inappropriate words and phrases are prohibited

How Much is a Tennessee Special Interest License Plate?

Show some team spirit or support a cause with a specialty plate. You can sport a plate that supports your favorite Tennessee college, cause, or organization.

A Tennessee specialty license plate costs $62.50 to $97.50.

Here are the available specialty plate categories:

1. Clubs and organizations
2. Collegiate
3. Environmental and conservation
4. Children
5. Fraternities and sororities
6. Hospitals
7. Sports
8. Tennessee Arts Commission
9. Wildlife and animal
10. Emergency and safety
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How Much is a Tennessee Military License Plate?

Tennessee offers over 25 different military license designs to honor those who served.

Tennessee military plate options include the following:

Disabled veteran plates: No fee for eligible disabled veterans
Ex-prisoner of war: No fee for former POWs
Purple Heart recipients: No fee if verified
National Guard: $61.50 annual specialty plate fee
All other veteran plates: $61.50 annual specialty plate fee

Tennessee provides free license plates to verified disabled veterans, former POWs, Purple Heart recipients, and other service members. Specialty military plates cost $61.50 per year.

How Much is a Tennessee Disability License Plate and Placard?

Tennessee offers a disability license plate and placards to accommodate disabled residents. These provide designated parking access and other privileges.

Disabled license plate: $26.50 annually
Permanent disability placard: $26.50 plus $3 renewal fee every two years.
Temporary disability placard: $10
Replacement placard: $2

To apply, complete the disabled plate or placard application and doctor's certification of disability to your county clerk's office.

How Much is a Commercial Vehicle Plate in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, commercial vehicle plates cost anywhere from $99.38 to $330.38. The price depends on the weight of the vehicle.

How Much is a Motorcycle Plate In Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the standard motorcycle license plate costs $19.50.

You'll receive the standard Tennessee motorcycle plates when:

Registering a motorcycle in your name
Replacing lost, damaged, or stolen motorcycle plates
Trading down from specialty plates to standard plates

How Much is a Trailer Plate In Tennessee?

The base fees for the different trailer license plate types are the following:

How Much is a Motor Home (RV) Plate In Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the cost for a recreational vehicle (RV) license plate ranges from $26.75 to $38.75.

This basic plate comes with a standard plate number/letter combination. For RV owners who want to get creative and customize their plate, Tennessee offers personalized plates.

What to Do With Old Plates in Tennessee?

When you sell your used car in Tennessee, you must dispose of your old plate properly.

Here are the options for old Tennessee plates:

1. Return: the county clerk's office will take back the old plate when issuing a new one. This is the safest option.
2. Recycle: remove any stickers and recycle the plate through local recycling.
3. Keep: some choose to save the old plate as memorabilia. Be sure to invalidate any active stickers first.
4. Transfer: Tennessee allows you to put your old plate on another vehicle you own. Make sure to check with your county clerk’s office for the proper paperwork for a plate transfer.

It’s always a good idea to deface your old license plate before returning or recycling it. This prevents someone else from illegally using it. Always remove registration stickers before disposing of your plate.

See our state-by-state guide to license plates to learn which states require removal from the vehicle and which states allow the plates to remain with the vehicle when it’s sold.

How Much are Registration Fees in Tennessee?

The regular state registration fee for passenger vehicles is $29.

To register your vehicle, you will need to submit the following to your local DOR office:

Proof of ownership
Completed application for registration
Proof of valid Tennessee insurance
Driver's license or ID
Payment for registration fees: $26
Payment for the Metro Vehicle Regulatory Fee (Wheel Tax): $55
Payment for the Tennessee sales tax: 7% of vehicles purchase price
Payment for the postage handling: $5

Does Tennessee Require a Front License Plate?

Tennessee requires a single license plate on the back of the car.

Some states require two license plates (front and rear), but not Tennessee. Fasten on that rear plate, and you’re up and running.

How do I Apply for a Tennessee Plate?

After you've purchased a car from a private seller, you'll get a new license plate when you register the vehicle in your name with the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Here are the steps you'll take:

1. Gather the required documents such as your vehicle title, registration, insurance, and driver's license.
2. Visit your local county clerk's office.
3. Submit the vehicle registration application.
4. Pay applicable registration fees, plate fees, and sales taxes.
5. Get your new plate and registration from the clerk's office.
6. Attach your new Tennessee plate to the rear of your vehicle

License Plate Trivia

Here are some interesting facts about Tennessee license plates:

Tennessee requires only a rear plate, unlike some states that also require a front plate in addition to the rear.
Passenger license plates measure 6 by 12 inches and are rectangular—in Tennessee and across the US.
Motorcycle license plates are a bit smaller, measuring 4 by 7 inches.
The Tennessee license plate has up to seven characters. (Across the US, license plate formats range from 6 to 8 characters.)

How Much is a Title Transfer in Tennessee?

The standard car title fee in Tennessee is $11. To transfer a vehicle title to your name, you will need the following:

Proof of identification and proof of residency
Valid certificate of title
Odometer disclosure statement
Affidavit of non-dealer transfers (for gift, low selling, or lineal relative vehicle transfers)

Read our complete guide to a Tennessee title transfer for more info on the subject.

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Sell Your Car In Tennessee

Here’s how you can sell your car in Tennessee with a few simple steps:

1. Gather the required paperwork for selling a car in Tennessee
2. Register on PrivateAuto and get verified
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License Plates FAQ

How much does license plate renewal cost in Tennessee?

You don’t actually need to renew your license plate in Tennessee. Instead, you get a new registration sticker that you place on your license plate to show that your registration is current.

Tennessee registration renewal costs $26.50; depending on the county, you might have to pay additional county fees such as the county wheel tax.

Renewing your vehicle registration in Tennessee can be done in five ways:

1. Online: online renewal is available at—just select your county to get started.
2. Phone app: the Auto Assistant app for smartphones allows registration renewal on the go.
3. Kiosk: many county clerk's offices also have self-service kiosks to quickly renew your registration onsite. FInd your nearest kiosk location on the state official website.
4. Mail: send your payment and notice by mail to your county clerk's office. For more info on the mailing address, visit the official website.
5. In-person: registrations can be renewed in person at county clerk offices across the state—just bring your current registration or renewal notice.

How much vehicle sales tax do I owe if I live in Knox County?

How much insurance do I need on my used car?

Can I register a car in Tennessee if I don't live there?