Our car arrived in Molokai about 2 weeks ago. We were very pleased to see it after a month of cramming ourselves into a compact rental car. If you ship a car from the mainland to the Hawaiian Islands, you have 30 days after arrival to get the car registered.
In addition to registration, each car must have a yearly safety inspection. Of course these two things both depend on each other, so you cannot get one without the other!
First stop is the DMV, which on Molokai is a small office staffed by two very nice women, each sitting at their desks next to each other. The sitting area in the DMV (in case you need to wait) is 4 chairs. While you are at the DMV they give you a sort of “temporary” registration. That is to say it is temporary because you have not passed a safety inspection.
So then you bring your car to a service station (one of 2 on island) where they perform the safety inspection. You can pass all points of the inspection, however you will “fail” because you do not have a permanent registration.
So then back you go to the DMV to show the paperwork that your car passed all the safety inspection points, except the failure to have a permanent registration. Now the DMV gives you your new Hawaiian license plates (they are just in a box behind the ladies’ desks) and your permanent registration, you go to the parking lot and take off the old plates, put the new ones on, and turn in the old plates to the desk. Everyone chuckles about the back-and-forth, but hey, it’s the DMV!
Finally, your last stop is back to the service station. They can now test your car again and give you a pass because you have your registration, and issue the tags (one for the plate and one for your rear bumper) that show your registration is current.
The DMV and the service station are about a half mile apart, so visiting each of them two times took a total of about 2 hours. Yes, it’s a waste of time, but oh well, the car is legal now.
On the flip side of all of this. The DMV acknowledged the fact that we last registered our car in California in July. Because of this they give us a July renewal sticker so we did not have to pay for this year’s registration in Hawaii. Our first payment will be next July.
I couldn’t help but to include a photo of the fresh tropical flowers in the window with empty gas tanks and cans of oil for sale. A little beauty in a greasy service station.