Car Ownership

iconGet a license – then register your car!

If you purchase a car in Connecticut, you are required to register the car with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must have a CT driver's license or a CT state ID card in order to register your car. You can find details about obtaining a CT driver's license or ID card on our Driving page.

Warning: The CT DMV is reporting significant delays in scheduling appointments for Spring and Summer 2015. More Information...


Our Best Advice
It is expensive to own a car given the high costs of registration, insurance, emissions testing, taxes, and parking. Consider a Zipcar membership as a good alternative to owning a car.

How to Purchase a Car

Used cars for sale privately can be found through bulletin board notices posted around campus, on search websites such as AutoList, on classified websites such as Craigslist, and using other online services. Other resources include the Yale International e-mail group, local publications such as The New Haven Register (Sunday edition), and the Yale Bulletin.

Cost analysis can be done online through Kelly’s Blue Book and Edmunds. Private Party Value is what you can expect to pay if you buy from an individual. Suggested Retail is the price you would pay if you purchase from a car dealer.

Check any used car thoroughly before you buy. Always test drive the vehicle and take it to a professional mechanic for a pre-purchase check. Carfax is an online vehicle history check that can provide useful pre-purchase information as well.

How to Register Your Car



Purchase Car Insurance

Valid insurance is required in order to register a vehicle. Shop around and compare prices. It may be helpful to have a copy of your driving record from home.



Dealership Car Sales

If you purchase a new or used car through an authorized dealer they will walk you through the steps to register the car.



Private Car Sales

If you purchase the car through a private individual, you will need to take the following items to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV):

the title, which has been signed over to you
the bill of sale
the insurance card
your valid CT driver's license (Need one?)
checks or cash to cover fees & taxes (details about fees are obtainable on the DMV Web site)


Registration and Insurance cards

Always keep the registration and insurance papers in the car, and make a copy of each to keep in a safe place at home.


How to Maintain Your Car

Finding a good mechanic is a must for a car owner, and those listed here have been deemed reliable and affordable by some in the Yale community. For major repairs, you should always shop around. In addition to the listings here, you can ask for recommendations from your friends and colleagues, or if you are a member of AAA (American Automobile Association), you can get a list of AAA approved garages. There are also national chains, such as Firestone, Meineke and Midas where you can get car care services; watch for specials and coupons. National chains sometimes offer deals on routine repairs such as mufflers and brakes.

Where to Park Your Car

Parking is limited in New Haven and on or near the Yale campus. Be sure to inquire about parking options when apartment hunting and consider the cost of monthly parking if you plan to drive to campus every day. Detailed information about parking in New Haven, including downloadable maps, can be found under “Travel Tips” at Other options for parking include:

Be aware of the following when parking on New Haven city streets:

  • Read signs carefully. Limitations vary in terms of length of stay, time of day, day of the week, etc, and you will be ticketed for violations.
  • Heed parking bans, snow emergencies and street cleaning schedules or you will be ticketed and towed, even with a valid permit. Signs announcing bans will be posted on trees and poles along the street with as little as 12 hours notice.
  • If you get a parking ticket, pay promptly or additional fines will be added.

If you believe your car was towed, call the New Haven Police Department at 203-946-6316. The police will tell you if it was towed and why, as well as if you owe money for tickets or taxes. Ticketed and towed vehicles incur a $77 tow fee payable to the tow company. After the first 24 hours, storage charges are $20 per day for the first 5 days, and $24 per day thereafter.

If a parking meter is broken, New Haven City ordinance requires you to pay with a parking voucher or move your car to another space. To report a malfunctioning meter, call 203-946-8081 with the meter number, street name and type of problem encountered.

Driving Safely in Connecticut

Familiarize yourself with Connecticut State traffic laws before heading out in your car. Rules of the road are largely the same throughout the U.S., but keep in mind that some specific laws do vary from state to state. Driver’s manuals can be found on the CT DMV website. Here are a few basics:

  • Each driver of the vehicle must have an acceptable valid driver’s license.
  • The driver and all front seat passengers are required by law to wear seat belts. Back seat passengers aged 4-16 are required to wear seat belts.
  • Speed limits in the U.S. are strictly enforced. If you are caught and ticketed for speeding, you will be required to pay a very large fine.
  • Handheld cell phones cannot legally be used while driving. Ask for a “hands free” device from your cell phone provider if you need to drive and use your phone.
  • Drivers must yield the right-of-way at all times to pedestrians who are in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  • “Right on Red”: Turning right at a red light is permitted in Connecticut after you have stopped completely to make sure it is safe to proceed. In the city of New Haven, however, many intersections will have signs that indicate “NO TURN ON RED.”
  • Infants and children must use approved child restraint seats in all vehicles until they are over six years of age AND 60 pounds. After children outgrow their car seat, they must ride in a booster seat using a lap and shoulder belt. The law also now requires that infants remain rear-facing until they are 1 year of age AND 20 pounds!
  • Headlights must be turned on whenever the windshield wipers are in use — rain or snow, night or day.
  • You must stop for a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing whether it is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road, or at an intersection you are approaching.




Related links


Driving in the U.S.


Car Rental

DMV Information


More Resources


AAA (pronounced: “triple A”) is a national club that provides excellent services for car owners.

Car Mechanic Resources

Auto Tech Garage
Owner: Todd
55 Connolly Parkway

East Rock Auto Repair
Owner: Paul
1400 State Street
[web site]

Paolillo’s Service Station
Owner: Joe
76 Ashmun Street