What to Do with Old License Plates Colorado

You have an old Colorado license plate, and wondering what to do with old license plates in Colorado. The answer is that you can choose to keep your Colorado license plate or use it on another vehicle.

what to do with old license plates Colorado


You are not mandated go return your license plates to your county DMV. Instead, you keep your CO registration plates. If you take it to the Colorado DMV, they will collect it from you, but they’d simply recycle it for you. Unfortunately, going to the DMV means you will be sharing the queue with other Colorado residents who have better reasons for being there, including getting their title replaced, vehicle registration, etc.


Do You Have to Return License Plates in Colorado?

No, you do not have to return license plates in Colorado. You can lawfully keep your plates after selling or trading your vehicle in any manner according to the Colorado DMV. The only exception when you can return your license plates in Colorado is if they are mutilated or illegible. You must take them off your vehicle and request replacement registration plates.


What to Do with Old License Plates Colorado

It has been months, perhaps years or a few weeks since you had the CO license plate. That’s okay. But now, the plates are almost useless, but not entirely useless. Colorado does not consider it useful any more and would have it recycled if you bothered them by surrendering it at the CO DMV.

Meanwhile, below is what to do with old Colorado license plates:

  1. Souvenir

Colorado DMV advises you to consider your old license plate as a souvenir from the state or something to remember CO with. If you feel it is more than a souvenir, you can send it to your family member. Visiting residents would not mind departing Colorado with the plates as souvenirs.

  1. Will it to Your Heir

You can Will your old Colorado license plates to your heir. However, such heir must be a car plate enthusiast. Otherwise, they might think you finally lost it all in your old age.

  1. Transfer it to Another Vehicle

If you have another car, you can transfer your CO license plates to it at the DMV.

There is an exception. You cannot transfer your license plates to another vehicle “unless they are currently personalized or the vehicle is registered with horseless carriage plates”.

  1. Recycle Bin

The DMV urges you to recycle your license plates with a recycling service that will take metal. You can recycle your Colorado license plate at no cost. If you decide to recycle the old CO plates, ensure to cut them into pieces to prevent other people from fraudulently using them. If you recycle their Colorado license plates without cutting them into pieces, anyone can retrieve them, use on their vehicle, rack tickets and fines, and perhaps, get in an accident that makes you liable.

  1. Garage Wall

When you remove your old Colorado license plates, hang them on the wall in your garage whether you move out of state or not. Many CO residents decorate their garages with registration plates, and it is the traditional thing to do with an old Colorado registration plate.

  1. Gift It Out

You can gift your unused CO license plates to someone. Many residents collect license plates and will be pleased to have yours too.

  1. Sell It Online

There is always a market for old CO license plates on Facebook Market, Craigslist and eBay. Colorado registering plates also sell on Etsy, where they are made into purses and other crafty artworks.

  1. Sell to Antique Shop

Instead of surrendering your old CO license plates, you can sell them at the antique shop. Antique shops buy old Colorado license plates. Look around the nearest antique shops and inform them that you have your plates for sale.


Do I keep my license plate when I sell my car in Colorado?

Colorado state law mandates you to keep your license plates after selling your vehicle. You are not allowed to give your license plates to a vehicle buyer to drive away. Advise the buyer to obtain a temporary license plate to get their vehicle home. Note that if someone has your license plate on a vehicle, they can rack up traffic tickets and other problems that you will becomes liable because the Colorado plates is in your name.

Can you use your old CO license plates in a different vehicle?

Yes, you can use your old Colorado license plates in a different vehicle that belongs to you. You will simply transfer the CO plates to your new vehicle in your name.

Final Thoughts

As stressed here, you do not return, surrender or take your CO plates back to the CO DMV. Keep the plates with you and do not give them to another vehicle owner. Meanwhile, you may be interested in how you can make a Colorado license plate invisible to cameras.

Keep your Colorado plates.

Family Instructor

FAQs – Registration.


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  1. Returning auto tags/license plate after getting Colorado tags…. back to Brooklyn NY. Lost address. Doing this inquiry for a friend in Colorado.

    1. Hi Connie,

      Do you mean if you can return your old New York plates after moving to Colorado?

      NY considers old plates to be scrap metal, so you can recycle them at an NY scrap metal yard or recycling drop-off station. Since you’re not in NY anymore, you don’t have to worry.


  2. Returning old plate back to the state I moved our of, New York state. Asking for a friend.

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