logo for Michigan Department of State's Customer and Automotive Records System

The Michigan Department of State is launching a new computer system that will provide you with improved services online and at all Secretary of State offices. We call it our Customer and Automotive Records System or CARS for short.

The new system begins operation Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, and includes services for vehicle owners and automotive-related businesses. The second phase, expected to be introduced in February 2021, will include driver’s license and ID card services.

CARS will enhance services for Michigan residents by adding new online options, improving existing online and kiosk services, and giving staff a more efficient tool to look up vehicle information and process transactions. CARS updates records in real time and replaces antiquated 1960s legacy mainframe technology that has impeded the department’s ability to optimally serve customers.


Presidents Day weekend closure

To transition to the new system:

  • Secretary of State branch offices, online services and auto business transactions will be taken offline and unavailable from Friday, Feb. 15, until 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19. The seven Super Centers usually open Saturday will be closed Saturday, Feb. 16, for the system-wide conversion. All branches will be closed on Presidents Day (Monday, Feb. 18).
  • Self-service kiosks will be taken offline in phases beginning Friday, Feb. 8. (See the schedule.)


Feb. 19 launch and thereafter

For a few weeks following the launch, as staff gets accustomed to the new computer system and adjusts to a different process for handling transactions, service in offices may take longer. Customers are encouraged to use CARS e-Services at ExpressSOS.com or to complete their transactions outside this timeframe.

Late fees will be waived for transactions with expiration dates between Feb. 11 and March 2.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as the department modernizes its vehicle record computer system.


Get transactions done fast with CARS e-Services

Customers will enjoy several new online services under CARS, including the ability to:

  • Request a personalized plate
  • Buy new vehicle plates and replacement plates
  • Renew a snowmobile registration
  • Purchase a Recreation Passport
  • Order a replacement for a lost tab

Auto dealers, repair facilities, mechanics and driver education providers and instructors also will be able to perform many business and professional licensing transactions online.

Plus, CARS will offer improvements to existing online services:

  • Experience a more user-friendly, intuitive interface
  • Renew your vehicle or watercraft registration
  • Request a duplicate registration or title
  • Change your address on your vehicle registration
  • Use one shopping cart for all of your transactions

Real-time data updates also will enable transactions the old system would reject because of delays in the exchange of data with branch offices.


Secure log in process with MILogin

Advanced security features will prompt online customers to create a user ID and password using MILogin, which also can be used to access other state government services in Michigan.

You still will be able to renew a vehicle registration without a password if you are just doing a quick renewal, as is currently the case.


CARS in Secretary of State offices

CARS also provides Secretary of State staff with new technology to make your office visit better:

  • A single record for each customer lists all their vehicles and other items. Branch employees   won’t have to search through multiple separate databases to pull information together to  complete your transaction.
  • Transactions will be tracked in real time, and notes and scanned documents can be attached easily to customer records.
  • Self-service kiosks now will offer watercraft registration renewals, in addition to the current license plate tab renewals.
  • You will be able to order an instant title at any office.


Second phase: Expected in February 2021

In February 2021, the CARS project will unveil driver-related transactions and services. The same straightforward functionality and access made available for vehicle transactions will be provided for all driver-related tasks online and at Secretary of State offices.

Tens of millions of driver and vehicle records will be securely combined into one integrated customer record system.