We poured through Yelp ratings and reviews to come up with this DMV ranking, the first of it’s kind. And while we actually think that the DMV can be a good experience if you come prepared, even these reviews and comments surprised us.

The worst of the worst?

First, we looked at all the DMV locations in California (over 150) that had over 75 reviews and started from there. Below is what we came up with, ordered by the number of reviews, since all below had 2.5 stars. Lastly, as you’ll start to notice, the easiest way to avoid most of this drama is to make an appointment ahead of time…. 

Number 10: Carmichael DMV with 61 reviews

Here were some of the most scathing reviews of this DMV in Sacramento County, via Yelp. The common theme we start to see, some employees are less helpful than others…

1 star: “To say the least, the people do not know what they are doing here. Each person says a different thing. They love to waste your time making you go back and forth telling you completely different things only to tell you at the end they can’t help you.” from October 2016.

1 star: “MAKE AN APPOINTMENT!!  I went there early because I don’t have an appointment. They would give you a non appt number but they will call no. in that category more than an hour!! Had to leave! If they would accomodate a non appointment walk ins they should have atleast one window for those non appointments.” from November 2016

1 star: “I’ve been here 2 hours. No online appointments for 8 days.  My number is g057 They just called g022.   Ridiculous.  Another overhaul is needed. It’s going to be a 6 hour day. Horrible horrible. My crime? Replacement license.” from May 2016.

Number 9: Hawthorne DMV with 91 reviews

Three of the particularly painful reviews, via the Hawthorne DMV Yelp page, for this LA area location.

2 stars: “I’m writing this review as I’m sitting here.. we all know DMV isn’t any fun. I looked up the time online as i always do . It said 16 minute wait , Im Goin on an hour 30 .. All i have to do is pay 20 bucks to put my motorcycle on non up! So it’s pretty empty in here  ,so I realized it’s takin so long cuz there are very few  employees. These ppl need some organization!!” from January 2016

1 star: “Came back here for the second time for my exam. Had to get in the line got a number… 026 great! Waited for 1hr and nothing wow is already 4:30 the exame is close. To bad another day waisted in the DMV.  Worst place!” from July 2016

1 star: “Worst DMV ive been in. DMV offices has a reputation for poor service already. I saw many staff members just talking and not helping out the customers in line. One member that was at the front desk was replacing pens and collecting the clipboards when there are 30 people waiting in line to get a ticket. How are these type of people employed? Whos running this show? Smh. Do not come here!” from September 2016


Number 8: Chula Vista DMV with 94 reviews

Imagine being yelled at the entire time you’re taking your driving test and having the tester blaming your parents. This is our top on from Chula Vista DMV review page from only a couple weeks ago:

1 star: “I had a drivers test appointment yesterday at 1:15. My test did not take place until 3:00. When my test finally started a woman came to my car the driving tester and started yelling at me where is your permit and let me see it with a very hard tone. Once the test started the woman started accusing me of not practicing and accusing my parents of not teaching me right. It was not like I was making a mistake that I did not stop at a red light. O not at all she just started yelling at me the whole time and then she failed me. I thought I did good it wasn’t like I was messing up. Try to imagine driving and someone just yelling in your ear and that is what it was like. I will never go back to this DMV again for my test. The people or rude and make you feel uncomfortable. I am so ashamed we have people like that working.” from February 2017



Number 7: Montebello DMV with 109 reviews

Besides complaints over slowness and employees, here’s another review of a very stressful behind-the-road driving test in this LA county location.

1 star: “The worst female middle aged driving instructor I ever had. With in the beginning she was rushing me and making comments that were not constructive. She forced me to tense up and made remarks to me about that as well as commenting with remarks such as “really” and “come on”.  To me the test is already stressful without someone being so unprofessional. I recommend to avoid getting her and she should probably decide on another career since she seems very impatient and unhappy.” from November 2015.

There’s actually a lot more anger being expressed on this review page than others, but we’ll spare you that.

? Pro-tip: In case you haven’t figured it out by now, you should probably make a DMV appointment.

Number 6: Van Nuys DMV with  135 reviews

Another LA area DMV, it’s “always very crowded” and one review even gave the customer service “0/5 stars”.

1 star: “Customer service is 0/5 stars. Rude and moody workers. Please make everything automated so we don’t have to deal with these workers. Can’t answer a simple question without trying to belittle the person.” from January 2016

1 star: “This place is always extremely slow and the employees always have a really negative attitude. Makes a person scared to ask anything. There’s no clear signs of where you need to go for the written test, there was one sign that said keep clear and wait to be called there’s nobody there. I manage to get an employees attention a guy inside a both with a very bad attitude He literary almost ripped my paperwork away from me when I asked about the test. This type of service is why I avoid at all costs to come to this dmv, had no choice this time!” from August 2016



Want to see The 10 Best DMV Offices in California? We’re posting it next week, follow us for the post!


Number 5: Poway DMV with 166 reviews

This DMV in San Diego county comes in at number 5 from it’s Yelp reviews. This review captures some of the sentiment many others had:

1 star: “As usual,held hostage for over 2 hours to change drivers license address and addresses on pink slips,it is truely unbelievable that this cant be done online????Thanks Governor Brown,great job,things have acually gotten worse for the working class,I have to take a day off work to do this when I couldve worked to pay for more handouts.What other state in America do you wait 2 hours to pay a ridiculous amount of money for services that should already be covered by all the fuel taxes we pay for!!!!!The roads I drove here on are falling apart so where exactly is all that money going????” from January 2017

Number 4: Fremont DMV with 225 reviews

We’re up to the Bay Area, which has 3 of 4 of the “worst” locations. Here are two of the painful Fremont reviews:

1 star: “My examiner was so impatient and hella picky.  Even though there was just a small mistake, and they will exaggerate it. They are always trying to find something to screw you over. If this your first time road test, unfortunately 90% you won’t get a pass from here. They are the ruddiest staff I have ever met.” from March 2017

1 star: “Where on earth do you start with DMV? The Fremont location is famous for long lines, if you arrive past 730 then you will definitely not receive service until 9 AM earliest. I have been here for multiple services from my personal written test, my driving test, renewing my license test, and taking someone here for their written test. Is very unfortunate that the stuff outside and inside of contradicting information. Yolanda usually walks around with a cart of paperwork and she helps clarify information. There were too many times when I saw people go in and be told that the woman outside is wrong I can’t help you today because you’re missing documents.” from July 2016

Number 3: Glendale DMV with 233 reviews

Back down south in the LA area, which has 4 of the “worst” 10. Glendale stands out as having some very bad reviews and very good reviews. The main difference: An appointment. Go figure. Here are two reviews from the past couple weeks.

1 star: “I wish I could give ZERO stars! This place is the worst. People are so rude. The call center is just as horrible! Trying to get a hold of someone specifically at this office is a nightmare. These people just kept giving me the run around, I got all the necessary paper work paid all the necessary fees and STILL two months later I do not have registration stickers for my car. Unbelievable!” from February 2017

Another vote for zero stars:

1 star: “This DMV customer service deserves zero stars. The workers are horrible there is no other words to explain it. We get it there is alot of customers and they are tired but they act like they are miserable with their pathetic lives. Sorry but have to be honest. They treat customers like they are stupid and they are just horrible. Worse workers in glendale DMV. Hire new people!!!” from March 2017

Number 2: Daly City DMV with 311 reviews

This is another extremely popular DMV location with quite the mix of reviews. Here goes two reviews:

1 star: “Worst government department. Line from door to get a number 1.5 hours. number to be called to get a duplicate license 1.5 hours and counting. Workers are too lax and enjoying their secure government job. as east as this job as we would think they can move a little quicker and care about other humans and their time.” from December 2016

1 star: “This is the worst DMV office in the Bay Area! We have been here for 4 1/2 hours just to get a temporary registration. The ONLY reason I gave it 1 star is because I could not give it a ZERO! if you can avoid it,  DO NOT COME HERE EVER!” from February 2017


Number 1: Santa Clara DMV with 376 reviews

And to round out our 10 worst California DMVs is Santa Clara in the Bay Area. To give it some credit, there are signs of improvement, but due to the sheer number of bad reviews, we had to keep this at #1 for now…

1 star: “Today, uneducated lady informed me that my early renewal of DL will require retaking written test – later on that day it occured that it is not true, however they could not process my paper work – due to be late. I do not even want to mention that I had an appointment. I am pretty sure 3rd world country embassies work better.” from February 2017.

1 star: “This place is the WORST. If you are a young teenager reading this, don’t come here for the driving test!! They have the highest fail rate in CA from some statistic I read a few years ago! Go a little further to San Jose and you’ll pass easy-pz. They are sooo rude and annoying and it’s always so effing crowded (I mean, it is the DMV) but this is by far the worst.” from January 2017


Do you agree with these or do you have a similar survival story? Tell us!


We’ll leave you with our favorite piece of review advice and mantra:

“Three words: make an appointment. Two words: then pray.”




PS – Be sure to follow us to see our 10 Best California DMV’s post next week. And you can always make appointments with us. 🙂

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