Chicago Provides City Vehicle Stickers That Lack One Important Feature

First New York’s vehicle inspection stickers lacked enough stickiness to actually stay stuck and now the disease has infected Chicago. Yes, it’s the same company making the stickers. I know. We’re shocked too. Who could have predicted this?

The good news: The city has extended the deadline to place a new vehicle sticker in your window by two weeks. The penalty for lack of sticker? $120.

From the Expired Meter:

SecureMark won the five year contract for Chicago’s city stickers by coming in $300,000 lower over the term of the contract than other bidders. However, SecureMark has had some problems with quality providing decals for the state of New York and the Clerk’s office wanted to continue to use their preferred vendor, The Standard Register Company.

In fact, when the bids came in back in early March, Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle wrote a letter to the Procurement Department asking them to ignore the low bid and award the contract to Standard Register.

“We are sympathetic with city budget issues,” says Williams of the contract. “But we were concerned with quality issues this vendor has had in the past. The quality and integrity of the Chicago city stickers is of utmost importance to us.”

The Clerk’s office will replace any faulty city stickers for free. Drivers can e-mail the City Clerk’s office at: or call 312-742-9200. Replacements will be sent in the mail.

Some City Stickers Not Sticking [The Expired Meter]
City Extends Sticker Deadline [Chicagoist]


Edit Your Comment

  1. FatLynn says:

    Evanston FTW!

  2. dreamfish says:

    Is there anything in Chicago that doesn’t get Richard M Daley’s name plastered over it?

    • rpm773 says:

      Yes. Anything built by any of his predecessors, which has their names plastered over it.

      • humphrmi says:

        Hah! You would think so, wouldn’t you? But no, Daley is well known for sending crews out to take down markers and plaques with former Mayors’ names on them, and then “rededicating” them, with his name. In fact, he p!$$ed off Jane Byrne a few years ago because all the markers with her name on them came down. Which is ironic, because she came to power via Richie’s dad as part of Sr. Daley’s political machine.

        • rpm773 says:

          Jesus, that’s pretty funny. Heh.

          BTW, if anyone cares, my reply wasn’t meant to be snarky to dreamfish, but to this practice by Chicago’s mayors, past and present. When I lived there, it seemed like every single city structure had a stone or a plaque on it with a mayor’s name..some dating way back into the 30s…

    • Geekybiker says:

      It really should be illegal to have anything with made with public funding have anyone’s name on it (excepting monuments, etc)

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        Seriously the fact that Quinn took the governor’s name off the toll road and off the “welcome to Illinois” signs is ALMOST enough to make me vote for him!

        Those fucking toll road signs pissed me off hardcore.

        • Billy says:

          Having Blagojevich’s name on the toll booths is kind of a stupid idea to begin with. It’s almost like saying, “Yeah, that’s me, Governor Blagojevich. I’m the one who makes you pay a toll whenever you want to drive anywhere. That’s me, Governor Blagojevich. I’m the one whose toll booths cause such a traffic jam. That’s me, Governor Blagojevich. I’m the one who’s responsible for these shitty roads.” etc.

          Why would anyone draw attention to that? Whenever I saw the “open tolling” sign with his name on it, I always thought, “now can you figure out how to automate the cash lanes?”

    • Spifferiferfied says:

      All the Illinois politicians are like this. I have my Jesse White – Secretary of State in my wallet that I got from the Jesse White – Secretary of State DMV.

  3. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    I would love to see if anyone can track down the supplier…I worked in Printing…

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      BTW — not “SecureMark ” — the actual company and/or printer…long list of industry there.

  4. twophrasebark says:

    Undoubtedly the cost of the problem will be borne by Chicago and SecureMark will be fined $10.

  5. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Well, not going with the LOWEST bidder is sometimes a good idea. I know a school I went to went with the lowest builder and the job bankrupted him, and they were left with a partially built building.

    But they should go with whoever does NJ’s stickers. Those things are a pain to remove. I only wish the DMV would let me put it on, because they put it on crooked sometimes, and my OCD hates it.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Which astronaut was it that realized, during the countdown, that he was sitting in the most advanced machine known to mankind … and it was constructed entirely out of low bids?

      I mean, there’s something to be said for the quality being reflected by the price; low-bid road construction that needs to replaced or patched every few years… or slightly higher initial costs for a product that lasts longer?

      And I totally agree with the sticker placement; it drove me nuts on my old car when one of my stickers was askew. @_@

    • Alvis says:

      Really? My NJ stickers are always falling off themselves when the time comes around to replace them.

    • rorschachex says:

      Usually, at least with the federal government, they have a target price; they figure if the bid is below that, to ignore it because it has significantly cut corners, misread the RFP or is just incorrect. If you make a terrific argument in the proposal and orals, sometimes they’ll look past the low bid due to new technology, methodology, etc. However, for something like this which would be firm-fixed price since it’s nothing new, just printing stickers, they would ignore such a low-ball bid.

    • Billy says:

      This is the first year that Chicago has gone with this new type of sticker. The old ones were notoriously impossible to take off. The new ones were supposed to be easier…just not this easy.

  6. pantheonoutcast says:

    I’ve never attached my registration to my window the “correct” way. Scotch tape is easier to clean up when it’s time to swap stickers.

    • Crim Law Geek says:

      And I bet you would bitch up a storm if you got a ticket for an improperly placed sticker.

      (Sorry, people who tape the sticker on or can’t read the simple instructions on how to peel the NYS sticker from the rest of the sheet trigger my OCD)

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        I understand. I live in Indiana and the people who put the new year sticker for their license plates over the month instead of the previous year bother me. I know it’s irrational but it does. So do the people in Chicago who have 10 years worth of vehicle stickers down their windows. How do you see!?

      • DancesWithBadgers says:

        You mean the NYS sticker which is stuck on my windshield with tape because the adhesive failed after less than 24 hours?

  7. Alvis says:

    What are these, local parking permits? I thought registrations and inspections were done on a state level.

    • humphrmi says:

      Ah, someone who’s never experienced a “city sticker”.

      In theory, it’s for parking. But in fact, you can be ticketed anywhere, even on private property, for not having one. It basically boils down to, each city in the “Greater” Chicagoland area charges a vehicle registration fee, and you have to display their sticker. And visitors? It’s a crap-shoot. You might get a ticket, you might not. Usually out-of-state plates don’t get tickets for not having one, but in-state cars do (even if their city doesn’t offer / require city stickers).

      BTW, there are no state inspection stickers. When you pass the emission test, the Ill. EPA now gives you a piece of paper that you don’t have to display, and they just keep the records electronically.

      • Alvis says:

        That’s… retarded. I’d hate to be a meter maid trying to enforce those rules for in-state drivers. You have to pay to park in your own neighborhood, but visitors park free? Bass-ackwards.

        • JoeDawson says:

          Actually in a lot of chicago neighborhoods, your city sticker is a parking permit, and your zone number is on the actual sticker. to avoid a ticket, Visitors need a city sticker or a temporary 24hr parking permit, which are actually pretty reasonable, at about a dollar a piece

        • Fair&Balanced says:

          It is all about your residence to who has jurisdiction to take your money.
          All of these vehicle stickers/inspections/registrations are all grabs for money.

          If you live outside of chicago and park in chicago then you are not in their jurisdiction.
          To screw over visitors they would need to make it a parking pass not a vehicle registration pass then put up signs requiring city of chicago parking permits.

          I miss living in Indiana. No stupid stickers on your windshield blocking the corner of your view and no ugly front license plate. Indiana is one of the best states when it comes to owning a vehicle.

          • humphrmi says:

            Except that they print their license plates on cardboard. But yeah.

          • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

            NC recently did away with the window inspection stickers (it’s now all electronic, and tied to the license plate registration sticker).
            also, we don’t have any front plates, other than novelty NASCAR plates.

          • jessjj347 says:

            In Philly, there is actually the opposite situation. More people with out of state plates get tickets, because the parking people figure those people are less likely to fight the ticket. They just give them for all sorts of bogus things, including giving a ticket for a location you never even parked in.

        • Billy says:

          Visitors only park free because someone (a neighborhood resident) gave them a daily pass which that neighbor paid for.

      • hwyengr says:

        Actually, the meter maid will check the address on your registration before writing a ticket. If your car is registered in Chicago, but you don’t have the city sticker, then you get a ticket. Many, many people get around this by moving to Chicago, but never changing the address on their plates. I lived in Chicago for nearly 2 years without a sticker, keeping my parent’s address in Peoria on the plates, and never got a ticket.

        Though, I keep my 2008 Chicago registration sticker on my car in LA for memorabilia.

        • Hoss says:

          I’m lost — you seem to be saying the sticker is the registration, so if there’s no sticker, how do they know the car is from Peoria?

          This is way too confusing. I got lots of questions, like can they give you a ticket for no stickler if you’ve been stopped for something else like running a red light (ie, just passing through the city)? And can they ticket if you’re in a private lot such as your workplace?? How long is the line at traffic court???

          • Billy says:

            If you were just passing through the city and were stopped for a traffic violation, the cops check your address before giving you the ticket. If your address is from out of Chicago, they can’t (obviously) give you a ticket for not having a Chicago city sticker.

      • ARP says:

        It’s more complicated than that. At the beginning of Summer (I call it sticker season), you have to buy a city sticker (about $100). If your car is registered in Chicago and you don’t have one, you’ll get a ticket (I think its $150). Now, if your car is registered from out of town, it is a crap shoot. Sometimes you get a ticket, sometimes not. Usually if your plates are out of state, you have a better chance. But wait, there’s more. If you live in certain neighborhoods (Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wicker Park, Old town, Noble Square, etc.), you also have to buy a residential sticker (which is $25 extra, of course). Now in these neighborhoods, if you don’t have that particular sticker and you’re parked in the street (in state out of state, resident, non-resident, etc.), you will get a ticket ($50 or even a tow ) unless you get a termorary permit (pack of 25 are $15, I think). Temporary permits are only sold to residents of that neighborhood and good for 24 hours.

  8. Turcicus says:

    That’s nuthin’. A couple years back, the county I live in sent us newly redesigned vehicle stickers that were supposed to be good for five years instead of one. But something looked off about them to me – they were inordinately large. One look in the state code revealed that they were actually too large and against the law. I called the county to ask about this and was told they worked with the state police to make sure it was OK. But I still let the local newspaper know about it. The reporter discovered that the county attorney knew nothing about the issue. The day after the story ran, the county had a press conference announcing that it was no longer a requirement that the stickers be displayed. :) In the end, the taxpayers ended up footing a $250K bill for illegal county stickers.

  9. benbell says:

    This is an issue for the emissions and inspections stickers for the entire state of PA. There have been plenty of cases of the stickers falling off and the DMV has sait to try to stick them back on or you can pay for new ones. Pretty sad actually.

    • mbz32190 says:

      Same. This is the second year I’ve had this happen. Just got stickers in late May and they are already peeling. Are not enough people complaining or what? Nothing some scotch tape can’t fix, but still an annoyance.

  10. sonneillon says:

    I got hit with a 100 dollar fine for not having a city sticker once. I had that fixed the next day. I felt sorry for the guy down the block. Cause he has 4 kids and a wife with cars. 6 tickets.

    • balthisar says:

      What’s a “city sticker” for? Do we tourists get fined? I don’t remember any of that nonsense the last time I drove my out-of-state vehicle in Chicago.

      • Spaceman Bill Leah says:

        As mentioned above, out of state plates don’t generally get ticketed for lack of city stickers. It’s residents only.

        IL people who don’t live in CHI may get a ticket but if the parking enforcement person does their job and runs the car’s plates to get a registration address first they shouldn’t.

      • DataRaider says:

        balthisar, it’s just a “street maintenance” tax. The sticker is just proof you paid it. Many cities, counties, and even states impose this kind of tax in some way (each independent from each other, so you could be hit by all 3). Chicago makes you buy a sticker. Illinois uses an “at the pump” tax to hit anybody traveling through the state as well as the residents.

      • sonneillon says:

        I pay 14 dollars and put a sticker in my wind shield because the city is looking for money. As far as I know they generally don’t tap tourists the vehicle has to be there for 30 days I think.

  11. vrefron says:

    I’m pretty sure the entire parking sticker scheme in Chicagoland is just a scam run by the tow truck companies. Anybody ever lived in Cook or DuPage counties and not had their cars towed at some point? I don’t know anyone who fits that description.

  12. offtopic says:

    PA has the same issue – they just do not stick. Inspections are annually and cost $98 – you think that they could get stickers that stick – but no – at least they will sell you replacements – how swell.

    • Mr. zip says:

      wtf, a PA inspection with emissions is like 60 bucks. Unless your in some oddball county that can charge more.

      • swat1227 says:

        Um, yeah. I paid $64 bucks. And have a very unsticky sticker. Allegedly they’re sending out replacements? But it’s Pennsylvania, so they’re too busy sending that money to racehorses for Rendell.

  13. sp00nix says:

    PA has the same issue. I cant keep them on the glass! I see it ever where.

  14. chemtev says:

    This is relatively old news here in Chicago. They estimate that approx 1200 stickers were defective. The city is offering free replacements and the contractor is picking up the tab for the stickers. I had to replace my stickers and it was fairly painless.

  15. EdK says:
  16. Benzona says:

    They should just privatize it like they did for the parking meters since that went so well.

  17. Sully111 says:

    Went to put on my new Chicago sticker last night. NO GLUE. Took it in to City Clerk’s office on Lasalle only to see a huge line out the door down the hall. I talked to the information person who said go downstairs to get it swapped out. 2 minutes later I’m walking away with a brand new sticker. Most sureal thing I’ve ever been through. Usually walking into City Hall is liking stepping into the twilight zone.

  18. chaelyc says:

    My college landlord told us to trash our hang-tag parking passes and gave us parking pass stickers for the back of our rear-view mirrors that were apparently only sticky when it wasn’t hot outside. That little convenience cost me about 2 days and $300 when it resulted in my car being towed because my sticker fell off and landed face-down on the dashboard.