When purchasing a new or used utility trailer, you will generally need to register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) so that you can legally use it on the road. Although the regulations vary depending on the area, they all require certain papers, such as registration applications and titles. After gathering the necessary forms, go to the nearest DMV office and pay for the registration. Once your trailer is registered, you can use it on public roads. Read on to learn the steps to follow if you live in the United States.
Part 1 of 2: Gather the required documents
Step 1. Obtain the bill of sale to prove that you own the trailer
The bill of sale is a form that specifies who you bought the trailer from, its age, their vehicle identification number (VIN), and the price you paid. If you've purchased a new trailer, keep the receipt for proof that it's yours. If you've bought a used one, ask the seller to print a bill of sale so you can both fill it out.
- You can find the forms online to make your own bill of sale, as long as you have the seller sign it.
- Some places require that an official notary sign the bill of sale. Check your local regulations to see if you need to certify this document.
- If you want to register a homemade trailer, you may need to include receipts for the parts you used to build it.
Step 2. Complete the title application if you have purchased a new trailer
In addition to submitting the bill of sale, you will need to apply for the title to prove that you are the owner of the trailer. When you initially purchase the trailer through a manufacturer or dealer, the trailer will not have a title, so you will need to complete an application. Find this application form for your status online and fill it out. Follow the instructions in the document to complete it correctly.
- The dealer can also provide you with an application for the title at the time of purchase.
- Title registration rules may vary from state to state. Check your state regulations to see if you need to have your trailer title.
Step 3. Ask the seller to sign the title if you bought a used trailer
Transferring the title of a trailer is similar to transferring the title of a car. If you have not obtained the title at the time of purchase, speak to the seller and ask them to sign it on your behalf. Obtain this document to present as proof of ownership and properly register the trailer.
If you already have the trailer but don't have the title, contact the seller to have it signed for you, or contact your local DMV office to find out what to do next
do not buy a trailer if the original owner does not have its title. This will make it more difficult to register since you will not be the official owner.
Step 4. Get the VIN verification if the trailer is registered in another state
Many times, if you need to register a trailer that you bought in another state, you will have to have the VIN verified to prove that you are the owner. Find the VIN test centers in your state and take the trailer for verification. Once verified, the center will provide you with a form that you must bring to the DMV office within 30 days to register the trailer.
- Not all states require VIN verification for trailers.
- If your VIN is not verified at the center, you will need to approach the DMV office with the trailer for inspection.
Step 5. Complete the registration application for your state
Find the registration form for the trailer online and fill it out. Be sure to include information about any lienholders on the registration form, if any. Please confirm that all information is correct and accurate before printing the application.
If you cannot access the online registration request form, go to your local DMV office to obtain a printed copy of it
Step 6. Get a safety inspection if your state requires it
Some locations require a safety inspection to confirm that the trailer can travel safely on the roads. Therefore, take the trailer to an inspection center or local DMV office with an inspection line for review. Once the inspection is complete, you will receive a sticker, if approved.
- If you don't pass the safety inspection, the inspector will provide you with a list of what needs to be changed before the trailer can be searched.
- To get an inspection, you will need to have documents that prove your ownership, such as a title or bill of sale.
Part 2 of 2: Paying for and Registering the Trailer with the DMV
Step 1. Take the forms and proof of identification with you to the DMV
When you approach the DMV to register the trailer, make sure you have all the required forms. Keep them in a folder to keep them organized and not lose them. Make sure you bring some form of identification (such as a driver's license or passport) so that the DMV can confirm your identity.
Do an online search to find out which forms are required in your area, as requirements may vary
make an appointment in advance at the DMV to avoid delays in queuing.
Step 2. Pay the registration and title fees
After DMV officials review your forms, they will ask you to pay registration and title fees. Make payment in full with cash, check, or debit card to finalize registration. Most of the time, a trailer registration costs $ 50 to $ 100.
- Generally, DMV offices do not accept credit cards.
- The cost of registration may be higher if your trailer weighs more than 1400 kilos (3000 pounds).
Step 3. Check your state regulations to see if you need to get insurance after registration
After registering the trailer, do an online search to learn the regulations in your area and determine if you need additional insurance for the trailer. If it is a requirement, contact your insurance company to find out the policies available that are suitable for your trailer. Make sure you meet the basic insurance requirements, if your state establishes them.
You may be able to add the trailer to your car insurance, if you plan to use the vehicle to tow it
Step 4. Renew the registration before its expiration
Trailer registration typically lasts one to two years, depending on where you live. When your registration is about to expire, fill out a renewal form and take it to the DMV office. You should always keep your trailer registered. Otherwise, it will not be legal to use it on public roads.
Go to the DMV website to find out if you can renew your registration online
- Contact your local DMV if you don't have your trailer's VIN or title. Officials will guide you through the specific regulations so you can register it.
- Registration requirements may be different where you live. Check with your local DMV for the requirements for your trailer.