How to Register a Utility Trailer. When you get a utility trailer new or used, you usually need to register it with your area’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) so it’s legal to use on the road. While each area’s regulations may vary, they all need required paperwork, such as registration applications and titles. After collecting all of the forms you need, go to your local DMV office and pay for your registration. Once your trailer is registered, you can use it on public roads!
Collecting the Required Paperwork
- Get a bill of sale to prove that you have ownership of the trailer. The bill of sale is a form that specifies who you bought the trailer from, how old it is, the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the price you paid for it. If you bought your trailer new, save the receipt so you have proof that the trailer is yours. If you bought the trailer used, have the seller print out a bill of sale form so you can both fill it out.
- You can find online forms to make your own bill of sale as long as you have the seller for your the trailer sign it.
- Some locations require a notary official to sign the bill of sale. Check your local regulations to see if you need the bill of sale notarized.
- If you’re registering a homemade trailer, then you may need to include receipts for the parts you used to build it.
- Fill out a title application if you bought your trailer new. In addition to the bill of sale, you’ll need to apply for a title to prove ownership of your trailer. When you initially buy the trailer from a manufacturer or dealership, it won’t have a title, so you need to fill out an application. Locate the title application for your state online and fill out the forms completely. Follow all of the directions on the application so it’s filled out correctly.
- The dealership may also give you an application for your title when you buy your trailer.
- Title registrations rules may be different where you live. Check your state’s regulations to see if you need to have a title for your trailer.
- Have the seller sign over the title if you bought the trailer used. Transferring a trailer title is similar to transferring a car title. If you didn’t get the title when you originally bought the trailer, talk to the seller and ask them to sign over the title to you. Collect the title from them so you have proof of ownership and can register the trailer properly.
- Get a VIN verification if your trailer was registered out of the state. Many times if you’re registering a trailer that you brought from out of state, you need to get the VIN checked to proof you’re the owner. Look up VIN verification test centers in your state and take the trailer in to have it checked. Once it’s verified, the station will give you a form that you must take to the DMV within 30 days to register your trailer.
- Not all locations require you to verify the VIN on your trailer.
- If your VIN is not verified at the center, then you need to go to the DMV to get the trailer inspected.
- Complete the registration application for your state. Locate the registration form for your trailer online and fill it out entirely. Be sure to include information about any lien holders on the registration form if there are any. Confirm that all the information is correct and accurate before printing out the application.
- If you can’t access the registration application online, then go to your local DMV office to find a paper copy of the form.
- Get a safety inspection if your state requires one. Some places require safety inspections to confirm the trailer is road-safe. Take your trailer to an inspection center or a DMV office with an inspection lane to have it looked over. When the inspection is concluded, they will give you a sticker if you pass.
- If you don’t pass the safety inspection, the inspector will give you a list of what needs to change before you can register it.
- In order to get an inspection, you must have documents that show proof of ownership, such as the title or bill of sale.
Paying and Registering at the DMV
- Bring your forms and proof of identification with you to the DMV. When you go to the DMV to register your trailer, make sure you have all of the required forms with you. Keep them in a folder so they stay organized and so you don’t misplace them. Be sure you have some form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, so the DMV can confirm your identity.
- Pay the registration and title fees. After the DMV officials go through your forms, they will ask for payment for registration and titling fees. Make the full payment with cash, check, or a debit card to finalize your registration. Most times, trailers cost around $50-100 USD to register.
- Most DMV offices don’t accept credit cards.
- The cost of registration may be more expensive if your trailer is heavier than 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg).
- Check your state’s regulations to see if you need insurance after registering. After your trailer is registered, look online for the regulations in your area to see if you need to get additional insurance for it. If insurance is required, reach out to your insurance provider to see what policies are available and work best for your trailer. Make sure you meet any minimum insurance requirements if your state has them.
- You may be able to add the trailer onto your existing auto insurance if you plan on using your vehicle to tow the trailer.
- Renew your registration before it expires. Trailer registration usually lasts 1-2 years depending on where you live. When your registration is about to expire, fill out a renewal form and take it to your DMV office. Always keep your trailer registered or else it will be illegal to tow on public roads.
- Check the DMV website to see if you can renew your registration online.