Register a Utility Trailer

Requirements for registering a utility trailer will vary depending on where you reside. Each jurisdiction sets their own guidelines and laws relative to the steps involved in registering a utility trailer. General regulations state that you must register a utility trailer since you will be using it to securely tow an item such as a boat, motorcycle or snow mobile behind your vehicle when you are driving on the open road. There are some basic guidelines to follow to make the process easier and more streamlined.


  1. Conduct some initial research by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles where you live. Visit their website if one is available to learn more about the process. If your area does not have a branch website then contact them directly or visit the office on-site.
  2. Prepare for the registration of your utility trailer by bringing all necessary forms of identification such as a driver's license with you before you make your trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Other acceptable forms of identification may include a valid photo identification card or a military identification card.
  3. Realize that a basic requirement for registering a utility trailer is to have an official bill of sale providing proof that you are the owner. Types of information contained on the bill of sale include the year, make and body style in addition to the weight and identification number. Information about the buyer and seller should also be present.
  4. Know that you will also need to provide a certificate of title when registering a utility trailer. If you recently purchased the utility trailer and do not have the certificate of title then you must follow the procedures set forth by your Department of Motor Vehicles for obtaining one.
  5. Understand that you may need to have the utility trailer examined and submit it to a safety inspection. Most branch locations for the Department of Motor Vehicles have safety inspection stations on-site.
    • Know that if your utility trailer requires a safety inspection that you may be provided with a temporary registration. The length of the temporary registration and the fee is determined by your region's Department of Motor Vehicles.
  6. Complete the application form for registering a utility trailer and pay the required fees. The type of fees may vary depending on your location and include a registration fee, title fee, safety plate fee and administrative fee, as well as sales tax if your region charges one.
  7. Realize that the length of the registration for your utility trailer will vary depending upon the laws and regulations set forth by your region's Department of Motor Vehicles. As an example, the registration period for utility trailers within the United States is generally 2 years.
  8. Make sure that you provide adequate insurance for your utility trailer and anything that you place on it, such as a boat, when towing and driving on the open road. You need to provide protection for both the utility trailer and anything that it tows in case of an accident. After you have completed the application process and have your utility trailer registered, properly attach the license plate.

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