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  • Custom Built Car Registration in Alaska

    There's a new demand for customized, altered, and "repurposed" cars among motor vehicle enthusiasts. People with mechanical abilities are making vehicles for themselves and others using car kits, components from otherwise wrecked cars, or simply writing a plan and building the car from the ground up.

    Alaska has certain requirements for the registration and titling of custom, rebuilt or altered vehicles.

    The Alaska DMV defines a custom built vehicle as:

    • "...a vehicle that has been materially altered from the original constructed vehicle by the removal, addition, or substitution of essential parts. Essential parts are considered to be the chassis, body, and engine."

    Keep in mind that replacing an engine, transmission, or any other major component does not qualify a vehicle as a custom, so you may register and title it in the usual way.

    Registering VS. Titling

    Registering and titling a motor vehicle are two different things:

    • Registering a vehicle is, in effect, "signing it up" with the DMV. When you register, your license plates are issued and the vehicle is made legal for driving in Alaska. When you renew a registration, you are paying to ongoing fees each year that allow you legally drive the vehicle. Registration is then an ongoing, annual responsibility. Also, any I/M inspections are part of the registration process.
    • Titling a vehicle is the process of creating legal proof of your ownership of the vehicle. Titling is usually only one time, unless you change the legal status of the vehicle by adding an owner to the title (in case of marriage, etc) or removing an owner from the title of a vehicle. Titles can also change when a loan is paid and a lien is release; and, of course, when a vehicle is bought or sold.

    Registering a Custom Vehicle

    The secret to an easy registration and titling process for your custom or homebuilt vehicle is all in the paperwork. Keep every paper related to the original vehicle or vehicles, purchases of any large components, salvage certificates, junkyard receipts or any other documentation that can prove the origin of any major components.

    Here are the items and the steps you will need to complete in order to register and title your custom or homebuilt vehicle:

    • The title for the original vehicle from which the chassis of the custom was taken must be surrendered to the DMV when the custom vehicle is registered, unless it has already been surrendered.
    • Any and all receipts, bills of sale invoices for the major components or parts used in the building of the custom must be presented to the DMV.
    • The vehicle will need to be inspected by either the DMV or by a law enforcement officer or a representative of the Division of Motor Vehicles.
      • If you will need to bring the trailer to the DMV office for the inspection, you may apply for a one-time trip permit that will allow you to legally tow the trailer to the DMV office. The fee for a trip permit is $5.
    • A lien release if there is a lien recorded against the vehicle.
    • A completed and notarized Reconstructed Vehicle Affidavit (Form 829) completed by the person who did the actual reconstruction of the vehicle; submit that with the other paperwork outlined above.
    • Complete an Application for Title & Registration (Form 812).

    Vehicle Inspections

    Vehicle inspections are conducted in order to verify the vehicle identification number, and to confirm the identity of the vehicle; this helps stop "chop shop" operations and can assist in the recovery of stolen vehicles.

    Home-Built Trailers

    A home-built trailer is defined by Alaska as:

    "...a trailer which has been built by a person other than a manufacturer. A homebuilt trailer may be classed as either commercial or non-commercial."

    The process for titling and registering a home-built trailer is the same process as for registering a car or other motor vehicle; however, if your trailer is built from scratch, in lieu of the required reconstructed Vehicle Affidavit mentioned above, you will need to substitute a Homebuilt Trailer Affidavit (Form 819) to the DMV at the time of registration.

    Registration and Titling Fees

    Here are the registration fees for custom and home built motor vehicles and trailers:

    • Passenger Vehicles, Motor homes, truck and cargo vans (under 10,000 lbs): $100.
    • Trailers: $30.
    • Motorcycles: $60.

    For more information, please see our section on Titling and Registration.

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