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  • Custom Built Car Registration in California

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    What is a Custom-Built Car?

    California law describes a custom-built car as one that's "built for private use, not for resale, and is not constructed by a licensed manufacturer or remanufacturer." Basically, a custom-built car is one you built yourself. These types of cars are usually built from kits, or parts taken from salvage vehicles and other cars.

    Restored cars, even if you manufactured parts, aren't custom-built. Modification to body, engine, vehicle systems, or the vehicle's interior also don't qualify.

    Because custom-built cars are not your typical vehicles, the registration process is a little more involved than with a regular car.

    Paperwork Tips

    When you register, you'll need documentation to prove you're the owner. Hang on to your invoices, manufacturers' certificates of origin, receipts, bills of sale, and junk receipts for the major components such as the frame, engine, body, and transmission.

    How to Register

    When you're ready to put your custom car on the road, make an appointment at your local DMV office. You'll need:

    • A completed Application for Title or Registration (Form REG 343).
    • A filled-out Statement of Construction (Form REG 5036).
    • Proof-of-ownership documents, like receipts and bills of sale. A motor vehicle bond will be required if proof of ownership cannot be obtained for parts valued at $5,000 or more.
    • A vehicle verification done by the California Highway Patrol. Make your DMV registration appointment before scheduling the CHP vehicle verification.
    • Official brake and light adjustment certificate, unless your custom vehicle is an off-highway vehicle or a trailer that weighs under 3,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
    • A smog check completed by a Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Referee Station. Because custom-built cars do not have a year-of-origin designated by a manufacturer, they must be inspected by a BAR Referee Station instead of a regular smog check facility.
      • Call (800) 622-7733 for an appointment.
    • Any and all titling, sales tax, and registration fees due.

    Registration Fees

    Motor vehicle registrations in California are based on your location and the age of the vehicle. If your custom car can be "dated"―that is, if there is a model year for the body and motor―you can use the DMV's handy registration fee calculator to estimate your fees based on how much you spent on the parts.

    True or False

    Doctors don’t work with the same urgency to save your life if they know you’re an organ donor.

    True False

    False

    Every doctors first priority is to save your life regardless of your organ donation status.

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