Special Vehicles in California
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Off-highway motorized vehicles include:
- Trail bikes
- Mini bikes
- Racing motorcycles
- Dune buggies
- All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
Although these vehicles do not require the standard on-highway registration, they must display a DMV-issued identification plate.
If you have recently purchased an off-highway vehicle from a party that is not a licensed dealer, and the vehicle was never registered, you need to register the vehicle with the California DMV.
This simple process requires you to:
- Have the vehicle verification portion of the application completed by a DMV representative, law enforcement officer, or a licensed vehicle verifier.
- Provide a bill of sale, out-of-state title, or the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin as evidence of ownership.
- Hand over any on-highway plates registered to the vehicle.
- Pay the original off-highway application fee of $52 and the use tax.
The off-highway registration stays valid for up to two years; it expires on June 30 of its second year.
Renewal notices will be mailed out to the registered owners.
Keep in mind that you must pay a $23 penalty if the renewal is not submitted on time.
You do not have to register your vehicle as an off-highway vehicle if it already has a valid on-highway registration.
Visit the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreational Areas website for additional off-roading information.
Generally, golf carts do not need to be registered. However, if you plan to use it on a public road check with your local DMV office. Registration rules vary from county to county.
- Complete Form 343.
- Bring the form along with the trailer's title and previous registration to your local DMV office.
- Pay registration fee determined by the trailer's value.
Other vehicles will also require some form of registration:
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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- When Do You Need to Title and Register Your Trailer?
- ATV Title and Registration Requirements
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.