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  • Custom Built Car Registration in Delaware

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    Before custom-built cars, also called hot rods or street rods, can be registered, they must meet all the same vehicle safety requirements of other road-worthy vehicles. The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does have some special rules just for street rods.

    Required Equipment

    When it comes to custom-built cars, hot rods, street rods, or upgraded vehicles, you'll want to meet all the vehicle inspection requirements.

    So what is required of all vehicles in Delaware? Reasonable and customary safety features; depending on its age, your custom-built car should meet certain criteria:

    • Headlights and taillights.
    • Stop lights and turn signals.
    • Parking and license plate lights.
    • Brakes and emergency brake.
    • Windshield and windshield wipers.
    • Muffler.
    • Horn.
    • Seat belts.
    • Rearview mirror.

    Custom-built cars are different from antique vehicles. If your car is an antique or a restoration the requirements are usually for the equipment to work as it was originally intended. For example, many cars made before 1968 didn't have modern exhaust systems; exhaust emissions may exceed standards and still pass vehicle inspection.

    Prohibited Equipment

    For safety reasons, some equipment is regulated on custom-built cars and other vehicles:

    • Lift kits.
    • Tinted windows―allowed on back windows only.
    • Noise devices―no sirens or whistles.
    • Flashing lights―unless driving an emergency vehicle.
    • Red lights―allowed on back of vehicle only.

    The variations can be endless, especially if you are talented and creative when designing your custom vehicle. Before you spend a lot of time or money, contact the DMV office for material to make sure your equipment is allowed.

    Inspection, Titling, and Registration

    Getting license plates for your custom-built vehicle involves the regular steps of DMV processing:

    • Inspection.
    • Certificate of Title.
    • Registration and license plates.

    You can apply for special street rod license plates; be sure to ask at the registration desk and pay an extra fee.

    Many custom-built vehicles are made from several different cars and parts: frames, seats, engines, glass, and exhaust. To get a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), if your custom vehicle didn't come with a title, you'll need to visit the Delaware State Police Auto Theft Unit.

    The DMV wants to be sure that your vehicle is not stolen and will verify any serial numbers on the car. Any paperwork you have documenting the parts and repairs will help you to prove ownership.

    After the state police inspection you'll need to pass the regular vehicle inspection. At the inspection lane you'll get the Application for Certificate of Title.

    Registering your custom-built car will cost you some money; a registration specialist at any DMV office will tell you the exact fees. You'll also need to bring your title application, proof of liability insurance, and other identification documents such as proof of identification and proof of residency to the DMV.

    Additional Information

    Because of the custom nature of the custom-built car category, the DMV may have to accommodate each resident individually. If you have a lot of questions check with a registration specialist at any DMV office. You may also want to join a cruising club or hot rod association to learn more about how the DMV will handle your custom-built vehicle.

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