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  • Special Vehicles in Hawaii

    Summary: How to Register Your Special Vehicle in Hawaii

    Vehicles other than standard cars in Hawaii have separate registration requirements requirements. Some, like ATVs, don't require registration at all, and others, like motorhomes, are registered in the same way you register your regular vehicle.

    If you own a vehicle other than a standard car in Hawaii, you may be required to register it even though you don't plan on operating it on public roads or highways. Even if you're not required to register it, each Hawaii county has rules and regulations that you must follow when operating these vehicles.

    All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) in Hawaii

    The state of Hawaii does not permit the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in any state parks or on public roads. Therefore, they don't require registration with the state.

    Currently, Hawaii also does not have any licensing regulations for ATVs.

    If you purchase an ATV, you should keep in mind that there are allotted spaces on the islands that allow off-road riding. Make sure to ask your dealer where these locations are so you don't violate any state laws. Presently, the law allows for citations if you are caught riding on a public road or beach in the state.

    Electric Carts/Global Electronic Mobile Cars

    The islands of Hawaii have plenty of environs that are conducive to what the state calls "neighborhood electric carts," or global electronic mobile (GEM) cars. The electric motor means the vehicles are emissions-free and perfectly quiet.

    These custom carts that come in all sorts of designs can zoom along the roads (some at speeds topping 20 MPH) and use the public roadways. Not the main drags of towns by any means, but you will see them in quite a few neighborhoods around the islands.

    Thus, the vehicles need to be registered. The process is much like registering a regular vehicle, including the need for a personal visit to your local Hawaii DMV office. There are, however, just a couple of differences.

    The first difference is that the Hawaii DMV requires you to sign an affidavit stating the vehicle meets the conditions of state's statute, which restricts:

    • Operation of the GEM at 25 MPH or faster.
    • Operation of the vehicle on any Hawaii highway with a speed limit above 35 MPH. (Crossing such a highway at an intersection is allowed.)

    The statute also requires that you have all restrictions printed and displayed in your GEM car so the driver has clear view of these at all times.

    The second difference is the type of license plates the electric vehicle receives.

    Custom-Built Cars

    If you have a custom-built vehicle in Hawaii, you will need to first have a vehicle identification number (VIN) assigned to it before you can register it. Contact your specific county's director of finance for more information.

    Once you have this, you will need to visit your local HI DMV office in person. You may be required to provide the following documents:

    • Your VIN.
    • A safety inspection certificate.
    • Bills of sale or invoices for all major components of your vehicle.
    • A certificate of title signed over to you.
    • A weight certificate.
    • Payment for applicable fees (see "Vehicle Registration Fees in Hawaii" above).

    Depending on your specific county, you may be required to provide additional documentation. Contact your local Hawaii DMV office for more information.

    Scooters and Mopeds in Hawaii

    Registration requirements for scooters, mopeds, and other motor-driven cycles varies by location. Contact your local Hawaii DMV office for information.

    RVs & Motorhomes

    The registration process for recreational vehicles (RVs) and motorhomes in Hawaii is much the same as registering your regular truck or car, and the steps are county-specific. The difference will typically lie in the registration fee you'll have to pay—because your RV is much heavier than other vehicles, your fee will likely be higher and based on the motorhome's size and weight. Visit our Hawaii Vehicle Registration page for steps on how to register in each county.

    Hawaii DMV Office Locations

    To learn about rules and regulations for special vehicles in your specific Hawaii county, contact the appropriate county office:

    Registering Other Vehicles

    If you have a standard car, boat, or motorcycle, you must have it registered with the Hawaii DMV. For more information, visit our following pages:

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