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  • Custom Built Car Registration in Michigan

    Custom-Built Car Registration in Michigan

    There's something almost magical about building your own transportation—whether it uses some old rollerblade wheels, a worn-out lawnmower engine, and the body of a VW, or comes in a kit with everything included. It's been a shade-tree mechanic's rite of passage for decades. However, you'll still need to go through the process of registering and titling your assembled vehicle.

    Keep reading this page to find out exactly how to register and title your custom vehicle in Michigan.

    What Are Assembled Vehicles?

    In Michigan an assembled vehicle requires special titling.

    Assembled vehicles fit into the following categories:

    • Homemade vehicles, which are those assembled―generally by individuals rather than manufacturers or shops―from new or used materials.
    • Kit cars—these often come complete with engine, frame, and body and simply need to be assembled―again, usually by an individual or group of private owners.
    • Vehicles that are significantly altered or modified from a manufacturer's original design, like a VW bug turned into a dune buggy.
    • Vehicles that have had the body replaced with the body of a different vehicle.

    How Do I Title My New Wheels?

    To title your assembled vehicle in Michigan, you'll need to:

    • Have a Vehicle Number/On-Road Equipment Inspection (Form TR-54) completed by a police officer.
      • The office will check that all of the vehicle equipment meets the requirements for on-road registration.
    • Bring all your ownership documents for the major pieces of your vehicle to a Secretary of State branch office. (See "IMPORTANT NOTE" below.) These documents include:
      • Bills of sale.
      • Titles.
      • A release form from a law enforcement agency for the engine, transmission, various body parts, and frame.
    • Provide information that summarizes the entire timeline of your project build, such as:
      • A description of the vehicle and its parts.
      • Who assembled it and when it was put together.
      • Where it was built or reconstructed.
      • Any other detailed information that will help.

    All assembled vehicles require a state-assigned vehicle identification number (VIN) and a $10 fee. You will also be responsible for paying sales taxes on all related parts, unless you paid them at the time of your purchase.

    After you complete the process, you should allow up to approximately 8 weeks for processing your new title and special vehicle identification number. If you happen to need to drive your assembled vehicle in the meantime, you can purchase a temporary permit for either 30 days or 60 days.

    For more nformation on the process of registering your vehicle, you can read our page about Car Registration.


    The ownership documents you submit to the Michigan Secretary of State must account for the following parts:

    • Motor vehicle: Engine, transmission, frame/axles, body (all doors, front and rear clips).
    • Motorcycle: Engine, frame, wheels, front assembly (including the fork), and seat.
    • Titled trailer or trailer coach: The frame axle and wheels.

    License Plates for Your Assembled Vehicle

    You will be unable to receive a license plate until the Regulatory Monitoring Division actually places an assigned VIN sticker on your vehicle. They'll also be releasing the new title to you.

    Please note, you will be contacted by the Regulatory Monitoring Division to setup an appointment. You'll likely meet at either a Secretary of State branch office or a local State Police Post. If you cannot wait for the assigned VIN sticker, you may purchase a temporary permit to drive your assembled vehicle in the interim.

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