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  • Special Vehicles in Michigan

    Many Michigan residents either own or are interested in buying a vehicle other than a car or motorcycle. So, let's take a look at some of these other types of transportation and fun.

    Specifically, we'll examine how to register and title snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-road vehicles (ORVs), and trailers.

    Snowmobiles

    With all the snow that falls in Michigan, snowmobiles are popular items. However, unless you're planning on operating your snowmobile strictly on private property or to ice fish, you'll need to register it. (There are also a few unique exceptions.)

    It's easy to register a snowmobile in Michigan. Just go to a Secretary of State branch office and basically follow the same procedure as registering a car.

    Place the registration decal on the front of the vehicle.

    Snowmobile Titles

    Snowmobile owners catch a break here, as titles are not required. When you want to transfer ownership, just fill out the back of the registration. If you can't find the registration, complete a bill of sale instead.

    Snowmobile Permits

    You'll also need to obtain a snowmobile trail permit. These permits are good for 1 year, and will expire on September 30. The permit sticker should be placed above the headlight .

    Non-residents planning on using their snowmobiles on Michigan's public lands also need to have the permit.

    Trail permits are available through the Department of Natural Resource (DNR), the Michigan Snowmobile Association, or one of the DNR full-service customer service centers.

    Money from the sale of the permits is used for the snowmobile trails.

    Off-Road Vehicles and All-Terrain Vehicles

    Let's start with the basics: According to Michigan lawmakers, ORVs and ATVs are motor vehicles that can be ridden over land, snow, and other terrain without the need of a road or trail. However, this does not mean snowmobiles; construction, farming, or logging vehicles used for work purposes; and fire, emergency, military, and police vehicles.

    ORV and ATV Titles

    While snowmobiles need to be registered but not titled, the opposite is true for ORVS and ATVs. Just to keep you on your toes.

    The title procedure for these vehicles is basically the same as it is for cars, so simply follow the same guidelines.

    ORV and ATV Permits

    All ORVs/ATVS need to have an annual permit, issued by the DNR, unless the vehicle will be used exclusively on private property.

    Non-residents using their ATVs/ORVs on the state's public land must also have the permit.

    The permits are available through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), select hunting/fishing license agents or dealers, DNR full-service customer service centers, and by mail through:

    • Michigan Department of Natural Resources
    • Grants, Contracts, and Customer Systems
    • P.O. Box 30181
    • Lansing, MI 48909

    Be sure to place the permit decal in the proper spot.

    Want to know more about Michigan ATV/ORV rules and procedures? Check out The Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws.

    Trailers

    Trailer coaches and trailers need to be titled and registered, just like a car.

    Registration fees vary depending on the vehicle's weight, while the title fee is $15.

    Michigan RVs and Motorhomes

    If you own a recreational vehicle (RV) or motorhome in Michigan, you must have it registered with the MI SOS before you can drive it legally in the state. You can follow the steps outlined on our Register Car in Michigan page. Your registration fee will vary depending on your vehicle.

    If you need to apply for a certificate of title, it will cost you:

    • $90 for an original.
    • $15 for a corrected title.
    • $15 for a duplicate or replacement.

    MI Mopeds and Scooters

    A vehicle is considered a moped in Michigan if it:

    • Has an engine of 100 cc or less.
    • Does not exceed 30 mph on flat ground.
    • Has an automatic transmission.

    Mopeds must be registered just like any other vehicle, though they must meet equipment requirements. To operate a moped, you must have a driver's license. If you are 15 years old, you can get a moped license.

    A scooter may be considered a moped or a motorcycle depending on its engine size and speed. A scooter is subject to the registration and licensing requirements of mopeds or motorcycles, depending on the scooter's classification.

    For more information, see our page Scooters, Mopeds, Etc. in Michigan. If your vehicle is classed as a motorcycle, see our Motorcycle Registration in Michigan page.

    Other Vehicles

    If you're interested in information about boats, recreational vehicles,
    or custom-built vehicles, we have separate sections covering these areas.

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