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  • Special Vehicles in Minnesota

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    Snowmobiles and Off-Highway Vehicles

    The Department of Natural Resources is in charge of enforcing rules and regulations regarding snowmobiles and off-highway vehicles, but you still may need to visit your local DVS office for some tasks.

    Snowmobiles

    Snowmobiles need to be registered at a Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) location, or at:

    • DNR License Bureau
    • 500 Lafayette Road
    • St. Paul, MN 55155

    If you're buying from a dealer, the dealer should handle the registration.

    Both new registrations and renewals for non-trail use cost $48.50, and are good for 3 years. You may renew at the same locations, or online. Be sure to affix your registration decal in the proper spot.

    Snowmobiles do not need to be titled.

    Trail Stickers

    Those using a snowmobile on state or grant-in-aid trails must have a state trail sticker. You can purchase this with your registration for $78.50. The registration and sticker is good for 3 years. If you wish to purchase a sticker yearly or have a snowmobile not registered in MN the cost $36. There are several methods for purchasing the sticker. The stickers are good for each snowmobiling season, running from November 1-April 30.

    Safety Certificates

    To legally operate a snowmobile in the state, residents born after December 31, 1976 will need to either have a snowmobile safety certificate, or a safety certificate indicator on their driver's license. Successfully complete a snowmobile safety course to get the certificate.

    However, there are some exceptions to this rule, as listed in the state's snowmobiling guide. Both the state's snowmobiling guide and the DNR site are loaded with information concerning proper snowmobile use, safety, and state regulations.

    Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs)

    In Minnesota, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs), and off-road vehicles (ORVs) all fall under the heading of off-highway vehicles. Let's take a quick look at how Minnesota lawmakers define these different vehicles.

    ATVs

    Defined as a motorized, flotation-tired vehicles with between 3 to 6 tires that are low-pressure, ATVs have a 1,000 cc engine displacement (or less). If the vehicle weighs under 1,000 pounds, it's labeled a Class 1 ATV. If it's between 1,000 pounds and 1,800 pounds, it's a Class 2 ATV. If it's over that weight, the vehicle is considered to be an ORV.

    OHMs

    These are motorized, off-highway vehicles traveling on 2 wheels, with a seat or saddlebag meant to be straddled by the driver and a handlebar for steering.

    A motorcycle may be considered legal for highway use, while also being classified as an OHM, if used in this manner on rough terrain or trails.

    ORVs

    These are motorized, recreational vehicles that can be used on cross-country travel on natural terrain. While four-wheel drive vehicles are in this category, snowmobiles are not.

    Registration

    OHVs need to be registered at a Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) location, or at:

    • DNR License Bureau
    • 500 Lafayette Road
    • St. Paul, MN 55155

    If you're buying from a dealer, your registration should be handled by the dealer.

    You may renew at the same locations, or online. Be sure to affix your registration decal in the proper spot.

    The DNR provides a complete OHV fee schedule.

    OHVs do not need to be titled.

    OHVs may be driven on public land, trails, and frozen public waters that permit these vehicles, and on private land with the permission of the landowner.

    The state provides a wealth of information about OHVs, including safety procedures and operating rules, in its OHV section. Also check out the DNR site for more information.

    Trailers

    Registering your trailer depends on weight:

    • Under 3,000 pounds―Requires a permanent registration decal that fits on the tongue of the trailer.
    • Trailers larger than 3,000 pounds require plates and must be renewed annually. Fees are based on weight.

      Contact your deputy registrar for help in determining exact fees.

    Recreational Vehicles and Motorhomes

    If you have a motorhome or recreational vehicle, you can follow the steps on our Register Car in Minnesota page to have it registered and ready to take out for a spin.

    MN Scooter and Moped Registration

    Motor scooters and mopeds MUST be registered in Minnesota, just like you'd register a car.

    The state's definitions of each vehicle type can help you determine how your motor-driven cycle is classified:

    • A motor scooter is not defined by MN state law, but it is characterized by:
      • A platform for your feet.
      • A weight up to 200 lbs.
      • Engine size up to 145 cc.
      • A maximum speed below 60 MPH.
    • A moped is defined as a bicycle with:
      • An electric or gas-powered engine no more than 50 cc and 2 hp.
      • A maximum speed of 30 MPH.

    NOTE: Vehicles that exceed these limits are classified and registered as motorcycles.

    Motorized foot scooters DO NOT have to be registered. They are defined by law as vehicles that can be operated while standing or seated, and having:
    • Handlebars.
    • A motor or engine.
    • A wheel diameter up to 10 inches.
    • A top speed of 15 MPH.

    For more details, see our page on scooters and mopeds in Minnesota.