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  • Special Vehicles in New Mexico

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    With its beautiful scenery, New Mexico certainly lends itself to outdoor activities. It's no wonder, then, that vehicles such as snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are widely popular in the state.

    So, let's take a look a closer look at these vehicles.


    Let's begin by looking at how New Mexico legislators have defined the various categories.

    An off-highway motor vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle designed by the manufacturer for operation exclusively off the highway or road. Included in this category are the following:

    All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)

    An ATV is defined as a motor vehicle 50 inches or less in width, having an unladen dry weight of 1,000 pounds or less, traveling on 3 or more low-pressure tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator, and handlebar-type steering control.

    Off-Highway Motorcycle

    An off-highway motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle traveling on not more than 2 tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator, and a handlebar-type steering control.


    A snowmobile is defined as a motor vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice, steered and supported in whole or in part by skis, belts, cleats, runners, or low-pressure tires.

    Registration and Titling

    Off-highway motor vehicles need to be registered at a Motor Vehicle Division field office at a cost of $53 for the initial registration ($50 thereafter). (See our registration sections for details on the process.)

    Your registration will need to be renewed every 2 years.

    Off-highway vehicles also need to be titled using the same process outline in our Title Transfers section.

    Out of State Visitors

    A non-resident permit is required to ride on public lands. This applies to:

    • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
    • Dirt bikes
    • Off-road vehicles
    • Snowmobiles

    Purchase a permit at any New Mexico Department of Game and Fish office. You have the option of a permit valid for 2 years ($48) or permit valid for 90 days ($18).

    Riding Requirements

    If you're 18 years old or older, you're not required to have any special training or wear any specific items when driving these vehicles.

    All riders under 18 years old, however, must wear a helmet and eye gear protection. Those in this category must also have an off-highway motor vehicle safety permit from a state-approved organization.

    Riders under 18 years old must have an adult supervising their riding. However, this doesn't apply if you're at least 13 years old and have a valid motorcycle license or if you're at least 15 years old and have a valid driver's license, instructional permit, or provisional license.

    Additional Registration Information

    By the way, if you're interested in information about boats, recreational vehicles, or custom-built vehicles, we have separate sections covering these vehicles.

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