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  • Special Vehicles in South Carolina

    SUMMARY: How to Register a Special Vehicle in South Carolina

    Other vehicle types must be registered with the South Carolina DMV, just as cars and trucks do. Some follow the same processes as regular vehicles, such as motorhomes and trailers. Others require additional steps; for instance, custom-built cars must first apply for a title before attempting to register. Find your vehicle type below for specifics.

    We cover how to register your car elsewhere on this site, but what about the myriad other types of vehicles? The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to register some types but not others.

    As general rule, you must register any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer if you plan on driving it on a South Carolina highway.

    Vehicles Exempt from Registration

    In addition to vehicles that you do not plan on operating on South Carolina highways, including those not allowed to drive on these roads (see "SC ATVs and Snowmobiles" below), there are other exemptions to registration in South Carolina.

    You do not need to register your vehicle in SC if:

    • You are not a resident of South Carolina and the vehicle you're driving is registered in another state.
    • You have a temporary permit to operate the vehicle (without requiring registration).
    • Your boat, farm, or utility trailer is less than 2,500 lbs. and is for private use only.

    For a complete list of registration exemptions, please visit the South Carolina Legislature website.

    South Carolina Golf Carts

    The South Carolina DMV requires that you register your golf cart and apply for a permit. It's a simple process; just visit your local SC DMV office and:

    • Submit a completed Golf Cart Permit Decal and Registration Application (Form GC-2).
    • Provide proof of your insurance for the golf cart.
    • Submit your SC driver's license number (and the driver's license number of all other drivers of the cart).
    • Pay the $5 fee.

    After the SC DMV has signed off on the form, keep it with you at all times while operating the golf cart. Your golf cart permit will be valid for 5 years at a time.

    Note that you are allowed to drive a golf cart outside of a golf course only if you do so during daylight hours. Limit your travel to secondary streets and highways, and remain within 4 miles of your residence or office.

    SC ATVs and Snowmobiles

    South Carolina does not require titles or registrations for any vehicle that does not use the highways or byways; this exemption includes all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles.

    Remember there are rules to operating ATVs including age limits and the time of day they can be used. For more information, visit the South Carolina Legislature website.

    Trailers in South Carolina

    Trailers must be registered in South Carolina; you will simply follow the same process as registering your standard vehicle (see our Car Registration page for steps and details). Visit your local DMV to complete an application and pay the appropriate fees. If you have a utility or camper trailer, the fee is $10. You can purchase a lifetime license plate for trailers for $87.

    Larger trailers―those with an empty weight more than 2,500 lbs.―require a $20 registration fee. The South Carolina DMV provides a complete list of fees on its website.

    Motorhome and RV Registration

    If you own a recreational vehicle (RV) or motorhome in South Carolina, it must be registered before you can drive it legally in the state. The process is the same as registering a regular car; however, fees may vary depending on your vehicle.

    For more information, see our guide to Register a Car in South Carolina.

    Custom-Built Cars

    If you have a custom-built car made from a kit, follow the same process outlined on our South Carolina Car Registration page. You'll need to provide the manufacturer's certificate of origin to the SCDMV when you apply.

    If you have a homemade car not built from a kit, you'll likely need to apply for a title certificate before you can have it registered. Visit your local SCDMV office and submit:

    Contact the South Carolina DMV to check you have everything you need before you visit the office.

    Once you have a certificate of title and been assigned a vehicle identification number (VIN), you can go ahead an have your vehicle registered just as you would register a standard car or truck.

    SC Scooters and Mopeds

    Scooters, mopeds, and similar vehicles may need to be registered in South Carolina depending on their engine size, speed, weight, and other factors.

    Contact the SC DMV at (803) 896-5000 or contact your local DMV office to determine the registration requirements of your vehicle.

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