Special Vehicles in South Carolina
Registering a car?
It's a good time to check car insurance rates
Find the lowest rate among top providers.Page Overview
South Carolina Special Vehicles
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.
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.
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 must be registered in South Carolina. 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.
Vehicles Exempt from Registration
In addition to vehicles that you do not plan on operating on South Carolina highways, including ATVs and snowmobiles (see "SC ATVs and Snowmobiles" above), there are other exemptions to the rule.
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.
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 Register Car in South Carolina page.
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.Other Topics in This Section