Custom Built Car Registration in Texas
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So you've spent years in that old barn on your Texas ranch tinkering away at the car that will change America―or not.
In any case, despite your best efforts to work on it forever, it's now finished. Next step? Time to try to get it titled and registered with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) Vehicle Titles and Registration Division.
Custom-built or home-built vehicles are subject to special registration requirements. First off, they'll need a safety inspection by a licensed safety inspection shop. Your title application must include the Standard of Safety Statement (Form VTR-470), signed by an official inspector. The inspector will make sure your vehicle has all the necessary safety equipment, such as the correct mirrors, adequate brakes, headlights, turn signals, seat belts, and so forth.
When looking for an inspection station, try to choose one that has inspected custom-built vehicles before (in other words, they have experience determining whether such unique vehicles are safe). What are you up against? You can look up a detailed list of the components that will be verified during a standard vehicle safety inspection.
You may need the state to issue your creation a vehicle identification number, or VIN. Be prepared to hand over all receipts or bills of sale for all components that you used to assemble the vehicle (this means keeping diligent records for the duration of your project). This is partly so the state can make sure neither the chassis nor any of the parts were stolen, and also to help determine the value of the vehicle.
Salvage vehicles are a special class in themselves. The have their own titling and registration process, which you'll want to be aware of before you attempt to repair a salvage vehicle. Detailed information is available in the TxDMV's 171-page Salvage Dealer and Motor Vehicle Information publication.
Antique vehicles should be registered like newer cars, but they may be partially exempt from the liability insurance requirement. To apply for this exemption, complete the Affidavit Relating to Mandatory Liability Insurance Exemption for Certain Antique Vehicles.
Antique vehicles are also generally exempt from emissions testing.
- Prescribed Form for Statement of Fact for Ownership of Homemade/Shopmade Trailer, Semitrailer, or Travel Trailer: To be filled out if you built your own trailer or camper.
- Statement of Fact of Ownership for Motorcycle Designed and Equipped as an "Off-Highway" Vehicle: Needed to get a title for an off-road motorcycle you've owned since 1975 or longer.
- Application for a Certified Copy of a Texas Nonrepairable or Salvage Vehicle Title: If you've lost the title for your junker.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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