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  • Custom Built Car Registration in West Virginia

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    Custom-Built Car Registration in West Virginia

    In West Virginia, registering your custom-built car can be the same as registering any other vehicle, or it can be a much more tedious process―it all depends on where the car was built. The state has separate classifications for specially constructed vehicles and reconstructed vehicles:

    • A specially constructed vehicle includes all vehicles that are not originally constructed under a particular, make or model (from a "generally recognized" car manufacturer) and not substantially modified from its original design.
    • A reconstructed vehicle includes all vehicle types that have significant differences from its original design due to the removal, substitution or addition of "essential parts." These parts can either be used or new.

    The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) defines "essential parts" as any critical part of the body or chassis that would mask the make, model, or overall appearance of the vehicle after their removal, substitution or modification.

    Continue reading this page to find out exactly how to register your custom (specially constructed or reconstructed) vehicle in WV.

    Built Out of State

    If your car was custom-built out of state, there is some positive news for you. You'll only need to follow the same registration process as you would for any other vehicle (submitting completed and all applicable fees to your local DMV office). For more information, you can read our page about Car Registration in WV.

    When you're registering a specially constructed, reconstructed vehicle from another state, you will be required to surrender to the WV DMV all registration (plates included) and certificates of title when you register and title the vehicle in West Virginia.

    Built In-State

    However, if you custom-built the car in West Virginia, you'll need to take a few more steps. Before you can register and title the car at the DMV, you're required to visit your local West Virginia State Police detachment with a Verification of Vehicle Identification No. (Form DMV-18). The officer who assists you will verify that there is no VIN already assigned to the vehicle.

    This extra step also ensures that neither the car nor its parts have been stolen. The DMV suggests keeping receipts or other records of purchase to show the officer who assists you, just in case.

    Note that regardless of where the car was built, you'll need to follow the same steps as outlined in our Car Registration section.

    WV State Vehicle Inspections

    Every 12 months, the West Virginia DMV requires you to take your vehicle through a routine safety inspection. You can have your vehicle inspected at any licensed official inspection station of the West Virginia State Police. Be sure have your insurance certificate and a valid registration card at the time of your inspection.

    Once your vehicle gets through the inspection with a passing grade, your inspector will place a sticker on your windshield. Remember, you can be cited for driving your vehicle without the inspection sticker.

    If you happen to be a new resident of West Virginia, the DMV gives you 10 days from the date you process your vehicle title to complete a WV vehicle inspection. This requirement also applies to cases where you're purchasing a vehicle outside of West Virginia or when you acquire a vehicle in West Virginia.

    NOTE: Since West Virginia has reciprocity with the following states, an out-of-state inspection sticker will be valid in West Virginia until it expires:

    • Louisiana.
    • Mississippi.
    • Missouri.
    • New Hampshire.
    • New York.
    • Oklahoma.
    • Texas.
    • Utah.
    • Wyoming.

    You can contact the WV State Police Motor Vehicle Safety Program for more details about inspecting your vehicle or visit our Smog Check & Inspections page.