Register Your Ride: How to Register a Custom-Built Car

By: Kat Saks July 31, 2012
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A custom-built car is a source of pride. When you've invested the time, money, and energy into building a custom car, you want to ensure there's no question as to who owns it.

As with any vehicle, kit cars must be registered through your state motor vehicle agency to prove ownership. But, registering a custom-built car isn't quite as straightforward as a typical car registration.

Not to worry! Read on to find out what documents you'll need to register your ride.

Documents to Register Your Custom-Built Vehicle

Your DMV or other state motor vehicle registration agency may require any of the following documents to prove your ownership:

  • A completed application for title or registration.
  • A completed statement of construction.
  • Proof of a vehicle safety inspection, also known as a vehicle verification. Typically, these are completed by your state's highway patrol or a licensed safety inspector.
  • A certificate of origin.
  • A confirmed vehicle identification number.
  • An official brake and light adjustment certificate.
  • An emissions test certificate. Custom-built cars often require a different type of smog check than standard vehicles. Consult your state's rules and regulations.
  • Photographs of your kit car and its creation.
  • Proof of purchase for all major parts purchased for the vehicle. This can include invoices, manufacturers' certificates of origin, receipts, bills of sale, and even junk receipts. Some states require a motor vehicle bond if you cannot provide proof of ownership for parts valued at or above $5,000.

Consult with state motor vehicle office to ensure you provide all the paperwork necessary for your state. Once you register your kit car, you'll be ready to ride with pride.

Do you own a custom-built vehicle? What was your experience with custom-built car registration? Tell us in the comments section below.

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