How to License a Trailer in California

by Kristle Jones
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camping,trailer image by Greg Pickens from

Whether you have recently purchased a trailer or are new to the state, if you live in California, you need to register and license your trailer. It is a fairly simple process to license a trailer in California after you have completed the registration papers and paid all the fees. You can even get personalized or special interest plates for your trailer.

Step 1

Register your trailer with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must register your trailer in California within 10 days of acquiring it. If the trailer was purchased from a dealer, the dealer will handle the registration and transfer of title for you. However, if the trailer was purchased from a private seller, you will need to contact the DMV to make an appointment for registration. According to the DMV, to register your trailer, you will need: a completed application for title/registration, proof of ownership, bill of sale, smog certification (if the trailer is an RV or motorhome), transfer fee, registration fee, tax and vehicle license fees.

Step 2

Report a change of address to DMV if you already own a trailer and are a new California resident. You can use the change of address (DMV Form 14) form located on the DMV website to notify DMV of your new address within 10 days of the move.

Step 3

Request a license plate. You need to determine what type of license plate your trailer needs. You can obtain a special interest or personalized license plate if you want a specific word or phrase displayed on your license plate. A permanent trailer identification license plate is also available for permanently parked trailers. The standard trailer license plate is also available.

Step 4

Affix the new license plates to your trailer. Once your license plates have arrived in the mail (usually in about eight weeks), you need to put them on your trailer immediately.

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