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Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles will have laws and regulations regarding trailers. 

In order to use your trailer on public roadways, you’ll need to satisfy any DMV requirements for inspections, VIN numbers, registration, and title paperwork. 

This page will provide you with an overview of the process of getting a VIN assigned to your homemade trailer and registering it. 

When you purchase a trailer from a manufacturer, you’ll typically have everything you need to get it titled and registered, including:

  • An MCO or title. 
  • A federally assigned VIN number. 

However, when you construct your own trailer, you may be using components from different trailers or you may be creating it from scratch. 

In this case, you’ll have to go through a few more steps to get registered and ready for use. 

Homemade trailers are typically classified as:

  • Trailers assembled from two or more used trailers.
  • Trailers made of fabricated or individually purchased parts.
  • Trailers that have had repairs or modifications to their:
    • Axles.
    • Body.
    • Fenders.
    • Frame. 
    • Suspension. 

If you have a trailer with a VIN, you can find more information about it using our free trailer VIN decoder.

Requirements for Homemade Trailers

In most states, trailers will require:

  • A VIN number
  • Registration paperwork.
  • A title, for trailers over a certain weight. 

If you’ve built your own trailer, you’ll need to:

  • Keep records and receipts of all the components that were used to build it.
  • Take photographs before, during, and after the build. 
  • Gather any other supporting documents, such as a bill of sale, MCO, or title. 

Whenever you buy a trailer from a private seller, you should make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork to buy a vehicle

A home-built trailer will need to meet all of the street-legal requirements for it to be licensed. This typically includes:

  • Working running lights and brake lights. 
  • Turn signals. 
  • A separate braking system, depending on the trailer weight and load capacity. 

How do I get a new VIN number for my trailer?

When you’re ready to get your trailer registered and titled, you’ll typically need to get a VIN assigned to it first. 

A new VIN number may also need to be assigned in instances where you:

  • Have combined parts from multiple trailers. 
  • Cannot locate or have lost the VIN plate. 
  • The Federal Certification Label is missing or damaged. 

The first step will be to prepare all the necessary registration paperwork and applications. You may need to present these in order to get a VIN assigned. 

Next, you’ll need to take the trailer to an authorized VIN inspection station. Depending on the state, this may be:

  • The local highway patrol station. 
  • A certified inspection mechanic. 
  • A notary public. 
  • The DMV office. 

At the inspection station, the certified inspector will check the vehicle for all the necessary requirements and complete the paperwork required to assign a new VIN. 

The newly assigned VIN along with your registration and title paperwork can then be submitted to your local DMV office. 

Fees may vary depending on the county you live in and the specifications of your homemade trailer. 

Contact your local DMV or visit the state DMV website for more information.