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kalaniwavo 07-06-2012 04:43 AM

Trailer Reg in California
I just bought an old cat trailer from a guy in Oregon, which doesn't require trailers to be titled or registered so it came with no paperwork except the bill of sale which included his address and the usual info. The trailer has never been titled or been registered as far as anyone knows. Took it to the DMV here in California and they gave me 2 options...

Have the state of Oregon write an official letter saying the boat has never been registered or titled in Oregon
have the previous owner title the trailer in his name and then transfer the title to me.

Both seem ridiculous... I can't even find a VIN on the trailer to reference if I was to call the Oregon DMV. Anyone know how I can get around this? I know I'm not the first guy to have a "paperless" trailer in California


joethecobbler 07-06-2012 05:07 AM

Re: Trailer Reg in California
Call it a home built and title it as such. w/ no vin # it wont be hard to claim .

merc2dogs 07-06-2012 12:11 PM

Re: Trailer Reg in California
Agree with taking the home-built registration route.

It is often the easiest and fastest way to get it titled. Check requirements though before going that route though. Some states have a mile long list of requirements that need to be met before it can be registered. Some require nothing more than the trailer's empty weight, others require an engineer to do a design analysis and rate it's weight capacity.

Many on-line sites are in the business of titling vehicles/trailers/boats, the way many works is you transfer ownership to them, they title it, then sell it back to you for their fee. most are reasonable, some make you think you're in the wrong business.

sometimes it depends on who you talk to in the DMV, and when you talk to them too. Most often someone in the office knows exactly how to get what you need to do done quickly.

Skipper Jer 07-06-2012 12:50 PM

Re: Trailer Reg in California
"Have the state of Oregon write an official letter saying the boat has never been registered or titled in Oregon" and how would the state of Oregon know this since the trailer has no vin number? They have no way of tracing it other than the owners name and even then maybe it was registered under a previous owners name. Egads, bureaucrats never cease to amaze me. I faced a similar situation when I purchased our boat and trailer. Both were never titled or registered and to top it off I purchased them in New York and live in Tennessee. Thankfully we have some common sense people in the DMV here. I provided them the bill of sale (notarized) and a big check for taxes and fees. They gave be back some papers and a metal plate. Deal was done. Prior to this I had done many hours of research on the net concerning the laws and procedure to register and title the items. I suggest you research it, find the applicable code covering registering and obtaining a title , make a copy then when you try again ask the clerk if this (referring to the law you found that favors you) is applicable. Ask them, never tell them.

kalaniwavo 07-06-2012 02:03 PM

Re: Trailer Reg in California
Thanks! I'll look into the home built requirements. I knew I wasn't talking to the right person when I got the thousand mile stare and then she pulled out the manual which had to be a thousand pages thick.

Geoff54 07-06-2012 02:52 PM

Re: Trailer Reg in California
I have titled several Special Construction vehicles in CA including a trailer. This was a few years ago but this is how it used to work and probably still does.

You need a receipt for an unregistered vehicle (trailer) or receipts for the parts if you built it yourself. Tell DMV that you need to register a Special Construction trailer. DMV should review the receipt and then give you a referral to CHP. You call CHP and find out who your nearest Inspection Officer is and then call him and make an appointment. You take the trailer to the appointment, he takes the paper from DMV, inspects the trailer (or more commonly doesn't really), attaches a Special Construction VIN sticker to the trailer and gives you a piece of paper for DMV. You go back to DMV with the paper from CHP and they title the trailer.

It rarely goes this smoothly and sometimes takes more than one visit to connect with the Inspection Officer. I got the impression that it was a chore that they would rather not be bothered with.

Good Luck

Crepitus 07-10-2012 03:13 AM

Re: Trailer Reg in California
I live in WA, bought a boat and trailer that was registered in OR. The boat was no prob (just bring money) DMV wanted me to jump through a bunch of hoops for the trailer, aint gonna do it. I'm driving on expired tabs, see how it goes.

sww914 07-10-2012 03:44 AM

Re: Trailer Reg in California
I registered a smallish, old boat trailer in Ca last year with no papers at all. I told them that it had been abandoned on my uncle's farm for at least 10 years and that he gave it to me. It went pretty smoothly because a vehicle gifted from a relative is less of a hassle and one that isn't coming from out of state is less of a hassle. Talk to your uncles and see if maybe they have a cat trailer exactly like yours sitting around that you can have.

overbored 07-10-2012 03:48 AM

Re: Trailer Reg in California
In Oregon you do not have to register a boat trailer if it weights under 1800 lbs. but you can register one if you want if it weights under 8000 lbs as a light trailer. I would try the DMV again untill you get someone that knows the Oregon laws and knows the proper precedure. you can't be the first one

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