How to Register Trailers: A Simple and Complete Guide
Trailer Registration: What You Should Know
Except for park trailers and trailer coaches, which are exempt from PTI and must be registered annually, all trailers must be registered under the permanent trailer identification (PTI) scheme. Because of their length, width, and size, fifth-wheel trailers and camp trailers are classified as trailer coaches (not PTI) or camp trailers (PTI).
California doesn’t require tow/auxiliary dollies to be registered. You can, however, register as a PTI if you choose. Remove and surrender any existing license plate if you don’t register as a PTI.
While PTI registration for tow/auxiliary dollies is optional in California, you may want to do so if you plan to tow it out of state, as registration regulations in other jurisdictions differ.
Complete and submit the following forms to register a permanent trailer:
Out-of-state title(s), Application for Registration of New Vehicle (REG 397), manufacturer’s statement of origin, and so on. If you don’t submit a REG 397, you’ll also need:
Statement of Facts (REG 256) from declaring the trailer’s unladen weight (no weight certificate).
Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Application and Certification (REG 4017) if there is no legal owner and you would like a paper Certificate of Title (complete Side A and include a PTI title fee). If you don’t apply for a Certificate of Title, the DMV will just give you a PTI card and keep a computerized record of your ownership.
Fees for trailers
For the first registration and every five years for renewal, a PTI service fee is payable. Original registration is required to obtain a PTI card.
Renewal of PTI
You will receive a PTI service charge notice about 60 days before your registration expires. You will receive a payment acknowledgment notice once the payment has been received. A new sticker, however, will not be provided.
License Plates from PTI
Owners can choose to keep their old California trailer license plate and receive a PTI sticker, or they can receive a PTI license plate (no sticker).
PTI trailers can keep or seek personalized and special interest license plates. Any outstanding special plate fees will be included in the renewal fees.