Frequently Asked Questions

Most Commonly Asked Questions

What are the definitions of GVW and GCW?

The declared GVW is the weight that matches the vehicle’s entire unladen weight plus the biggest load that will be hauled.

The entire unladen weight of the combination of vehicles (motor vehicle and trailer) plus the heaviest load that will be conveyed by that combination is referred to as the declared CGW.

You must declare the total CGW of the combination of vehicles if you tow a trailer or other vehicle, such as a truck filled with vegetables hauling a trailer loaded with bricks.

Owners/lessees of commercial motor vehicles must declare the GVW/CGW when the vehicle:

  • It was initially registered in the state of California (original).
  • Is it bought? (new or used).
  • The operating weight fluctuates.

If the claimed GVW/CGW rose after it was reported to DMV, an additional CVRA charge is needed for the remainder of the registration year, or partial year registration (PYR) period, on the higher weight range. CVRA fees must be paid before the vehicle can operate at the higher weight.

The reduced weight is added to the vehicle record and a new registration card is issued if the claimed GVW/CGW decreases after it was reported to DMV. There will be no refunds.

Unless the operational weight of vehicles registered as PYR changes, the operating weight does not need to be stated at each renewal.

What must I do if I make changes to the body of a registered commercial vehicle?

DMV must be notified of any changes or additions to a registered used commercial vehicle that cause the vehicle to fall into a new weight classification. If the revised vehicle falls into a higher weight class, additional weight fees are needed on the first operation after the alteration/addition. When a vehicle is adjusted and falls into a lower weight class, the weight costs paid cannot be refunded.

Learn more about reporting commercial vehicle changes

I made a modification to my vehicle that necessitates its registration as a commercial vehicle. How do I change my license plates from auto to commercial?

Vehicles that can be registered with auto or commercial license plates include:

  • Body type code (BTC) PM for pickup trucks with a camper permanently attached.
  • Refer to the Station Wagons and Multipurpose Vehicles sections of this chapter for more information on station wagons.
  • Passenger-type cars that carry people for a fee.

You’ll need commercial license plates if you change the vehicle’s body or utilize it in a way that requires it to be registered as a commercial vehicle.

Learn how to convert from auto to commercial license plates