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Registration is required for all non-farm trailers operating on public highways. Registration and titling requirements vary according to trailer type and weight. Most utility trailers fall into two categories: Manufactured (built by a trailer manufacturer) or homemade (built by an individual in their garage or shop). In addition, trailers are categorized by gross weights (the trailer weight plus the weight it can carry) under and over 4,000 lbs.

Determine the type of trailer you have

Start by looking on the trailer tongue. This is where you are most likely to find the manufacturer’s name, which confirms you have a manufactured trailer. If you do not know whether the trailer is manufactured or homemade, it must be inspected by an auto theft law enforcement officer. To find the nearest inspection location with an auto theft law enforcement officer, contact your local county tax assessor-collector office or TxDMV Regional Service Center.

Manufactured Trailers

If your manufactured trailer's gross weight exceeds 4,000 lbs., it must be titled. Submit the following documents to your county tax assessor-collector office:

  • Evidence of ownership:
    • New trailer: Manufacturer Certificate of Origin*, or
    • Used trailer over 4,000 lbs. gross weight: Certificate of Title, or
    • Used trailer less than or equal to 4,000 lbs. gross weight: Bill of Sale + Registration Receipt
  • A completed Form 130-U,
    Form 130-U
  • Applicable fees

Note: A manufactured trailer with missing paperwork cannot be registered as a homemade trailer.

* The Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) is the document that allows you to register and/or title a new trailer. This is your trailer's "birth certificate," showing its unique identification information. A trailer manufacturer is required to provide a MCO to dealers or purchasers for every vehicle it manufactures.

Homemade Trailers

If your homemade trailer's gross weight exceeds 4,000 pounds, it must be titled. Submit the following documents to your county tax assessor-collector office:

Vehicle Identification Number

Homemade trailers under 4,000 lbs. gross weight are not required to have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) unless they are going to be titled. However, we encourage you to obtain one because we place the VIN in the state motor vehicle database, which will help identify the trailer should it ever be stolen. Another advantage is you will now be able to use our online services (such as registration renewal in participating counties, or change of address notification). To acquire a VIN for your homemade trailer, you must first have the trailer inspected by an auto theft law enforcement officer. For more information on how to obtain a VIN, contact your regional service center.

Farm Trailers

A farmer or rancher who owns a farm trailer or farm semitrailer may obtain a distinguishing Farm Trailer license plate for a $5 fee under certain conditions provided the trailer/semitrailer only transports:

  • Agricultural products,
  • Livestock,
  • Farm Supplies, or
  • Participates in equine activities or livestock shows.

Titling and registration requirements for farm trailers vary. For information about all required documentation and fees, contact your county tax assessor-collector office. 

VTR-52-A Application for Farm Trailer/Semitrailer, Farm Truck, or Farm Truck Tractor License Plates

Farm Trailers 4,000 lbs. or less
  • Exempt from title and registration requirements if primarily used as a farm vehicle.
  • Temporary additional weight receipts issued for hauling seasonal agricultural products do not affect a semitrailer's gross weight and status for titling purposes.
Farm Trailers in excess of 4,000 lbs. and no more than 34,000 lbs.
  • Exempt from title requirements.
  • Qualify for Farm Trailer license plate.
  • May be titled at the owner's request by submitting the application with appropriate fee.
Trailers in excess of 34,000 lbs.
  • Must be titled and registered with Trailer license plates.
  • Do not qualify for Farm Trailer license plates.

More Information

Trailers with a gross weight exceeding 4,500 lbs. must pass an annual safety inspection.

In some cases, you may be asked to provide additional information such as:

  • Weight Certificate, and/or
  • Photograph of trailer.

For information about all required documentation and fees, contact your county tax assessor-collector office.

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