Trailers, trailers, trailer. There are trailers all over the place these days. Some straight off the lot of a dealership, and others passed down from generation to generation, or made from parts found in the garage. The latter two are the trailers that I am going to talk about.
Your grandfather had an old trailer laying around, and you decided you could really put that to good use. Or you bought a kit trailer from a box store. Either way, these are good trailers. But…….they need to be safe, road ready, and inspected to be on the roads here in Pennsylvania. The information that I am going to share is for us here in PA. Other states may vary, so please check with your local DMV for exact rules and regulations.
So lets start with the basics of what you have, a trailer with no title. Now please keep in mind that it does need to be road worthy. You can’t inspect something that isn’t safe. All the proper DOT lighting, good tires, you know the deal. Assuming all that is in check, you will need to gather all the proper documents. In PA, you are required to show proof of purchase of some sort. If it was a kit you bought at a box store or from a neighbors yard sale, doesn’t matter. The state wants to know if tax was collected on the trailer. If it was a hand me down, a simple letter stating that will do. Next, you will have to get the trailer weighed. PA has a variety of places with a certified weigh scale. Truck stops, recycle centers, and even the local stone or mulch supplier should have one. The important thing to remember here is that you need the weight of the trailer only. Not the truck and trailer minus the weight of the truck, and not the weight on the paperwork from a kit trailer. The state of Pennsylvania has made it clear that they will only accept the actual weight of the trailer. Once you have the proof of purchase, and certified weigh slip, along with a valid drivers license, you are now ready to proceed to the next step.
On the Penn Dot website, you can find a list of inspection stations that can do enhanced inspections. That is what they call the process of titleing a vehicle or a trailer with out a title (and in some cases of cars, a salvage title). This process is also refered to as an MV426 inspection, referring to the forms that have to be filled out. There is a special course the mechanics must pass in order to do these inspections. Here, we have 3 mechanics that can do an enhanced inspection.
Once all the information and paperwork are taken to an inspection station, here is what you might expect. I am speaking from what happens here at our shop, keep in mind, that it will vary from place to place. First and foremost we inspect the trailer. Everything has to work, and be DOT legal and road worthy. Pending all that, there is now forms to fill out. Signatures will be required from you and our mechanics. Pictures are taken, and when it is all said and done, you would leave here with a packet of papers that you can then take to the local DMV building to finish the process. Once the paperwork is processed at the state, a VIN # will be issued for your trailer, as well as a good free and clear title. Tags can also be issued, and everything will be good to go for towing on the open road.
Now if all this seems a little much to process at one, it really isn’t. Here in PA, we just want to make sure that the trailers out there on the road are safe. If you follow guidelines above, and get all your ducks in a row, this process really isn’t all that bad. Remember that the information I provided is for Pennsylvania. I do not know the rules or laws regarding this process in any other state. Feel free to call if you ever have a question. We would be more than happy to help you with any and all of your towing questions.
Until next time……