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Old 08-13-2014, 07:33 PM   #1
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Location: Florence, SC
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Odd Trailer Question

We are picking up a car trailer for our towed and I've got an off-the-wall question about it. We live in South Carolina which doesn't require a personal trailer to be licensed; it can be, if so desired, but there is no requirement by the State DMV (or county of residence) to do so.

With that being said, I know I can (obviously) run around the State of South Carolina without a problem.... my question concerns what will happen when I cross the state line.

One assumption I have (yeah, I know...) is that if pulled over, I can present documentation to prove that I reside in SC (i.e., SC DL, SC registration for both the motorhome and the vehicle on the trailer, etc., etc.) and, coupled with the fact that SC doesn't require trailer registration, be able to avoid any problems. I'm just wondering how valid of an assumption that is!

Does anyone have any experience or ideas about the subject?



Kyle, Jan, and Dakota, the four-legged co-pilot
00 Itasca 34' Suncruiser
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:22 PM   #2
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Not sure what you mean by "car trailer". Typically when people talk about a trailer it's in reference to a small single axle utility trailer all the way up to a simi-trailer. A trailer typically carries all of the cargos weight load. A quick Google search of SC DMV, shows they do in fact require registration for trailers if they are to be used over SC highways.

Now maybe you meant a "tow dolly" for your towed car. A tow dolly doesn't carry the entire cargo load. A tow dolly can't really be used for anything else but to tow another vehicle. In some states (Texas included) you don't have to reg a tow dolly as long as it's towing a Registered vehicle. You won't be bothered especially if pulling with a motorhome. I've heard some say their could technically be an issue if you were to tow empty.

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Old 08-14-2014, 12:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response! I should have been more specific in describing the trailer. What I'm referring to is a two-axle, flatbed trailer rated at a 7k lb carrying capacity. Your typical, standard open-air "car hauler" that loads a vehicle on the flat bed portion of it via ramps.

After further contemplation, I think I may go the route of registering and tagging the trailer... after all, once I leave SC and enter another state, I come under their rules and regulations. Not being a native of South Carolina, I was absolutely amazed when I moved here a few years ago as to how many trailers (cargo, utility, motorcycle, etc) ran around the area without tags, hence my question.

Registration fees are listed in the SC DMV site, but unless the trailer is a commercial, big truck type, registration/licensing is not required. There may be a weight rating requirement to that as well, but it would be far above what would be required to haul a car.

Thanks again for your input!!!!

Kyle, Jan, and Dakota, the four-legged co-pilot
00 Itasca 34' Suncruiser
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:13 AM   #4
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Kentucky is another state that doesn't require a license for car trailers. We towed many years through many states with no license, and no problems, until planning a trip into Canada. I called the nearest Canadian consulate; telling him of the KY rule, our desire to enter his fine country in northeast Maine, and wondering if this was possible with an unlicensed car trailer. After hearing the official say "probably", I bought a license plate for the trailer.

A similar situation exists with our 1976 Alfa Romeo Spider. The car is licensed but rarely street driven, but I sometimes do this while at an autocross event in another state. It has a vintage license plate; which KY allows to be changed to a period plate as long as the vintage plate is carried in the car. I do this, along with having a copy of the state regulation allowing the alternate plate.

My thought is if doing something out of the ordinary but allowed in my home state, I better have appropriate documentation when I do this out of state.
George Schweikle Lexington, KY
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:03 AM   #5
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Kansas doesn't require a tag on trailers under 2,000 lbs, they make a plate that says KANSAS Under 2M, maybe something like that exists in SC or have one made?

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Old 08-14-2014, 07:15 PM   #6
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If your rig is legally titled and registered in its home state, you are good in all 50. It's part of the doctrine that says each state has to recognize the legal documents issued by all other states (so you don't have to get married again if you cross state lines). I would, however, carry a copy of the SC law that says that particular trailer type does not require a tag or title.

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