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Old 05-06-2014, 10:48 AM   #1
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Tow dolly registration in VIRGINIA

I received the title for the Acme EZE Tow that was delivered 2 weeks ago. I've been researching title requirements and naturally found conflicting information.

The VA DMV site says:
A trailer can be defined as a vehicle without motor power designed for carrying property or passengers wholly on its own structure and that is drawn by a motor vehicle, including tow dollies and converter gear ( 46.2-100).
Trailers can be registered annually, bi-annually or permanently. The trailer registration fee is based on the gross weight of the trailer and the registration period selected. Insurance coverage for trailers depends on the insurance coverage of the vehicle pulling the trailer.


Te above references VA Code 46.2-100, which is just a list of definitions. The definition of a trailer in VA is:
"Trailer" means every vehicle without motive power designed for carrying property or passengers wholly on its own structure and for being drawn by a motor vehicle, including manufactured homes.

Notice that it says "carrying property or passengers wholly on its own structure". A tow dolly does not carry anything WHOLLY on its own structure.

The actual VA code supports this by saying:
46.2-1119. Tow dolly and converter gear.

No axle-like device, commonly called a "tow dolly," used to support the front or rear wheels of a passenger vehicle or pick-up or panel truck for towing purposes, and no axle-like device, commonly called "converter gear," on which is mounted a fifth wheel used to convert a semitrailer to a full trailer, shall be considered vehicles. Either such device, when used on the public highways, shall be equipped with a safety chain or chains of a strength to restrain the device and vehicle being towed, should the connection fail. In addition, either device, when moved on the public highway, shall be equipped with rear marker lights or reflectors when towed without a load. When a tow dolly or converter gear is used to tow a vehicle, the towed vehicle must comply with all requirements of law pertaining to towed vehicles.

(1984, c. 182, 46.1-336.1; 1989, c. 727.)


Additionally, VA says the following about registering tow dollies:
46.2-648.1. Optional registration of tow dolly and converter gear.

The Department may, upon request, register any tow dolly or converter gear as defined in 46.2-1119. For the purpose of determining the applicable fee for any such registration, the tow dolly or converter gear shall be considered a trailer and the registration fee determined in accordance with 46.2-694.1. The fee for reserved numbers or letters on license plates for any tow dolly or converter gear shall be determined in accordance with 46.2-726.

(1999, c. 593.)


In short, this tells me that a tow dolly is not a trailer and registration is optional. Notice the second quote starts out with "The Department may, upon request, register..." I read that as the legislation allowing the DMV to register a tow dolly upon request from the owner. The first quote clearly establishes that tow dollies are NOT vehicles. How do you interpret these?

In case you're wondering, No, I haven't called the DMV yet because I want the correct answer. The description on their webpage is carelessly wrong, or its intended to get us to needlessly register our tow dollies thereby bringing in more revenue.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:11 PM   #2
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WOW!! What a fantastic post with all these specific citations.

CONGRATS on the smart decision to Dolly Tow...your car will be very happy and safe, up high away from rock strikes and free of the mileage toll on the lower driveline like flat towed cars.

Yes, VA like many states make tags on a Tow Dolly optional - and, the DMV will issue you Perm Trailer plates if you want. Sometimes safe if going to places that require tags, like Mexico.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a FAQ on the DMV website that just says these things in simple terms?

Suggest keeping the original title in a safe place to make selling it someday easier - because the new buyer may not understand all these rules.

Best luck
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:38 AM   #3
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Thank you!
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:28 AM   #4
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I live in VA and did not tag my dolly when we had one in prior years.


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Old 05-08-2014, 09:10 AM   #5
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I won't be registering mine either. Thank you.
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