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Old 08-08-2007, 12:24 AM   #29
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Bellflower , California
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I see your expired just-bought trailer tag and raise you that plus the same on the tow vehicle! Luckily, I had dated titles and bills of sale for both along with proof of a current insurance policy on 2 other vehicles which "may" have covered me, otherwise the officer said they would have been impounded. That time, I got away without even a fix-it ticket, but this is TOTALLY up to the discretion of the individual officer, and if they want to be sticklers about it, they will.

My best understanding of the law in CA is this:
If the registration is expired, you MUST register the vehicle before towing or leaving it standing on public roads, or you can get a one-day moving permit at the DMV. If you have all the paperwork in hand and post the fees you might even be able to get a 30-day temporary registration for a trailer even if it needs weighing or verifying before permanent registration; for a car or motorhome I believe you'll need smog and insurance first so they're harder to get.

If the registration is current, there is a grace period of five days to report the sale to the DMV, but the catch is, you're not supposed to drive without insurance, which is a serious matter for cars, less so trailers.

Going to the DMV is seldom convenient at the places and times where I have made some great deals on vehicles that usually stipulate that they be removed from the premises at once. This gives the spontaneous wheeler-dealer a choice between risking getting pulled over by the first cop that sees you towing down the road trailing weeds and spiderwebs like The Munsters, or guaranteeing getting said vehicle impounded on sight parked unattached while off trying to get the paperwork in order. A smart thing to do if you anticipate making such purchases is to have an official DMV bill of sale form, as well as an application for transfer of (always seems to be lost) title. Having the proper forms on hand (as opposed to a hand-lettered bill of sale on a torn piece of fast food bag) makes life easier at the DMV later, but more to the point, looks REAL good to the officer if you get pulled over on the way home.

Some states like IL have a system where the person owns the plates, only in this case would you even consider switching them. In California, switching plates is liable to result in impoundment of both vehicle and driver! You might talk your way out of only-have-a-bill-of-sale, but not switched plates which is a felony.

It seems I love the mountains and deserts more than my friends do. I sure miss them!

1971 Streamline Imperial project "Silver Snausage", 1985 Coleman tent trailer, 1964 Little Dipper, 1975 Northwest "Proto Toyhauler", 2004 Harbor Freight folding, still seeking my Airstream.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:06 PM   #30
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2012 30' International
Walkerton , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2003
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The nice fellow I bought my trailer from allowed me just to keep his plate - it was to expire shortly anyway. I returned the favor to the guy who bought mine.

I can't imagine being stopped and even if I was stopped, I've never had to produce a trailer registration.

If I didn't have a plate, I'd just trust that my title is good enough, and I'd promise to register it as soon as I got home.


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Old 08-08-2007, 05:40 PM   #31
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1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
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Hi Jim,

I found my 1983 34’ Excella in the classifieds. It was in state so I got my brother to pull it with his full ton 4wd diesel dually Dodge rather than try it with my F150. (TV upgrade in the works.) It was a weekend and we just pulled it with no tags. Nobody even glanced at us.

Jim Rogers (jimrogers) in Jonesboro, AR buys and sells Airstreams as supplemental income and a hobby now that he is retired. He told me that he regularly brings them home without tags and has never been stopped. He usually has a few in his yard. I see some in the classifieds today.

Buying from Jim and his wife was the most pleasant purchasing experience I have ever had. They are truly delightful people. Anyone considering one of his offerings should have a good experience.

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Old 08-08-2007, 07:24 PM   #32
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Cleveland , Tennessee
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When I picked up a trailer, I just saked the PO if I could use their plates to get it home. They agreed not to unregister it for 4 days. This way the trailer was legal, just barrowed from a "friend". When I shipped the plates back, I also included 2 bottles of wine as a token of gratitude. Now shipping alcohol across state lines was illegal, but you can send whatever gift that you choose.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:40 PM   #33
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1965 20' Globetrotter
Stephenville , Texas
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Just did this two weeks ago. In Texas, the tags stay with the vehicle, in Colorado they stay with the owner. We purchased one-trip, temporary tags
good for 15 days at our local tax office here in Texas for $5.00. All we had to give them was the trailer's VIN, city starting from, city ending at and three cities we would be passing through. Colorado DVM told us that they would recognize our temp. tag purchased in Texas. Tried over and over and over again to get through to New Mexico's DVM but could never get through to the number listed on their internet website. Since there was only about 100 miles of New Mexico we were passing through we thought we might be okay since Colorado had already given us their blessings.

Sure proud of our new trailer!
Jimmy and Marque (Zoey)
WBCCI#: 2344
Texas Highland Lakes Unit
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Old 08-15-2007, 05:11 PM   #34
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1995 30' Excella
Bowie , Maryland
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When I bought my B van, it was in New Jersey but I was in Virginia, so I had to go through a couple states. I bought a temporary tag online which I assumed was good for all states (I thought states had to honor each others' tags, as long as they aren't expired?), but of course I also had a bill of sale with me that I'd had the seller sign.

I put the temp tag (it was just a printout) in the window, drove 'er home, and got it registered in VA for one month while I got the inspection and emissions testing done. Meanwhile the DMV conveniently and erroneously canceled the registration on my car... but that's a different story.
1995 Airstream Classic 30' Excella 1000
2014 Ram 2500 Crew Cab with Cummins 6.7L Diesel

Sold but not forgotten: 1991 Airstream B190
Sold: 2006 F-250 6.0L Powerstroke Supercab
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:37 AM   #35
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1972 27' Overlander
Billings , Montana
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we bought one from oregon we live in montana.. we sent the pay, they sent the title we went and got our plates and then went out and picked it up, putting the new plates on right then... had no problems at all.
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:51 AM   #36
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2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
1991 35' Airstream 350
Siloam Springs , Arkansas
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In Arkansas, I not sure of the technical law, but accepted practice by law enforcement is to accept a bill of sell, or signed title, within 10 days of tranfer of ownership, without a tag. The tag stays with the owner here, by the way.
Jeff & Cindy
Hunter RIP

'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
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Old 08-17-2007, 03:00 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by JimGolden
You know, it really shouldn't be this difficult..
I agree. In the UK, trailers are not licensed or tagged. We just have to have a duplicate number plate from the tow vehicle on the back of the trailer.

In the USA you have been happily using VHF marine radios for years without a licence. Up until 2007 I have been paying about $70 each year for a permit to use this safety device in the UK, and am also required to pass a competency test (at commercial rates) to be permitted to use the VHF radio.

In modern societies there is a great danger of over-regulation, and it is interesting to compare and contrast the legal regimes in various countries. These contrasts can be used as levers to persuade governments to rescind legislation, or not to create it.
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
"The price of freedom is eternal maintenance."
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:55 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by 85MH325

I DID recently get stopped with our new moho on the way home from the dealer without plates by a DOT officer. Since I had the appropriate paperwork, I was on my way.


Do you know how fast you were going, and by the way...where is your tag?


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