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Old 05-21-2013, 07:27 PM   #1
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Registering a new Airstream in California

Hi Everyone,

I've found a new AS at an out of state dealer and was wondering what kind of hoops that I had to jump through to get it registered in California. The deal will give me a couple of temporary 3 day tags for a total of 6 days which will be enough for me to get the trailer back to California. I already know that I will have to pay the DMV registration fees and that the Uncle Jerry is going to want his use tax, but what I'm curious about is what else is required?

Specifically:
1. Does the trailer need to be inspected, if so by who?
2. What happens if I register the trailer after the temporary tags expire? I'd like to camp in the trailer while I'm close to the dealer in order to get any problems fixed.

Cheers,
Rion

PS: Ok, Ok - I just realized that I misspelled Airstream in the title, which of course is what I meant, not Aurstream. I believe that an Aurstream is kind of like the Boy Scout snipe hunt, except for TTs isn't it?
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:39 PM   #2
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Hi Everyone,
... Ok, Ok - I just realized that I misspelled Airstream in the title...
I got ya covered...
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:51 PM   #3
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We bought our Airstream in Oregon; they gave me temporary tag for transport.

To register in California, I had to bring the trailer to DMV so that they can verify the VIN. They need to see it in two places - at least one of them being an indelible stamp (the one on the A-frame). The VIN printed on the weight sticker is not good enough.

Google Maps worked well to identify a DMV with sufficient street parking.. DMV's in urban areas are a challenge!

Then pay the fees, and CA state sales tax, and you're registered!

Good luck -
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:26 PM   #4
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Simple. The Oregon dealer will know that you intend to export the Airstream out-of-state and they will not charge you for OR sales tax. The dealer will put a temporary certificate in the rear window of your coach. 2 weeks? 4 weeks? In any event, you're covered to get it home and then some.

You must license in your home state. Present your bill of sale to your local California DMV licensing office. The California DMV will charge you the going California sales tax rate (gulp! Not sayin' anything particular about California -- it's not great in MN either. ) and issue your license and deal with your annual tags.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:38 PM   #5
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Just teasing Bob now: Oregon has no sales tax to charge to begin with.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:03 PM   #6
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I don't think Commiefornia gives a hang about your temporary tags, so go camp in it and make sure all is well. The registration will require onsite inspection of the trailer. Do not assume they know what to look for. I had to point out the tag on the Argosy body, and the stamped serial# on the tongue. The DMV clerk didn't know Sh**t about it. Also, be prepare to pay, because we are broke, and you are not!
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:07 PM   #7
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Just teasing Bob now: Oregon has no sales tax to charge to begin with.


Okay, let's presume they purchase the Airstream in Delaware. Wait! No sales tax there? What's wrong with this place?
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:24 PM   #8
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Also, and I'm not saying to cheat California, but you will pay use tax based on the purchase price, so a bill of sale with a low purchase price may save you $$, now and every year you pay annual registration fees.
Just a FYI.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:26 PM   #9
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I just went through this three step process.

Step 1 - go to DMV and pay fees - this will get you a title as well as temporary tags as well as forms you need to complete the registration process. Bring your bill of sale and any prior registration or title, signed over to you. You will pay use tax based on either a bill of sale or what you self report as the purchase price. You will also pay annual registration fees. They will give you a form for vin verification too. The use tax is based on the county in which you tell them the trailer will reside - you need to be able to receive mail at the address you provide. They will mail you a new title.

Step 2 - within 30 days, get a trailer inspection. They don't just check the vin, they also measure the trailer and verify the other info you you reported. You can get this done at DMV or AAA or by a CHP officer.

Step 3 - turn in or mail in your completed forms and get you license plates and tags.

You can do all three steps in one DMV visit, or break it up. Get an appointment and avoid the long lines!
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:44 PM   #10
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GinMame, are you buying cash or financing? We bought or trailer in WA but picked it up in OR last year. Our process was pure hell caused by incompetence at DMV.
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:47 AM   #11
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Wow, thanks for the great answers! I'm actually purchasing the trailer in Washington. The dealer has already confirmed that they won't charge WA sales tax and know that I need to pay Uncle Jerry (Moonbeam?) his use tax.

What really scares me is the mere thought of having to bring the trailer to my local DMV office in Long Beach. The parking lot access, not to mention crowds, are sure to result in some modified aluminum. I was hoping that if it had to be inspected that I could have it done at a CHP or DMV office in Northern California where I might be able to find an office close to the Oregon boarder that wasn't so busy. However, if I can get it done at AAA, then I would rather do that.

Has anyone ever had the CHP do the inspection? Does one have to have an appointment to get it done? If so, how does one make the appointment?

Thanks again for all the great info!

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:49 AM   #12
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GinMame, are you buying cash or financing? We bought or trailer in WA but picked it up in OR last year. Our process was pure hell caused by incompetence at DMV.
Cash. Even though I can deduct the interest, I really don't want to give the banks any extra money and don't want the payment hanging over my head every month.
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:52 AM   #13
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Eubanks,

Thank you for correcting my title.

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:10 AM   #14
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Has anyone ever had the CHP do the inspection? Does one have to have an appointment to get it done? If so, how does one make the appointment?

Thanks again for all the great info!

Cheers,
Rion
Hi, I won't tell you the long version of my experience. I bought my trailer in Oregon and brought it home to Lakewood, Ca. and paid zero sales tax. [can't do that anymore] I went to Bellflower DMV and they were really stupid. [another long story] They wanted to inspect my trailer, but it was nearly impossible to even park my Lincoln on their lot, yet alone with my trailer attached. I had a local Sheriff do the VIN inspection for me at my house. [someone called the Sheriff to my street for an unrelated event; While there, I asked if he could do a VIN inspection for me]
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