Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Q: Does a trailer require a license?
A: Yes, in Pennsylvania, and most surrounding states, it does.
Q: How much do the license and registration cost?
• PA Residents
A: It depends on your state, but in Pennsylvania, a good "ballpark" figure for fees excluding tax (6%) would be around $160 which includes notary, registration, license plate, and title fee.
• Out of State Residents
A: Call your DMV. The only cost you will incur during pickup is a temporary tag, the rest would be paid to your home state when you register the trailer (within 60 days).
Q: How much weight can I tow?
A: Depends. We have provided links to PDFs which can answer your question depending on the year of your vehicle.
Q: Do you offer financing?
Q: Can I get a "Farm Exemption" on sales tax?
A: Generally not. If you plan to tow the trailer behind a registered farm vehicle only and therefore do not require a registration plate on the trailer, then you may be tax exempt. All other uses, including farm use, which require a registration plate on the trailer are taxable.
Q: Does my trailer need an annual motor vehicle inspection sticker? (PA Residents)
A: If the GVWR is over 3000#, yes, it would need an annual inspection. Most single axle trailers built are "de-rated" to 2990# even though they have a 3500# axle so as to avoid needing to have brakes and an annual inspection. If you buy a single axle trailer with brakes (rare), you would have choice of 2990 or 3500# GVW. A trailer inspection can be performed by most any auto inspection shop, however, trailers over 10000# GVW are to be inspected only by a "Code 3" qualified heavy truck/heavy trailer (10000#+)/bus mechanic. Here's a complete list of what an inspection includes:
Q: Do you charge Doc/Prep fees?
A: No, we have never charged either of the fees. Most dealers pass along "doc" or "prep" fees from $50-$200+. Our opinion is the trailer needs to come with both of those items before it can go out the door, making them mandatory items.
Q: I'm from out-of-state, how do I get the trailer home/registered?
A: A 60-day temporary tag will allow you to get the trailers home and give you a window of time to get a tag from your DMV. You will be provided with an "MSO" (new trailers) or title (used or previously titled trailers) and Bill of Sale, which is what your DMV will be looking for to get the trailer registered. DO NOT LOSE THIS PAPERWORK AS IT IS YOUR LEGAL OWNERSHIP OF THE TRAILER PRIOR TO TITLING THE TRAILER.
Q: What is the difference between GVWR and Payload?
A: GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is the total weight capacity of the trailer, including the actual weight of the trailer and its max payload. Payload is the amount of weight that can be carried on the trailer -- calculated by GVWR less the actual weight of the empty trailer.
Q: Can I pick up my trailer at the plant?
A: Generally speaking, no.
Q: Can you do a Maine tag?
A: Pennsylvania's registration costs are reasonable, so this is normally a question from out-of-staters with higher registration costs. The answer is "no". www.mainetags.com seems to be a common one (we have no affiliation and are not endorsing them). We'd recommend checking into the legality of doing so before proceeding however (if you are not a Maine resident). Here an one such excerp regarding New York, "Section 250 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law provides the answer and here is how the State Police enforce Section 250. If there is a straight NY commercial registration on the truck, the owner is a NY resident, and they do not have a residence in Maine, it is an illegal registration in NY per Section 250 of the V&T Law. The NYS Motor Truck Association has advised their members that “NY State law prohibits the registration of trailers in another state other than NY unless the carrier has a physical place of business, at which the vehicles are housed, within the state of registration. A mailing address or agent in the state of Maine does not meet this requirement.” So if you have a trailer registered in Maine and are not a resident of Maine... beware.
Q: Does the trailer I'm buying require a CDL?
A: Here is a flowchart from the Pennsylvania State Police on who needs a CDL and when: http://www.psp.pa.gov/law-enforcement-services/Documents/CVSD/CDL%20Flowchart%205.29.14.pdf or here: http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/dvspubsforms/BDL/BDL%20Fact%20Sheets/fs-cdl.pdf
In most instances, no. Under a 10000# GVW is almost always "no" unless being pulled by a 4500+ series truck. If using a trailer over 10000# the vehicle pulling the trailer is to be registered in combination. If the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating = sum of truck and trailer's individual GVWR's or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating's) of the truck/trailer exceed 26000#, you would need a CDL, if under 26000#, you would not.
Most customers get caught up on this line of the CDL fact sheet, "a) a combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds" and ASSUME all trailers over 10000# require a CDL, in which case they are often wrong. Here is why:
Example A: (UNDER 10000# TRAILER) A 9900# GVWR trailer would need to be pulled by a truck exceeding 16010# GVWR to have a GCWR over 26000# = CDL. This would likely be a 4500 or 5500 series truck (current models GVWR on these trucks are about 16000-19000#, older ones are typically lower). If under 16010# GVWR on the vehicle side, you should not need a CDL. Check the door jamb for GVWR. IF THE TRAILER IS BEING USED FOR BUSINESS USE AND THE TRUCK AND TRAILER WILL EXCEED 17000# (IN STATE) OR 10000# (OUT OF STATE) YOU WILL NEED A DOT NUMBER AND A MEDICAL CARD. If you need a DOT #, you may also need a UCR registration (if you go out of state for business use).
Example B: (OVER 10000# TRAILER) A 14000# GVWR trailer would need to be pulled by a truck exceeding 12000# GVWR to have a GCWR over 26000# = CDL. Most 2500 series trucks are under 11000# (newer models) with some as low as upper 8000's (older model's). If you are trying to stay within 26000# and wanting to buy a 14000# trailer, a 3/4 ton 2500 series truck or a 1 ton single wheel 3500 series truck often work the best regarding legalities as they generally keep you within the 26000# mark. Most 1 ton dually 3500 Series trucks would be over 26000# as the trucks are normally over 12000#, thus putting them over 26000#. Some of the older (mid 2000's and older) trucks are only in the 11500# GVWR area, which would be a 25500# GCWR (non-CDL). Most of the newer 1-ton dually trucks are up to 13000-14000# GVWR, so a 14000# trailer would put you in the 27-28K GCWR range. These are customers that it sometimes makes sense to "de-rate" a trailer (see example C). Check the door jamb for GVWR. TRAILERS OVER 10000# ARE TO BE INSPECTED BY A HEAVY TRUCK/TRAILER MECHANIC AND REQUIRE COMBINATION TRUCK REGISTRATION (INCREASED REGISTRATION COST, NOTHING TO DO WITH A CDL, SEE MV-70 LINK BELOW TO SEE FEE SCHEDULE, BUT IT ADDS ABOUT $200/YEARLY TO YOUR CURRENT VEHICLE REGISTRATION). GOING OVER 26000# COULD REQUIRE IFTA FUEL TAX DECALS, RANDOMIZED DRUG TESTING, APPORTIONED TAGS, CDL, AS WELL AS OTHER PERKS!
UCR Registration: https://www.ucr.in.gov/ucrHome.html
FMCSA (Do I need a DOT number?): https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/do-i-need-usdot-number
Steel thicknesses: https://www.tedpella.com/company_html/gauge.htm