Can I Use a Bill of Sale for a Texas Trailer Title?

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In Texas, the Department of Motor Vehicles handles utility trailers differently depending on their capacity. A trailer with a gross weight of 4,000 pounds or less doesn't need to be titled, and you can transfer it with a simple bill of sale; but a trailer with a gross weight of over 4,000 pounds must be formally titled and registered at the DMV.

Homemade or Shopmade Trailers

A homemade or commercially constructed trailer with a gross vehicle weight of less than 4,000 lbs. does not need to be issued a Texas title, and can be registered with just a bill of sale. Gross vehicle weight is not the weight of the trailer itself, but the weight of the trailer and its maximum load. Usually, small single-axle utility trailers fall into this category.

Other Trailers

Larger trailers, with a gross vehicle weight of over 4,000 pounds, must be issued a Texas title like any other vehicle, and a bill of sale cannot be used to obtain the title. These include most boat trailers, the large-capacity trailers used by some rental or moving companies and trailers capable of carrying equipment or vehicles.

Special Cases

Trailers from out of state weighing more than 4,500 lbs. must be issued a Texas title. An out-of-state title is one of the required documents, and a bill of sale cannot be substituted. Farm trailers weighing 4,000 lbs. or less do not need to be titled or registered; these can be sold with only a bill of sale. Farm trailers weighing more than 4,000 lbs. may be registered with a special farm plate, but do not need to be titled. Farm plates place specific restrictions on a trailer's use



About the Author

Robyn Broyles is a freelance writer focusing on medical, science, health, and philosophy topics. She is also a copy editor and writes tips and advice for other writers. She holds a Bachelor of Science in zoology, summa cum laude, and lives in Houston, Texas.