On December 31, 2001, the California Department of Motor vehicles began to convert all utility trailer registrations to the Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) program. All former International Registration Plan (IRP) registrations must now be converted to PTI registrations, including replacement plate issue, when fee terms expire. Utility trailer Partial Year Registrations (PYR) and Permanent Fleet Registrations (PFR) have been eliminated.
California Utility Trailer Definition
The California DMV defines a utility trailer as any tow vehicle used for the transport of property or horses. PTI registrations are not issued for commercial household goods carriers, trailers or semi-trailers used for hire, or utility trailers exceeding a gross weight of 10,000 pounds. For purposes of this definition, the weight classification for horse trailers includes the weight of both trailer and horses.
The California DMV collects PTI registration fees every five years. Original plate issue will include an identification card, rather than a sticker, to verify compliance with the program. PTI fees can be suspended without losing the DMV plate record if the owner submits a Certificate of Planned Non-Operation (PNO) when the five-year registration term expires. Expiration dates are maintained on file and renewal fees must be paid in full prior to utility trailer operation.
Ownership Identification and Transfers
Legal ownership of a utility trailer, including identification of all lien holders, is verified during the PTI registration process. Certificates of Title are generated automatically to lien holders and to sole owners by request. Transfers of ownership require either a paper title transaction or a completed and signed Permanent Trailer Identification Certificate, side B. Dealers must provide a Report of Sale – Used Vehicles for all transfers of registration. Fees for transfer are due 30 days from the date of sale.
Vehicle dealers receiving utility trailers into inventory for sale as new must post PTI fees for all that are otherwise registered or licensed with the California DMV. Used trailers must be transferred directly into dealer ownership according to PTI regulations.