The Guide to Common Vehicles That Do Not Need to Be Registered blog: The Guide to Common Vehicles That Do Not Need to Be Registered

Ensuring that your vehicle is registered is an important part of car ownership. If you fail to register your vehicle on time, you could be subject to numerous fees and penalties, and if you attempt to drive it, you could find yourself facing a judge in traffic court. However, the team at has compiled a list of vehicles that do not need to be registered with a state Department of Motor Vehicles office. Of course, these are the most common vehicles, and rules will vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local DMV office first.

Farm Equipment

In the overwhelming majority of states, motorists are not required to register farm vehicles. Farm equipment, such as tractors and other motorized vehicles commonly used for agricultural purposes, does not need to have a valid registration. Since the majority of farm vehicles do not use busy highways, most state DMVs do not consider them to be passenger vehicles.

Towed Vehicles

So, you need to transport your car to your mechanic’s shop or anywhere else. Does the vehicle need to be registered? In most states, the answer is no. If you are towing a vehicle, or your vehicle is being towed, it does not need to be registered, whether it is operational or not. As long as the tow truck lugging the vehicle is registered, and its driver is licensed and insured, there should be no problem with law enforcement.

“Special Provision” Vehicles

Many states have what is called a special provision rule when it comes to vehicle registration. These rules allow owners of certain types of vehicles to forego the registration process. The team at has found that in many states, such as Maryland and Nevada, the following individuals and entities do not need to register their vehicles:

  • Manufacturers (ex: Toyota, Mazda, BMW, etc.)
  • Car dealerships
  • Nonresidents (individuals temporarily visiting or residing within the state)
  • Lienholders

Requiring the entities or individuals above to register all of their vehicles with the DMV would be a cumbersome process, so most states have decided to make allowances. However, if you are a nonresident of the state or country, you may need to register your vehicle if you intend to stay for an extended period of time. 

Construction Equipment

Construction vehicles do not need to be registered in most states. At most construction sites, you will find a wide variety of vehicles, and most will never be driven on the highway. The following construction vehicles may be exempt from registration requirements:

  • Forklifts
  • Grading tractors
  • Single axle dollies
  • Cement mixers
  • Backhoes

These vehicles may be used for off-road purposes, but they still do not need to be registered. If you are the owner of a construction vehicle, the team at recommends you contact the DMV to be sure that your particular type of vehicle is exempt.

Recreational and All-Terrain Vehicles

Typically, you do not need to register any all-terrain (ATVs) or recreational vehicles (RVs) that you own. Much like construction equipment, these vehicles are rarely driven on highways. However, the team at suggests contacting your state DMV if you own an RV, because some states do require RVs to be registered.