Repairing A Trailer: Why You Should Check With DMV/DOT Laws First

Posted on: 16 September 2019


Anybody can repair a trailer, right? It is not that difficult, considering that most things that break on a trailer just need a few replacement parts. However, the DMV/DOT in most states requires that any repair or remodeling of a trailer has to meet certain standards and regulations. Here is why you should check with your state's DMV/DOT laws before you try to fix or revamp an old trailer. 

Trailers Have to Meet State Regulations for Sale/Resale in All Fifty States

When trailer manufacturers are designing and manufacturing trailers, they have to consistently check with state regulations before building more trailers or constructing new trailer designs for manufacture and sale. If the trailers they produce would not pass safety inspections and quality control inspections in all fifty states, the company has to scrap the trailers and start over or modify the trailers until the trailers do pass these inspections. The same holds true if you have an older trailer, it is a bit beat up, and you want to sell it. Private seller or dealership, you are still held to the same state regulations if you expect to sell the trailer. 

Trailers MUST Be Safe

To be considered safe, trailers have to have working tail lights, be fully secured when connected to a properly fitted hitch, and have the cargo fit fully within the confines of the trailer. The exception to this rule (in some states, not all) is lumber, which may hang out the back end of the trailer by a little bit, but the lumber must still be secured so that it does not slide backward and scrape up a car behind you or do other damage to vehicles behind you. If a police officer sees a safety violation with your trailer, he/she can pull you over, search the trailer, and write you a ticket. 

Repairs Have to Be Complete and Restore the Trailer to Safe, Proper Working Order

The DMV/DOT will define what trailer repairs are acceptable under the law and which are not. If you restore the trailer to its showroom floor condition, that is acceptable because the trailer is safe, fully functional, and in excellent working order. If you modify the trailer while you are repairing it, you will need a police officer to examine the modifications and approve of the modifications before you can do anything else with the trailer, including registering it or selling it to someone else. 

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