...what a racket!
So I went to register my trailer yesterday, that was a learning experience. The trailer I got is rated for 14,000#, and empty it weighs 2600#. I was given the following options for registration:
So, what's the difference you ask.
- Register it as 10,001# and get a permanent registration for about $900.
- Register it as 10,000# and get a "yearly" registration. It was $242 for 2 years and the registration cost will go down some each year for a while than bottom out.
If I do option 1, I have to increase the weight rating on the registration of my truck. That was set at 11,500# by Sanderson Ford when it was registered and is currently costing me $63/year. With a permanent registration on the trailer, any truck that pulls it must be paying a weight fee that covers the truck, trailer and load. To be safe, I would have to bump my registration to at least 16,000# to cover the trailer and MY truck (assuming I don't tow anything heavier). At 16,000# the weight fee goes from $63 to $124 per year. If I wanted to cover the truck so that I could pull the trailer at it's full 14,000# GVW it would be even more.
If I do option 2, I do not have to change anything with the truck, but my trailer can never be over 10,000#. That limits me to a 7,400# load on the trailer. If I get scaled and I'm found to be over 10,000# total trailer weight, the fine is $1/lb over weight.
I did the math and if I own the same truck and trailer for 10 years, the permanent registration NEVER saves me any money. At 10 years I've laid out about $1500 between the permanent registration on the trailer and the additional "weight fees" I'm paying on the truck (over what I pay now). Since I don't know what the trailer registration will reduce to each year, I figured the 10 year example at the $120/year I paid for the first year...so the figure is high for sure. Anyway, at 10 years with a yearly registration I've only laid out $1200. I would have to own the truck and trailer for 15 years (assuming the yearly registration stays $120/year which we know it doesn't) for things to equal out...longer than that in reality but that makes my point.
That said, opting for the yearly 10,000# registration does limit the GVW of the trailer, which may not be a big deal for some. It's only "really" an issue if you get inspected/scaled and you're found to be overweight.
It should also be noted that you can walk into DMV and have your registration changed to a Permanent 10,001# any time I want to (and upgrade the weight fee on your truck at the same time). It's less expensive to do it after the trailer is a few year old (of course you've already paid a few years of yearly at that point).
I also learned that travel trailers can NOT get a permanent registration at all and boat trailers can ONLY get a permanent one.
I opted for the yearly registration since I won't be over 10,000# with my little truck and I'd rather save the money. Time will tell if that was a good choice or not, for my use I suspect it was.
Moral of this story...if you are getting a "utility/flatbed" type trailer with a GVW over 10,000#, you'll have to make this decision. One option will cost you more and the other will limit your legal GVW. Do your homework and pick the option that makes the most sense for you.
Oh yea...I also learned that the "WEIERS" signs we're seeing around town belong to the same Jim Weiers that own Weiers Trailers (where I got my trailer) and that he is actively working to straighten out some of the stupid trailer registration crap. I guess his efforts are the reason I was able to get a small motorcycle sized license plate for my trailer, so it doesn't hang down and get all bent up on curbs and stuff. I forget what else they said he's gotten passed.