Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 14 of 38

Chapter 13: Commercial Vehicles

13.125 Tow Dolly (VC §225)

A tow dolly is a vehicle towed by a motor vehicle and designed and used exclusively to transport another motor vehicle. The front or rear wheels of the towed motor vehicle are mounted on the tow dolly, while the other wheels of the towed motor vehicle remain in contact with the ground.

A tow dolly is not required to be registered but may be registered under the Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) program. Tow dolly operators who plan to operate their tow dollies in other states are encouraged to apply for PTI, as other states may require indicia on these specialized trailers.

Some dollies may be permanently coupled to a commercial motor vehicle to form a three-axle tow car. The combination must remain intact and be used exclusively as a tow car as set forth in VC §615.

The following must be submitted:

  • The California Certificate of Title for the motor vehicle.
  • A weight certificate.
  • Receipt or proof of ownership for the tow dolly.

The procedures below must be followed:

  • Reclassify the vehicle license fee (VLF) to include the cost of the device.
  • Change the body type model (BTM) to DLY for a three-axle tow car.
  • Collect any additional weight fees due from the date of first operation as a three-axle commercial vehicle. A penalty is due if the fees are not paid within 20 days.

Commercial auxiliary tow dollies do not qualify for Special Equipment (SE) license plates.