California dmv registration question

nicktr23

New Member
Jul 5, 2022
8
I have a pop up tent trailer that is longer than 16 feet. Currently it is registered and titled as a trailer coach and I have to pay yearly registration fees of $132. Is there some mistake with dmv, I see a lot of people with longer popup that are registered with PTI tags and that's significantly cheaper fees. Section 242 states that any tent trailer is a camp trailer and camp trailer is Not a trailer coach. Anyone fight this with california dmv?
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,144
You should be able to get PTI stickers.

The DMV isn't so bad these days with appointments.

If you have AAA, try them first. They used to be useful for some of this stuff if you got the right person. It's been years since I've used them for this though. Maybe they don't anymore.
 

McFlyfi

Super Active Member
Aug 1, 2014
826
Thousand Oaks CA
In my experience, it's going to be up to the individual DMV employee you come in contact with. I asked about mine (Niagara, 14ft box, well over 16ft long) and she said something about how it was originally titled.
 

nicktr23

New Member
Jul 5, 2022
8
we were told by a dealer that if its over 16 ft - NO PT plates.
I just hope it was more clear / or consistent. I see a lot of people with similar trailer that have PTI plates and I just bought this trailer in April 2022, paid 600+ for registration catchup, now, registration is due again in August. :( I'll make an attempt to see if "Any tent trailer is a camp trailer" line will work at the DMV.
 

nicktr23

New Member
Jul 5, 2022
8
In my experience, it's going to be up to the individual DMV employee you come in contact with. I asked about mine (Niagara, 14ft box, well over 16ft long) and she said something about how it was originally titled.
So they didn't fix it? Seems to me that someone didn't title it correctly from the start. Otherwise they should NOT have added NOTE A tent trailer is a camp trailer. A camp trailer is not a trailer coach. Without that line, it's pretty clear, anything 16 ft and more will NOT be camp trailer.
 

McFlyfi

Super Active Member
Aug 1, 2014
826
Thousand Oaks CA
From the CA DMV site for definitions for the PTI program:

"Camp Trailer (CVC §242)—A vehicle, other than a motor vehicle, designed to be towed on the highway, capable of human habitation for camping or recreational purposes, that does not exceed 16 feet in overall length from the foremost point of the trailer hitch to the rear extremity of the trailer body and 96 inches in width. Where a trailer telescopes for travel, the size shall apply to the trailer as fully extended.

Note- A tent trailer is a camp trailer. A camp trailer is not a trailer coach."

(The bolding above is from the DMV website- not added by me)

Also note that for trailer that "telescopes for travel, the size shall apply to the trailer as fully extended."

I read this to mean that if you tent trailer is longer than 16 feet from tongue to bumper OR when fully extended, is NOT eligible for the PTI plates. My Niagara wouldn't qualify based on closed length, and nowhere near on extended length.

This why I say that it's probably up to the individual employee and their knowledge (or lack thereof) of the regulations. I could see someone bamboozling an inexperienced employee by showing them selected parts of the above, and leaving out the part that says the length shall apply as fully extended.

OP's trailer is admittedly longer than 16 feet, and by the definition above from the DMV website, is ineligible for a PTI plate based on that alone. Over 16ft = no PTI

California is NOT going to let you easily weasel out of tax money it thinks is due it.
 
Last edited:

Adam H

Active Member
Aug 22, 2015
555
California
LOL, my Avalon is PTI. They never asked the length and I never told them. If they did ask, I would have told them 15 feet.
 

Bowman3d

Super Active Member
Apr 13, 2015
1,033
LaLa land (SoCal)
I would argue that my trailer condenses to travel. Probably won't get you anywhere but worth a try. Mine must to registered right because it only costs me $15 every 5 yrs
 

nicktr23

New Member
Jul 5, 2022
8
I'm happy to report that I finally got my PTI tags. I think it's a matter of which dmv supervisor you get because a body type change involve a vin verification. The DMV supervisor agreed that the camper i have is a camp trailer without need to measure the camper since i pointed out the NOTE section. My situation was further complicated because not all VIN letter was readable so I was referred to CHP for verification and a new VIN plate. CHP verification was an hour long process and the officer was fixated on the BOLD description of camp trailer cannot be over 16ft long 8ft wide. So two different people with two different interpretation. Everything would have went smoothly if I didn't have the vin problem. In the end, I was able to convince the dmv supervisor that the pop up is not a coach.
 




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