Snowmobiling is a fun pastime that you can enjoy during the winter months.
If you bought a snowmobile recently, then you may wonder if you need to title it.
Other similar vehicles require titles, so it makes sense that you would wonder.
Do Snowmobiles Have Titles? (Everything To Know)
Yes, some states require a snowmobile to have a title.
Those states include:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Other states that have snowmobiling trails do not require titles.
They do require a permit to use the trails and that you register the snowmobile.
If you intend to use the snowmobile solely on your private property, then you do not need to register your snowmobile or obtain a trail permit.
How Do You Transfer Your Title?
If you plan on selling your snowmobile to someone else or you plan on buying a snowmobile from someone, then you may wonder how to transfer the title.
The process is simple.
The original owner of the snowmobile needs to sign the back of the title first.
This shows that they’re the original owner of the snowmobile.
Then they give the title with the snowmobile to the new owner.
The new owner takes the title to their local DMV.
At the DMV, the clerks will make a new title that grants you ownership of the snowmobile.
When you want to sell the snowmobile in the future, then you sign the back of the title, and the process begins again.
How Do You Register Your Snowmobile?
All states require you to register your snowmobile.
Here are the steps you should take to register the vehicle.
1. Register Online Or In Person
The first step you need to take is to determine if you want to register the snowmobile online or in person.
Not all states have a functional online portal for the registration of snowmobiles.
They require you to visit your local Secretary of State’s office to register.
If you have both options, then choose the one that fits your needs and convenience the best.
2. Choose Registration Duration
Each state has its own options for how long the register lasts on your snowmobile.
In Michigan, for example, they have three-year registrations available.
If you know you only want to use the snowmobile for a single year, then you may want to consider one of the other options.
You’ll also need to consider your budget.
It isn’t expensive to buy a registration for your snowmobile, but depending on all your other expenses, it could add up.
A three-year registration in Michigan is $30.
Your registration will be valid for three years before you need to buy a new one again.
3. Fill Out Required Information
Both the online portal and the in-person visit will require you to provide information related to your snowmobile.
It will help tell officials who the snowmobile belongs to in the event of a violation.
4. Place Your Registration On The Snowmobile
After a few days, if not a week or so, the Secretary of State will mail the registration to you.
It’s important that you place the registration in the right place.
To get the best adhesion, you need to clean the sides of your snowmobile first.
Then remove the registration sticker from its protective backing and place it on the side of the snowmobile near the front.
It should be right above where your ankles rest on the snowmobile.
Do Antique Snowmobiles Require Registration?
You do not need to continuously register a snowmobile that is older than 26 years.
The snowmobile qualifies as an antique.
However, you can only ride the snowmobile in clubs, during special events, in a parade, or another event that involves the use of antique snowmobiles.
You do need to register it once.
There’s a $50 registration for antique snowmobiles.
The good news is that it’s a lifetime registration.
You won’t need to pay it again afterward.
The registration doesn’t expire, but it doesn’t transfer between owners.
If you sell the antique snowmobile, or someone sells you one, then you need to remove the previous registration.
Then you need to go to your local Secretary of State office to pay $50 for a new lifetime registration.
Place it where the old registration was at to make it legal.
How Do You Transfer Ownership Of A Snowmobile?
Transferring ownership of a snowmobile is easy without a bill of sale.
You only need to complete the back of the registration, then give the snowmobile to the new owner.
They’ll go on to take out a new registration for the snowmobile in their name.
If you do include a bill of sale, then the process becomes more difficult.
The Secretary of State will need the information to verify the bill of sale.
You’ll need the following information to give to the Secretary of State:
- Bill of sale
- Make of the snowmobile
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Name of the buyer
- Address of the buyer
- Name of the seller
- Address of the seller
The Secretary of State will verify the information, then help you purchase a new registration for your new snowmobile.
If the snowmobile comes from out of state, then the process is even more complex.
You’ll need to bring a few things to the Secretary of State to verify that you’re the new owner.
These items include:
- An assigned title
- An assigned registration
- A complete bill of sale from the seller
Any time the transaction uses a bill of sale, no matter if it’s out of state or inside of the state, the Secretary of State will do an NCIC check on it.
Once everything receives verification, the snowmobile is in your ownership.
How Do You Obtain A Trail Permit?
If you want to ride the snowmobile on trails, then you need to buy a trail permit.
The money from the trail permit goes to the organizations responsible for clearing and maintaining snowmobile trails.
It’s their way to fund the trails for everyone to enjoy.
You cannot ride the trail without a permit.
If you only plan on driving your snowmobile on your own property, then you do not need to buy a trail permit.
In Michigan, trail permits cost $48.
They last from the moment you buy them until September 30th.
All trail permits always expire on September 30th.
It’s the beginning of snowmobile season in certain states and ensures that snowmobile drivers can buy their trail permits before the snow starts to fall.
You can buy a trail permit at the Secretary of State’s office.
Once your trail permit arrives, you need to place it on the front of your snowmobile.
The best location is at the center of the crest on the snowmobile.
It should be above the headlights to allow officials to easily spot it.
With your trail permit attached to your snowmobile, it’s ready to ride the trails.
How To Make Sure A Snowmobile Isn’t Stolen
One problem you may face when shopping for a snowmobile is a stolen one.
Because not all states require titles, some criminals will steal a snowmobile and sell them there.
It isn’t as easy to determine if someone stole the snowmobile or not.
If you suspect that someone may be trying to sell you a stolen snowmobile, then there are a few things you can do to check its legality.
The first method is to obtain the snowmobile’s VIN.
This is a unique number given to every snowmobile that comes off the factory floor.
It’s there to identify the snowmobile in the event of a recall or if it’s stolen.
Ask the owner of the snowmobile to give you the VIN of the snowmobile.
If they refuse, then you should automatically be suspicious of them.
If they give you the VIN, then write down the number and call your local police office.
Ask them to check a VIN on a snowmobile for you to determine if someone reported it stolen.
Give them the VIN and see what they say.
If the office doesn’t come back with a report, then the snowmobile is legit.
If they do have a report, then you can give them information about the location of the snowmobile and the person attempting to sell it to you.
Another method to determine if a snowmobile is legal or not is to check the registration.
If the snowmobile doesn’t have a registration, then inquire about it.
It’s odd that an owner won’t register their snowmobile unless they only use it on their private property.
If it does have a registration sticker, then check to see if the name on it matches the person attempting to sell it.
There are some circumstances where it may be a different person trying to sell a legal snowmobile that isn’t in their name.
However, it should make you a bit more cautious about entering a deal with them.
Where Should You Store Your Title?
Snowmobile owners who need to title their snowmobiles may wonder where the best place to put it is.
After all, you don’t want the title to become ruined in the wet snow.
One place you can put the title is in a safety deposit box.
This box is hefty, difficult to break into, and they’re often fire-resistant, too.
It can keep the title safe until you need it.
Another idea is to keep it where the rest of your titles are.
Placing your titles together can keep them organized rather than having them in different places.
When you need to grab a title to sell the snowmobile, then you know exactly where it is.
A final place to store your title is a safe.
A thick safe with a hefty lock will ensure other people stay out of it.
Some safes are even fire-resistant which could prove helpful if your home ever catches on fire.
You should never keep your title in a bag attached to your snowmobile or on your person when snowmobiling.
It’s a good way to lose the title or have it stolen.
Should You Title Your Snowmobile Even If It’s Not Required?
Some states will allow you to title your snowmobile even if they don’t have a regulation to do so.
You may wonder if it’s worth the extra time and money.
It’s beneficial if you’re ever worried about someone stealing your snowmobile.
The title can be useful in convincing officers that the snowmobile legally belongs to you.
It also allows you to put out a detailed description of the snowmobile which can the police find your snowmobile.
Having a title can give you a little more peace of mind.
Certain states require snowmobiles to have a title and registration, but not all do.
Titles are useful for helping you transfer ownership of the snowmobile to someone else, but you can also do that with a registration.
It may be worth obtaining a title on your snowmobile if you’re worried about someone stealing it.