• Custom Built Cars

DC Custom Built Cars

Custom built vehicles are becoming more and more common as more and more self-made and professional auto mechanics decide that they wish to drive around in something they can call their own. When it comes to a custom built car, the registration processes in WASHINGTON DC are going to be a lot different than that for standard vehicles in original, manufacturer’s condition.

What Are Custom Vehicles?

Custom-built cars are unique in various ways. The following vehicles are considered to be custom-made, therefore require custom vehicle procedures for registration and often titling as well.

  • Self-modified vehicles
  • Vehicles reconstructed with new components
  • Specially created vehicles
  • Street Rods

In most cases, these custom vehicles are created from components that weren’t originally provided on the vehicle and aren’t options from the manufacturer, have been constructed to take on a different look or style, or have had add-ons that have changed the style, type, and operation of the vehicle. In some cases, even those that have been converted from gas to diesel are considered custom creations and therefore will require custom-vehicle processes for registration.

Home-Crafted Vehicle Registration and Titling

Not all custom made vehicles require a new title, but there are those that will – especially if the VIN has been changed or reassigned. Modified vehicles are known for the addition, omission, modification, and even substitution of main components to the vehicle and parts, whether new or used. If you have simply provided standard repairs through new parts, you can disregard the processes of a modified vehicle.

The component or part modifications that qualify the car for status as a modified or custom vehicle include:

  • Converting from one type of fuel to another
  • Removing or adding an axle
  • Replacing the complete engine
  • Changing a standard truck to a flat or dump bed truck
  • Changing the vehicle body type and/or style

If you find that your vehicle meets these guidelines for a custom vehicle, you can follow to titling and registration, or whichever is specified by the DC DMV in accordance to your specific vehicle.

  1. You may need to apply for a VIN number from the State Patrol. You can contact the DMV for more information concerning the need for a VIN on custom vehicles in the state.
  2. You will be required to complete safety inspection, and possibly emissions inspection if required within your county. This is to ensure that the vehicle and all its new components and parts are road worthy and safe.
  3. Complete the appropriate DMV forms and submit with the appropriate costs for registration and titling.
  4. Provide proof that you own the vehicle and parts or components used to craft the vehicle.
  5. Submit the appropriate forms designated for proof of ownership and drivability.
  6. Provide the DMV with a description of any and all modifications you have made to the vehicle since its original form.
  7. Provide proof that there is a current auto insurance policy covering the custom vehicle.

You will be required to complete these steps in person as the vehicle must be viewed and reviewed before you are able to register and title it with the WASHINGTON DC DMV.

Reconstructed and Specially Constructed Vehicles in WASHINGTON DC

Not all custom vehicles have been completely created by you. There are those that were previously branded as salvage vehicles or those that are considered to be antiques that have lost their ability to be driven on roadways for safety or mechanical issues in the past. If you decide to restore or reconstruct the vehicle, you have to follow the necessary steps included above for registration and titling. You may not be required to complete all steps, such as VIN application, but you will follow most of the steps to register and title the vehicle with the DC DMV.

There are also vehicles constructed from kits or different parts of other vehicles, which are considered to be specially constructed vehicles. These vehicles too are considered in most cases to be custom-made vehicles and will have to follow the above steps for registration and titling if needed.


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