What Types of Car Dealer Tags Are There?


Dealer tags are used to identify vehicles during the time between when they leave the factory and when they are delivered to the purchaser. Dealer tags must be displayed when the vehicle is in transit between the dealer and the purchaser, on display by the dealer, or at any time when the vehicle is being used by the dealer, a prospective purchaser, or anyone else authorized by the dealer to be using the vehicle. Several different types of dealer tags are available, allowing for different types and levels of use. Most states use these same basic types of dealer plates.

Regular Dealer Plates

  • Regular dealer plates are displayed on cars, trucks, motor homes, multipurpose vehicles, trailers or travel trailers that are in the possession of the dealer. Dealer plates cannot be used on rental vehicles, leased vehicles, loaded trucks or trucks or truck tractors loaned to service customers. These vehicles can be driven with dealer plates as long as they are constantly offered for sale and the dealer plate issued to the dealer is plainly visible. Usually, dealer plates must be renewed annually. For instance, in Alaska, dealer plates expire every December, while in Utah the expiration is June 30.

Limited Use Dealer Plates

  • In Iowa, limited use dealer plates are displayed on vehicles only for a very specific purpose. These plates are used to help dispose of vehicles that have been repossessed, recovered after being stolen, or acquired as a part of a damage settlement. However, they can also be used as a way to demonstrate, test, or deliver special body equipment as well as new ambulances or rescue or fire vehicles while they are still owned by the manufacturer. Only certain people or entities can obtain limited use plates. These include insurers, people selling a vehicle they gained obtained through a repossession, people selling special body equipment parts installed on a vehicle they do not own, manufacturers of safety vehicles, and people interested in using a vehicle strictly for exhibition purposes.

Transporter Dealer Plates

  • Transporter dealer plates, also called transfer dealer plates in Indiana, are used while a vehicle is being transported from a dealer to a purchaser. In Iowa, they can be issued either to the person who owns the vehicle being sold, or to the person who is engaged in transporting the vehicle from the owner to the purchaser. In Alaska, transporter dealer plates can only be issued to dealers or transporters or recreational vehicles. Laws may be slightly different from state to state.

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