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When do you need weighted license plates when towing a trailer in North Carolina?

Jeff Hidek

Q. When towing a personal travel trailer by a 2500hd Chevrolet Silverado truck, do you need weighted license plates in North Carolina?

A. No. Campers are basically exempt from the rules governing weighted tags in North Carolina.

It’s actually a common question. Information about the rules for weighted tags isn’t easy to find, and plenty of boat and trailer owners have questions.

After talking with the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles and state highway patrol, we’ve assembled these general guidelines.

  • In North Carolina, a vehicle that is towing anything other than a recreational vehicle (such as a pull-along camper) is required to have a weighted plate when towing. If you are pulling a camper, you don’t need a weighted plate. But you’ll probably need one if you are pulling a utility trailer or boat trailer, depending on the weight.
  • The rules generally apply to trucks. If you can pull your trailer with a large car or SUV, you won’t need a weighted tag.
  • All trailers in North Carolina must have some form of plate on the trailer itself. The weighted tag needs to be on the truck.
  • Private, noncommercial pickup trucks, registered with regular “First in Flight”-type license tags, may trailer a combined total load of up to 9,000 pounds. If the total is heavier, a weighted license tag is required with enough capacity to cover the entire combined load of the truck, anything carried in the bed of the truck, the passengers of the truck, the trailer and whatever is being carried on/in the trailer. So if you have a 6,000-pound truck pulling a 1,500-pound trailer carrying a 4,000-pound boat, then you need a weighted tag because the combined weight (11,500 pounds) is more than 9,000 pounds.
  • If the towed load is heavier than 10,000 pounds a class A drivers license is required. For towing less, a class C license is fine.

For more specific questions, contact the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles through its website here: https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/contact/

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3 Responses to “ When do you need weighted license plates when towing a trailer in North Carolina?”

  1. On July 19, 2017 at 4:22 pm Jake Vickers wrote:

    Can you cite your sources for this information? I’m trying to find the associated information for weighted tags and recreational vehicles on the NC DOT website and am yielding very few results.

  2. On August 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm Stacie Greene Hidek wrote:

    We spoke with representatives of the NC DOT. Click on the link in the post for links to contacts.

  3. On December 11, 2017 at 4:50 pm Daryl Teague wrote:

    According to NC General Statute 20-63 paragraph (b), “vehicles licensed for 7,000 pounds through 26,000 pounds must bear the word “weighted,’ unless the plate is a special registration plate authorized in G.S. 20-79-4.” That means that one can have a specialty plate like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation or First in Forestry tag, for example, on their truck and not need the weighted plate.

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