Do I need a license plate for a golf cart?
When you convert a golf cart to a street-legal vehicle, you need to follow many rules and guidelines to ensure everything is done correctly.
One of these processes is ensuring that your cart is licensed correctly before you drive it on the road.
A failure to follow these steps could cause you some serious legal troubles and even cost you money if your cart is repossessed.
As a result, you need to understand the full process required for obtaining a license for a golf cart.
Though these steps don’t vary that much from the standard registration and licensing process, they do switch things up enough that you need to read through all of these steps correctly.
Thankfully, most people shouldn’t have a hard time doing these steps on their own.
Only Street Legal or Converted Carts Need a License
Although you can drive a golf cart on your private property – including converted models – without a license, all states that allow you to drive your carts on public roads require a license plate.
You’ll also need to get registration, insurance, and inspected to ensure that your cart is safe for the road.
This process typically occurs after you upgrade your cart for street use and not before you start.
The process occurs afterward because the inspection officials need to make sure that your cart has been adequately converted and upgraded. If not, they will deny your license request.
The Process of Licensing
If your state requires – or allows – you to license your cart, you need to follow a pretty strict series of rules to ensure that your cart is appropriately registered and licensed.
These steps can seem quite extensive but aren’t as hard as they seem. In many ways, they’re a lot like registering and licensing a standard vehicle, such as a car, truck, or van.
However, you’ll need to upgrade your cart before you try to get a license to ensure that it is appropriately street-legal and safe to drive on various freeways and roads.
You need to visit your local motor services firm to talk to them about the process of conversion.
Then, you’ll need to present them with a variety of information and multiple types of paperwork, including the weight slip, the original bill of sale, a manufacturer’s certificate of origin, a Form HSMV appropriate to your state, an application for a title, and evidence of insurance on the cart.
All of these items are important before you try to get a license plate for your cart.
These details will be used to first assign a VIN to your cart that will make tracking it easier for the proper officials.
Once your cart has a VIN, you can get your license plate after you present some personal information and pay some fees.
First of all, you’ll need to show your driver’s license, an ID card, or a passport to show that you are a resident of the country.
Then, you need to pay an inspection fee to get your vehicle registered, a titling fee, and the cost of the license.
And like with other vehicles, you’ll need to upgrade your license to ensure that it is up-to-date.
While you won’t need to pay the costly initial registration fees or other costs for your cart, you will have to pay for a new license tag.
This step should cost about as much as your standard licensing fees, though the exact price will vary depending on your state and its laws.
Expect no more than $100 or so to get a tag for your golf cart’s license.
Other Considerations for a Converted Cart
Although license plates are critical for your golf cart operation, they aren’t the only item that you need to consider when converting a golf cart.
That’s because you’ll need to make your cart road-ready and street legal so that it can ride safely alongside and near other vehicles.
A failure to follow these guidelines could make your vehicle unsafe or even cause your license plate to be revoked.
For example, all converted golf carts need to follow restrictions put into place by your local or state governments.
The federal government does not restrict golf carts and leaves this issue to regional authorities instead.
States that allow the use of road-ready golf carts typically require you to add a multitude of extra items to ensure that your cart is safe and ready to use.
Items that you’ll need for a typical golf cart include headlights for night driving, taillights, several mirrors upgraded brakes, and a multitude of reflectors placed around the exterior of your cart.
Each of these items is necessary for keeping your cart as safe as possible while it is on the road.
You may even need to add a windshield and windshield wipers, though this will vary depending on your area.