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News and Article

April 22, 2011
Enforcement of the laws regarding the use of dealer plates by Iowa licensed motor vehicle dealers is carried out by ALL law enforcement officers and the court system,who may have a different   interpretation. Your insurance carrier may have limitations on the use of dealer plates that are  more restrictive than law.

If a dealer is in doubt, it is best to register the vehicle with your county treasurer to save yourself potential problems. Major Paul Steier, Iowa Department of Transportation, Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement, has provided information to IIADA to help us understand the proper usage of dealer plates.

A saddle-mounted vehicle is when a truck is towed behind another truck. A dealer plate shall be
 displayed on the saddle-mounted vehicle.

Tow dollys are special mobile equipment and are exempt from registration. The vehicle being placed upon the tow dolly would require a D plate on it or to be registered, depending upon its use.
Therefore, if a dealer is taking a vehicle to auction, or bringing inventory to the dealership on a tow dolly a dealer plate should be placed on the vehicle being towed.   The vehicle you are pulling the tow dolly with can not use a dealer plate upon it – it must be registered.

Enclosed trailers need to be registered if being used for work purposes – hauling cars within an enclosed trailer would be for work purposes.

The pulling unit must be registered. The car sitting on the car trailer does not need to have a D plate on it or to be registered - if no wheels of the hauled vehicle are touching the ground
Dealer plates may be used on the car trailer carrying a load,  provided the truck is registered. Caution is advised; while it is permissible to place a D plate on the trailer being towed, giving
exposure to D-plates in this fashion should be thought through. Registration of a one or two car
trailer is minimal compared to problems caused because of a lost dealer plate. (This is in cases
of the trailer  
being towed by a truck or truck tractor only and the truck or truck tractor is registered for the correct tonnage to include the load).

Registration is required and dealer plates may not be used on SUV’s, Cars, Mini-Vans, Multi-Purpose Vehicles or Pickup Trucks to pull a trailer – UNLESS both the towing unit and the trailer are being delivered for sale.

The  rule states – motor vehicles used by dealers, manufacturers or distributors to transport other vehicles shall be registered, except when being transported from the place of manufacturing, assembling or distribution to a dealer’s place of business.

Snow plow trucks must be registered and plated. Do not use a D plate on a snow plow vehicle – truck or SUV.

Demonstration permits are available to dealers to permit the use of dealer plates for demonstrating load capabilities of motor trucks and truck tractors. htm#DEMONSTRATION%20PERMITS 

If the boat trailer is being used for work purposes, it would need to be registered. If
the boat trailer is being delivered to a new owner, a D plate is required.
Boats may not be pulled with a D plated pickup or a multi-purpose vehicle.

Dealer plates shall not be displayed on vehicles that are rented or loaned. A dealer plate may be displayed on a motor vehicle, other than a truck or truck tractor, loaned to a customer of a licensed motor vehicle dealer while the customer’s motor vehicle is being serviced or repaired by the dealer. 
If you rent motor vehicles, these vehicles must be county plated and registered. You do not have to pay the fee for new registration( use tax ) on rental units. However, rental units must stay in rental 120 days to qualify for this exemption. 321.105A(2)c

c. The following are exempt from the fee for new registration imposed under this subsection, as long as a valid affidavit is filed with the county treasurer at the time of application for registration.

(6) Vehicles subject to registration in any state when purchased for rental or registered and titled by a motor vehicle dealer licensed pursuant to chapter 322 for rental use, and held for rental for a period of - 120 – one hundred twenty days or more and actually rented for periods of sixty days or less by a person regularly engaged in the business of renting vehicles including but not limited to motor vehicle dealers licensed pursuant to chapter 322 who rent automobiles to users, if the rental of the vehicles is subject to taxation under Chapter 423C.

Caution needs to be exercised in the use of dealer plates. It is not a wise idea to send
your offspring off to college – in Iowa or out-of-state with a D-plate on their vehicle.

Dealers have advised IIADA that they have gotten hefty fines from law enforcement officials for the improper usage of dealer plates and not having the  tow vehicles registered and plated with county plates.

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