Questions answered about how trailer plates must be displayed


From: Sgt. Troy Christianson
Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I recently purchased a trailer that requires yearly tabs. I’m worried the plate will get damaged if I mount it to the manufacture’s bracket. I have noticed over the years that owners of some trailers have mounted their trailer plates on the fender well in a vertical position and not horizontal so it can be read easier. Is that legal?

Answer: If your trailer is a small utility trailer that has 3,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight or under, it would receive a permanent Minnesota registration sticker. The registration sticker issued is displayed on the tongue of the trailer and no plate is required.

Registered trailers weighing over 3,000 pounds gross vehicle weight require one license plate with yearly registration displayed horizontally with the identifying numbers and letters facing outward from the trailer. This plate must be mounted on the rear of the trailer.

The person driving the motor vehicle that is pulling the trailer shall keep the plate legible, unobstructed and free from grease, dust, or other blurring material so that the lettering is plainly visible at all times. It is unlawful to cover any assigned letters and numbers or the name of the state of origin of a license plate with any material whatsoever, including any clear or colorless material that affects the plate’s visibility or reflectivity.

If law enforcement sees any equipment or registration violation, you could be stopped and warned or issued a citation, so please obey all equipment and traffic laws.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, Minn., 55901-5848. You may also reach him at


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