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Ask a Trooper: Trailer plates must be properly mounted

Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Trooper

Question: I recently purchased a trailer that requires yearly tabs. I'm worried the plate will get damaged if I mount it to the manufacturer'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 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.

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

I recommend that you place your license plate in the manufacturer's bracket that is more than likely mounted on the rear of the trailer. Having the plate on the fender in a vertical position is illegal.

Remember that the person driving the motor vehicle that is pulling the trailer shall keep the plate legible and 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.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol, 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811. You can follow me on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE or reach me at