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Guide to Nys Trailer Inspections

nys trailer inspection

New York State makes it a point of duty to ensure the roads and all vehicles on it are up to the proper standards. From registrations of vehicles and trailers to inspections and even insurance, these things are taken very seriously in New York State.

This begs the question, are vehicles and trailer inspections any different in NY?

Cars and light trucks are considered different from trailers. Regardless of these differences, most inspections are fairly similar.

A few notable differences include

  • Non-commercial trailers do not require insurance
  • For custom trailers, special requirements must be met. These vehicles such as homemade automobiles and those built from kits, or made via special constructions must be evaluated to ensure their safe usage on highways.

Why choose tlc's Trailer inspections

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We’ve been reliably repairing cars, trucks, trailers and RV´s for almost 30 years.

We repair everything!

There are no gimmicks here. We tell you what needs to be fixed and get the job done.

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Authenticity is our brand. Bringing you complete and genuine service with a smile.

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Guaranteed (most) repairs for 24 months or 24K miles, giving you peace of mind.

Inspection Requirements for Trailers

NYS Trailer Inspections 1

Now that you’ve been cleared on the above, let’s see just what trailer inspections entail in New York.

Note that light-duty trailers such as snowmobile trailers, camper trailers, and utility trailers are included in this inspection.

To get started on these, you must find a certified DMV trailer inspection station in your area. Trailer inspections in New York are a big part of state vehicle compliance. Finding a trailer inspection station close by shouldn’t be an issue. You could also just click here to locate a DMV-regulated trailer inspection station.

This inspection must be done annually. At the end of each inspection, you are issued an inspection sticker that is valid for 12 months.

What Does a New York State Trailer Inspection Entail?

The inspection begins with a visual assessment of the trailer and its parts. The inspector will check the following:

  • Coupler
  • Light
  • Tires and tire pressure
  • Chains
  • Brakes (if any), brake pads, and rotor
  • Splash guards
  • Hazard wiring
  • Lug nuts
  • Bearings
  • Trailer attachments*
  • Lubrication of all moving parts and inspection of other structural elements.


* The trailer attachment is particularly important because it’s what links the trailer to the vehicle that tows it. Thus, for safety reasons, the trailer must be firmly attached to the vehicle by an approved safety chain. These chains must prevent deflection of the trailer by more than six inches from the wheels of the towing vehicle.

It’s easy to assume that a simple once-over would do here, but it doesn’t. A full inspection takes time. It involves pulling the wheels out and examining all components to ensure functionality and safety.

At the end of an inspection, if the inspector finds your trailers satisfactory, you are entitled to an inspection sticker.

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Trailer Inspection Sticker

This is your evidence of a successful inspection. It’s also one of the reasons why you wouldn’t go to just any auto repair shop close to you to get this inspection done.

Only authorized inspection stations in New York can issue these stickers. The trailer is likely unpowered and must be towed by a powered vehicle.

According to New York State inspection laws, the vehicle that tows the trailer will carry the inspection sticker. You should place the inspection sticker in the lower right corner of your license plate. You can also staple it to the trailer registration documents and keep it in the tow vehicle.

This can save you a lot of trouble in the future, just make sure you renew your permit every year.

Passing Your New York State Trailer Inspection

passing nys trailer inspection

Just like the usual vehicle inspections, your best bet to passing the test is to ensure your vehicle is in the appropriate state. Everything must be up to standard according to New York State vehicle laws.

You can take your trailer for repairs before the actual inspection. That way, you’re certain you will receive the sticker afterward. Otherwise, do your best to get the trailer in order before taking it in for an inspection.

If you fail, you can discuss with the inspection station what needs repair. You can then fix your trailer and come back for a re-inspection.

New York Trailer Standards

NYS Trailer Inspection Equipment

According to the New York DMV Division of Vehicle Safety Services, certain equipment must be in the trailer and also in good working condition before it can be considered up to standard.

This equipment includes two of the following:

  • Red tail lamps
  • Red stop lamps
  • Red and amber reflex reflectors
  • Red and amber marker lamps
  • Red or amber turn signal lamps
  • Red and amber clearance lamps (for vehicles with a width of 80″ or more)


They also require one White Number Plate Lamp and one Identification Lamp.

NYS Trailer Inspections 2

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New York State Trailer Inspection FAQ

1. How much does a New York State trailer inspection cost?

This costs $6 to $12 depending on the category it falls into. Trailers under the light vehicle category (under 18,000 pounds) cost $6, while those in the heavy vehicle category (over 18,000) costs $12. 

Visit the New York State Vehicle Inspection page for the whole pricing table. 

2. Do all trailers need to be registered in New York?

Not all trailers need to be registered in New York. Trailer-type vehicles that do not operate under their own power do not require registration. However, the vehicle towing them must be registered.

3. Do trailers need an inspection in New York?

All trailers in New York must get inspected to ensure they are in good working condition and are in compliance with all NYS trailer regulations.

4. What is needed to register a trailer in NY?

Ownership documents such as Title or Transferrable Registration. You also need to pay an annual registration fee as well as taxes and plate fees.

5. What is considered a homemade trailer?

Homemade trailers or custom/kit vehicles are intended only for the personal use of the owner and are made or assembled from new or used parts. A reconstructed vehicle is not included in this definition.

6. Do trailers have a VIN?

Most trailers such as utility trailers, boat trailers, and camper trailers have a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) written on a tag on the side of the trailer hitch.

7. What if my trailer doesn't have a VIN?

If your VIN tag is damaged or lost, you can get a replacement tag. Simply provide proof of ownership and duplicate the VIN tag documents and pay for a new VIN tag.

And that’s what you need to know about trailer inspections. Are you a trailer owner in New York in need of a licensed repair shop to get your trailer inspected?

TLC Auto and Truck Repair Center is where to go. We’re a licensed inspection station that can issue an inspection sticker if you pass the inspection. We have fully insured ASE certified technicians so you can rest assured of getting quality service and thorough inspection on your trailer. We also offer diesel truck inspections

For more information, reach out to us here.

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