Do Antique Cars Need Inspection In PA?

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Every state has its stipulations for inspecting and registering antique vehicles. Do antique cars need an inspection in Pennsylvania?

If you own and operate an antique vehicle, you know what a source of pleasure and pride it can be. There is something about getting behind the wheel of a classic car or truck that takes us down on a trip to memory lane. But there is more to owning a precious beauty than just driving. It is essential to know precisely what the rules are for registering your antique car so that it doesn’t end up being a frustrating process. The last thing you want is to go to the DMV with papers in hand just to find out you don’t have everything you need. Since other vehicles need an inspection of many different components to be certified as road-worthy, what are the rules for cars over 25 years old? Are they subject to the exact requirements other vehicles in Pennsylvania have? Will you have to pay some mechanic to fix a problem on the car before you can apply for a tag? What about emissions inspection, does that need to be done as well?

According to the Pennsylvania statute Title 75, Chapter 13, antique vehicles are not required to submit to safety and emissions inspections. An antique car is any vehicle 25 years or older from its date of manufacture.

Only certain counties in Pennsylvania require emissions tests, but every county requires a safety inspection for all vehicles that are daily drivers. If you move to Pa, you have ten days to get your documents together, march to the BMV office, pay your fees, and receive a temporary registration. This state is one of the most stringent states regarding certifying vehicles, so you don’t want to take a chance of getting a ticket, paying a stiff fine, or worse, having your car impounded because you got caught driving an unregistered vehicle.

So what exactly is required? Well, registering an antique vehicle is more straightforward than you might think.

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Do Antique Cars Need Inspection In the State of Pennsylvania?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation fact sheet, under the inspection heading, the official laws of Pennsylvania stipulate that any antique vehicle is not required to have an annual vehicle safety inspection. An antique or classic vehicle does not have to submit to an emissions inspection, as some Pennsylvania counties require regular daily vehicles.

The statute defines three kinds of older vehicles that are allowed on the roads in Pennsylvania.

  • Antique cars are vehicles that are not reproductions over 25 years old from the current year and have been restored to the original manufacturer's specifications.
  • Classic cars are at least 15 years old and have been restored to the manufacturer’s original specifications. These classic cars require a safety inspection but not an emissions test.
  • The final category includes vintage vehicles made from 1906 - 1976 cars or trucks that allow the owner to use the original plate as the model year. You will have to show the original certificate of title and show the folks at the BMV a clear color picture of the plate so that the state can create a special registration for the specific vehicle.

There is a form you have to fill out as well, form MV-11, to apply for an antique, classic, or vintage vehicle. If you are attempting to register a vehicle that fits the definitions listed above, you should know that there are restrictions on how often you can drive the car. These unique registrations apply to cars that are not driven more than once a week and cannot be used as a daily driver. In Pennsylvania, section 1340 indicates that using these vehicles for daily transportation is unlawful. Their use is limited to participation in club activities, exhibits, tours, parades, and occasional transportation.

How Long Does the Registration for an Antique Registration Last?

There is no expiration on any Antique, Classic, and Vintage registration or plates (when displayed on an antique or classic vehicle). They are issued for the vehicle's life while the present owner has the title and plate. If the vehicle is sold, the registration plate stays with the seller, and the owner has the right to use this plate on another eligible vehicle should they wish to do so.

Should the new owner wish to use the same plate on the car when it was sold, the seller must write a letter to the Penn DOT relinquishing the plate. (Always best to send it certified). After this is done and the new owner satisfies other requirements (fees and application forms), the plate number can be transferred into the new owner's name.

What if I am Restoring a Salvage Vehicle?

You must submit a form to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles if you are restoring a salvage vehicle or customizing a hotrod. The form is MV-426B, which allows you to register an antique project you might be working to bring to life.

Can I Get a Personalized Plate for My Antique Vehicle?

The answer is yes. Pennsylvania makes allowances for those who want a personalized plate for their older vehicles. Check the plate availability on the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website. You can play with combinations if you see someone else has chosen your personalized plate name. Once you’ve found out a name is available, you can make arrangements to have the plate specially made.

How Much Does an Antique, Classical, or Vintage Tag Cost?

Form MV-70s lists the prices for every kind of trailer, truck, or vehicle that might need to be registered in Pennsylvania. The registration of an antique or classical vehicle is $84.00. This cost is in addition to the $58.00 certificate of title fee. If you want a personalized plate, it will cost $196.00, not counting the $58.00 title fee.

(Remember that the registration fee is one-time only so that you won’t have to renew the plates yearly. This cost can provide ample savings to anyone who registers an antique or classical vehicle).

Registering a vintage vehicle is more expensive, including an $84.00 vintage fee, $84.00 antique or classical car fee, and $58.00 certificate of title fee. (Remember that this is a one-time fee).

What Specific Items Do I Need to Bring to the BMV?

For an antique or classic car registration, you will need the following.

  • You must present a valid Pennsylvania Drivers' license (or a less than 60 days driver’s license from another state. PA gives new residents 60 days to obtain a driver's license once they establish an address in the state.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • If the registration is for a new owner or from out-of-state, you will need a special form MV-4ST, the application for registration. (If you already own the vehicle and are making an application for an antique or classical registration, you just need the MV-11, which is the application for an antique, classical, or collectible registration plate).
  • Payment of The appropriate sales tax, title, and registration fees.
  • Antique vehicles are not subject to a safety or emissions inspection report. Classic vehicles are exempt from emission tests only.

Is there a Mileage Limit on Driving an Antique Car in Pa?

There is no mileage stipulation, but there is a restriction on how much time you can drive the car each week. Owners are allowed to drive in parades or other community events or on the road less than once a week to keep the vehicle performing adequately. You cannot haul stuff in the car or use it for professional services, like Uber or Lyft. (Not that anyone in their right mind would use their antique car for such a purpose).

Because antique vehicles are not required to pass safety inspections, the state prefers to limit the number of older cars on the road at a time. The state keeps everyone on the road safer by placing restrictions on who can drive and how long an owner can operate a vehicle.