Licensing wheeled all-terrain vehicles

Metal tags for ATVs available in May 2014

A new law changes how 4-wheeled and utility-type ATVs are licensed. All wheeled all-terrain vehicles (WATVs) that meet the definition below must be licensed and get a metal tag.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to issue metal tags until our systems are programmed in May 2014. If you license your WATV before then, we’ll issue you a temporary permit that will be good for up to 1 year.

  • The permit will be printed on security paper and must be weatherproofed before using.
  • After May 2014, you’ll need to return to a vehicle licensing office to purchase a metal tag.

Types of vehicles that need a metal tag

The following types of vehicles are considered wheeled all-terrain vehicles, and must have a metal tag:

  • A motorized, non-highway vehicle with handlebars that:
    • Is 50 inches or less in width.
    • Has a seat height of at least 20 inches.
    • Weighs less than 1,500 pounds.
    • Has 4 tires with diameters of 30 inches or less.
  • or
  • A utility-type vehicle designed for, and capable of, travel over designated roads that:
    • Has 4 or more low-pressure tires of 20 psi or less.
    • Is less than 74 inches wide.
    • Weighs less than 2,000 pounds.
    • Has a wheelbase of 110 inches or less.
    • Meets at least 1 of the following requirements:
      • Is at least 50 inches wide.
      • Weighs at least 900 pounds.
      • Has a wheelbase of over 61 inches.

If your WATV is street legal, you may get an on-road tab to display on the metal tag. This tab will allow you to ride your wheeled all-terrain vehicle on certain roads.

How to make your all-terrain vehicle street legal

  1. Make sure all of the following equipment is installed on the vehicle:
    • A head lamp meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.030 and 46.37.040, to be used whenever the vehicle is in motion on a road.
    • A tail lamp meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.525.
      • If it’s a utility-type vehicle, you’ll need 2 tail lamps meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.070.
    • A stop lamp meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.200.
    • Reflectors meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.060.
    • Turn signals meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.200.
    • Brakes in working order.
    • A mirror on the left or right handlebar.
      • If it’s a utility-type vehicle, you’ll need 2 mirrors meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.400.
    • A horn or warning device meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.380.
    • A spark arrester and muffling device meeting the requirements of RCW 46.09.470.
    • A windshield meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.430, unless the driver wears glasses, goggles, or a face shield of a type conforming to rules adopted by the state patrol. See WAC 204-10-026 for details.
    • For utility-type vehicles, seatbelts meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.510.
    Note: All equipment must also meet federal requirements. To learn more, see:
  2. Have the vehicle inspected by a licensed Washington state wheeled all-terrain vehicle repair shop or dealer.
  3. Submit all of the following at any vehicle licensing office:
    • Your completed Wheeled All-Terrain Vehicle Road Use Declaration form.
    • A copy of the receipt showing you paid for the safety inspection (attached to the form).
    • The title for the vehicle.
      • If your bank has the title, you’ll need to work with them to get the title and road use declaration form submitted.

How to get your metal tag and on-road tab

When you’ve completed all the steps to make your wheeled all-terrain vehicle street legal:

  • We’ll add the comment “modified for on-road use” to the registration to show the vehicle is street legal.
  • To ride on roads, you’ll need a metal tag with an on-road tab and an off-road tab. (The law requires you to pay both on-road and off-road fees and meet the vehicle requirements for on-road use).
    • We won’t be able to issue metal tags until our systems are programmed in May 2014. If you apply before then, we’ll issue you a temporary permit that will be good for up to 1 year.
      • The permit will be printed on security paper and must be weatherproofed before using.
      • After May 2014, you’ll need to return to a vehicle licensing office to purchase a metal tag.

Frequently asked questions

How can I find out if a wheeled all-terrain vehicle dealer or repair shop is licensed?
Ask for their Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number and Search business and professional licenses online. Repair shops will have a business license; dealers will have both a professional license and a business license. The status should be open and active.

How much will the safety inspection cost?
The dealer or repair shop can’t charge more than $50 per safety inspection. Make sure a copy of the receipt is attached to your Wheeled All-Terrain Vehicle Road Use Declaration form.

What if I decide to remove the equipment that’s installed?
If you remove the equipment, the vehicle isn’t street legal. You must submit the title to a vehicle licensing office and remove the on-road tab from the metal tag. We’ll issue a new title for the vehicle with the comment “not eligible for road use.”

Do I need a driver license to operate a WATV on a public roadway?
Yes, you must have a valid driver license and comply with all:

  • Applicable Rules of the road, except that wheeled all-terrain vehicles may not be operated side-by-side in a single lane of traffic.
  • and
  • Laws for motorcycle drivers under RCW 46.37.530.

Do I need a motorcycle endorsement?
No.

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