Dealer License Plates
Franchise (new) and Independent (used) motor vehicle dealers are eligible to buy and use metal dealer plates. The number of dealer plates a dealer may purchase depends on the number of sales made by the dealer. The department also issues special metal plates to manufacturers, converters and in-transit operators.
Franchise and independent motor vehicle dealers may apply for metal dealer's license plates for the type of vehicles the dealer is licensed to sell. For example, a dealer who is licensed to sell only cars and light trucks may use its dealer plate only on a car or light truck in the dealer’s inventory and not on a motorcycle or trailer the dealer may own.
In-Transit plates are issued by the department to licensed drive-a-way operators who transport vehicles from a manufacturer or other point of origin to a dealer.
Only one plate is issued for these types of plates and the plate is displayed in the rear license plate holder of the vehicle in most cases. The plate expires when the license expires. During the license renewal process, the licensee has the option to renewing their existing plates. If a plate is renewed, the department will issue a new year sticker to be affixed to the plate.
Metal Plate Uses
Dealer Uses Include:
- On vehicles being used for demonstration or test drives
- On vehicles used by the dealer, the dealer’s family or employees for personal use
- On courtesy vehicles used by the dealer if there is no signage on the vehicle
Converter Uses Include:
- On vehicles the converter is demonstrating or test-driving
- On vehicles being driven by the converter to and from the franchised dealer that sells the vehicle
Vehicles with Dealer’s or Converter’s Plates
- MUST have a current inspection
- CANNOT display signs on the vehicle
- CANNOT be used on a vehicle carrying a load or performing services for the dealer, such as carrying parts or operating as a rental unit (There is a special provision under the law for independent dealers carrying vehicles to and from the auction.)
- MUST have the title assigned to the dealer
Questions about the proper use of dealer, manufacturer, converter and in-transit plates should be referred to the TxDMV’s Enforcement Division.
License Plate Log
The law requires a dealer/converter to maintain a record of all metal plates and each vehicle assigned a license plate. The log shall consist of:
- the assigned plate number;
- the year/make of the vehicle displaying the plate;
- the vehicle identification number; and
- the name of the person in control of the vehicle.
Dealers are limited in the number of plates they may order depending on the type of license issued and the number of vehicles sold.
If you are ordering metal dealer plates with your application for a new license, make sure you do not order more than the number allowed by law. These numbers depend on the license type.
Exemptions to these plate limits for new applications may apply if the license applicant is:
- a franchised dealership that has been subject to a buy-sell agreement, regardless of a change in the entity or ownership, or
- any dealership that relocates and has been licensed for a period of one year or more.
When renewing, the number of license plates you may renew includes the number of plates you received with your license.
For example, if you are a franchised motor vehicle dealer and you received five plates when you first received your license, then you may receive up to 25 additional plates upon renewal for a total of 30. If you are a franchised motor vehicle dealer and you did not receive any plates when you first received your license, then you may receive up to 30 license plates upon renewal.
Plate Allocation Summary Table
|License Type||New Application Allowance||Total Allowed with Renewal|
|Independent motor vehicle dealer||2||3|
|Independent motorcycle dealer||2||3|
|Franchised motor vehicle dealer||5||30|
|Franchised motorcycle dealer||5||10|
|Franchised or independent travel trailer dealer||2||3|
|Utility trailer or semi-trailer dealer||2||3|
|Independent mobility motor vehicle dealer||2||3|
If it is renewal time and you have already reached the maximum allowed plates, you may submit a VIT document or other proof of sales with your renewal application to receive additional plates. *VIT must be submitted each time with the renewal.*
|If you are a non-wholesale dealer who sold this many vehicles according to VIT or other proof of sales||Then you may receive this many additional plates|
|Fewer than 50||1|
|50 to 99 vehicles||2|
|100 to 200 vehicles||5|
|More than 200 vehicles||May obtain any number of metal dealer plates at dealer’s discretion.|
|If you are a wholesale dealer||Then you may receive one (1) additional plate, regardless of how many vehicles you sell.|
A licensed motor vehicle dealer may obtain a personalized metal dealer license plate.
Cost: $85 per year/ plate
Plates are issued on a two-year basis and expire with the dealer’s license.
Mail a completed application, documentation, and fee to your county tax office.
Mail renewal form, documentation, and fee to your county tax office.
Dealer plate allocation rules apply and documentation must be submitted to MVD before personalized plates will be approved