Register & Title a Motorcycle in Tennessee

Register & Title a Motorcycle in Tennessee

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This page will cover the street legal requirements and registration and title process in Tennessee and provide some tips on how to register if you bought the motorcycle without a title.

Tennessee Title & Inspection Requirements for Old Motorcycles

  • Does Tennessee have an equipment/safety inspection?
    • Not required.
  • Does Tennessee require VIN Inspections for motorcycles bought out of state?
    • VIN Inspection not required.

Does Tennessee require a title for old motorcycles?

  • Required for all motorcycles.
tennessee motorcycle registration & title

Title and Register a Motorcycle in Tennessee

You’ll need to provide the following:

  • Signed over title.
    • Bill of sale and old registration if bought in a state that doesn’t issue titles.
  • Registration and title fees.
  • Proof of ID and residency.
  • Affidavit of Non-Dealer Transfer may be required.

Notarization Required on the following documents in Tennessee:

  • Bill of sale.

Registering a Motorcycle in Tennessee without a Title

Option 1: Bikes from Tennessee

Before sale is complete, ask previous owner to get a duplicate title:

Option 2: Bikes from out of state

If the motorcycle was bought in a state that requires motorcycle titles:

Option 3: Register in a No-Title State

Register the bike in a non-title, no residency requirement, mail-in registration application state, such as Vermont.

Tennessee Street Legal Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

Tennessee requires street legal motorcycle to have:

  • Rearview mirrors.
  • Passenger footrest when riding with a passenger.
  • Daytime headlights.
  • Brake light flash regulations.

This information was correct at the time of writing it, but state laws are subject to change.

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5 Replies to “Register & Title a Motorcycle in Tennessee”

  1. How does one register a scratch built custom motorcycle? Assuming it utilized DOT approved components, such as brakes, lights, wheels and tires, but had a custom frame and electric drivetrain. Where could one find the specific requirements for say min/max heights of lighting, license plates, rider location, that sort of thing?

  2. Bought a junked old Honda Dream motorcycle. It was in a broken down shed and the owner of the shed had no idea where it came from or how it got there, other than it had been there for many many years. Terrible shape. I bought it. After a lot of time, money, and effort, it now runs. Runs pretty good actually. It is structurally sound. All safety stuff works, lights, brakes, horn, etc. I don’t have a title. The man at the shed I mentioned has no idea of the last owner or where the bike was last registered and titled. I live in Tennessee. I bought the bike in another state. I want to ride this thing. How do I get a Title (rebuilt, salvage, or whatever it is called)?

    1. Hi Samuel – that sounds like a great project. Tennessee does have a procedure for abandoned vehicles (https://www.tn.gov/revenue/title-and-registration/vehicle-titling—registration/vehicle-titling/abandoned–immobile-or-unattended-vehicles.html), however, it doesn’t seem like that’s exactly what you need/want in this situation. Check out the titling & registration procedure for Vermont to see if that could work for you. You can mail in your VT application and transfer it to Tennessee at a later date.

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