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Nevada DMV cracking down on ‘classics’

Updated December 19, 2022 - 7:41 am

If you’ve seen a car driving around with a classic vehicle plate and thought, “That’s not a classic,” you could be right.

Since vehicles with classic rod, classic vehicle, old timer or old timer motorcycle plates aren’t required to get an annual smog check for registration renewals, some motorists with older — yet not exactly classic — cars have been taking advantage of the system to skirt the smog check requirement.

But that’s about to change as beginning Jan. 1, drivers of older vehicles who apply for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles’ classic license plates will face new regulations.

Under legislation passed in 2021, cars and trucks with the various classic vehicle plates will not be allowed to be used for general transportation purposes and will be limited to being driven no more than 5,000 miles a year. That breaks down to about 417 miles per month.

The average American drove 13,476 miles a year, according to a May U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration report. That amounts to about 1,123 miles a month.

Those looking to register vehicles as classic cars will also be required to present verification of classic or antique vehicle insurance. There are age and historical value requirements to receive such insurance and, similar to the new regulation, vehicles can’t be driven over 5,000 miles in a year.

Classic vehicles will be allowed to be driven for club activities, exhibitions, tours and parades and to obtain required maintenance and service for the vehicle.

A classic vehicle must be at least 25 years old with no modifications made to it before its owner applies for registration. A classic rod plate requires a vehicle to be manufactured no earlier than 1949, but at least 20 years before the time of registration. An old timer plate requires a vehicle to be over 40 years old before the date of the registration application. Vehicles that meet all the requirements for one of the classic plates will remain exempt from emissions testing.

However, the car’s owner will have to submit an odometer certification at the time of registration or renewal.

Renewals for classic license plates can be done in person, by mail or via fax at 775-684-4797. A payment authorization form must be filled out for mail or fax renewals. The original classic license plate must be obtained in person.

There were 33,309 active registrations for such plates in the state as of Dec. 12. Classic vehicle plates cost $36 initially and $10 at renewal.

“If you have these plates, you need to plan early for your 2023 renewal,” said Kevin Malone, DMV spokesman. “We don’t want anyone to be caught off guard. You will need to have classic vehicle insurance to keep the plates and the smog check exemption. If you can’t get classic vehicle insurance, you will have to get a different plate style and a smog check if it’s required.”

The DMV has been alerting drivers who have such plates about the upcoming change since July, with the information printed on registration renewal notices. The DMV is also advertising in English and Spanish on Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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