Michigan's many lakes and campgrounds offer travelers the opportunity to hitch a travel trailer, boat or RV to their vehicle and head out for an adventure. However, drivers traveling with a trailer in the state must ensure that they are in compliance with all state laws before leaving on a trip with a trailer. Michigan has specific requirements in place for all trailers, as well as additional requirements for trailers of a certain size.
All drivers towing a trailer in Michigan are required to hold a valid driver's license, notes the Michigan Department of State's website. In addition, drivers using a pickup truck to tow a fifth wheel recreational vehicle with a second trailer attached to the back of the RV must have a class "R," or recreational double endorsement, on their Michigan license before towing both vehicles. Drivers must be at least 18 years of age, hold a valid Michigan driver's license and pass a written test to obtain a class "R" endorsement.
Title and Registration
All trailers over 2,500 pounds and all trailer coaches must have a title. When you purchase a trailer in the state, you must complete and submit a title application or transfer, along with current titling fees, to the Secretary of State, within 15 days. Michigan requires all trailers, regardless of weight, to be registered and display a valid license plate. Trailer and trailer coach registration requires a one-time fee based on the trailer's weight. The license plate issued for trailers is permanent and non-transferable.
In Michigan, the law requires that you equip your trailer with at least one working tail light; your trailer tires have a minimum tread of 2/32-inch; and a light illuminates the trailer license plate. All commercial trailers must have mud flaps on the rear wheels. Trailers weighing a minimum of 2,500 pounds must have turn signals and two red or amber rear stop lights that are visible from at least 100 feet during the day and night. Vehicles with a gross weight of under 3,000 pounds must have a single stop light if the trailer's load obscures the stop light on the towing vehicle. All trailers under 3,000 pounds must also have two red rear reflectors.
Requirements for Larger Trailers
Trailers over 3,000 pounds must have one rear stop light and an amber reflector near the front of each side of the trailer with a red reflector near the back of each side. Trailers over 3,000 pounds must also have two amber clearance lights on the front of the vehicle and one on each side, visible from at least 500 feet; a single red clearance light near the rear of each side of the trailer; and two red clearance lights on the back of the trailer. All trailers over 3,000 pounds must be equipped with brakes, while trailers weighing over 5,500 pounds must have brakes strong enough to control the trailer's movement, stop it and hold it.