Section 3 of 20

DMV Dealer Continuing Education

Use of Special, Dealer Plates

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Who can use Special (Dealer) Plates?

If the vehicle is in the Dealer’s inventory for sale, the following individuals may operate a vehicle with special plates for any purpose:

(a) A sole owner, a general partner, a manager of a limited liability company, or a corporate officer or director of a Dealer provided that individual is actively engaged in the management and control of the Dealer’s business operations

(b) A general manager, or business manager, or sales manager who is actively engaged in the management and control of the business operations of the Dealer when no other individual meets the criteria in (a) above

(c) A driver -if- an individual identified in section (b) is also in the vehicle.

(d) An unaccompanied adult who regularly resides in the household of individuals identified in section (b) to pick up or drop off that individual.


Additional individuals may operate a vehicle with special plates with limitations:

(a) Employees of a Dealer when they are acting within the course and scope of their employment

(b) Drivers for special event purposes, if they carry a letter of authorization from the Dealer identifying the vehicle, duration location of the event.

(c) A prospective buyer or lessee, to test drive a vehicle, up to seven days.

  • A salesperson is not required to be present
  • If a salesperson is not present, the operator must carry a letter of authorization from the Dealer identifying the vehicle, duration, and authorization to operate the vehicle

(d) Employees of Dealer, who must operate a commercial vehicle in the course of their employment, for the purpose of taking a commercial test drive

A trailer, displaying special plates, may be towed by a vehicle with Vehicle Code authority to operate on the highways


Proper placement of Special Plates

  • Dealer plates must be securely attached to the rear of the vehicle.
  • The plate must either cover or replace the existing license plate.

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