Dealer License Plates

Qualifying for Dealer Plates

Licensed dealers and wholesalers may purchase dealer (demonstration) plates from the DMV. The acquisition and use of these plates is limited as listed below: 

  1. The fee for any type of dealer plate is $20.00 per plate.

  2. All dealer plates expire the same month as your dealer license.

  3. Any person who misuses a dealer license plate may be fined $300.00 and forced to forfeit the plate.      

You must meet these requirements to be eligible to purchase these type of plates

Dealer Plates

Wholesale Auto Auction Plates

Heavy Duty Truck Dealer Plates

Motorcycle Plates

1.   Be a licensed dealer or wholesaler

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

2.  Be a licensed wholesale auction

No

Yes

No

No

3.   Maintain garage liability insurance.

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

4.   Sold 20 motor vehicles in the 12 months preceding your application for the plates

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

 

Once the department determines your qualification, you may purchase dealer plates based on the number of vehicles you sold in the preceding 12 months. For the first 20 vehicles you sold, you may purchase two plates.  

  1. Dealers - For every 15 vehicles you sold beyond the first 20, you may purchase one additional plate. 

  2. Auto Auctions - For every 50 vehicles you sold beyond the first 20, you may purchase one additional plate up to a maximum of 75 plates. 

  3. Heavy Duty Truck Dealers - A dealer exclusively selling heavy-duty trucks (16,000 GVW or more) is eligible to obtain truck dealer plates regardless of the number of trucks sold during the previous year.  

The department has the authority to lift the sales requirement if the company has been licensed less than one year.

  

The transfer of ownership between the same individual and/or corporation more than one time is considered only one sale. Multiple transfers of motor vehicles between dealers or auctions for the purpose of meeting eligibility requirements are prohibited.

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Insurance for Dealer Plates

If you purchase dealer plates, you must provide liability insurance information at the time of your licensing and maintain liability insurance throughout the licensing period.

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Restrictions

The use of regular and heavy truck dealer plates is limited to vehicles that are:

  • Owned by the dealership.
  • Assigned to the dealership.
  • Issued to prospective buyers for test-driving purposes.

Vehicles equipped with dealer plates may be driven on SC highways by employees or corporate officers of the dealership.

 

Prospective vehicle buyers may also drive motor vehicles with dealer plates while test driving. If you choose to allow your customer to drive a vehicle, you must provide them with a completed Form MV-38, Motor Vehicle Demonstration Certificate or the equivalent. Prospective buyers are limited to driving vehicles with dealer plates for seven days. When demonstrating or testing heavy trucks, the prospective buyer may use the truck to carry merchandise or cargo for three days. You must provide the customer with a completed Form MV-38 or an obsolete 419-A, Truck Demonstration Certificate will be accepted.

 

Employees and corporate officers who drive vehicles using regular or heavy truck dealer plates must be listed on the dealer license application. This listing must include their name, address and driver license number.

The use of wholesale auction plates is limited to vehicles that are:

  • Owned by the auto auction.
  • Assigned to the auto auction.

Vehicles equipped with wholesale auction plates may be driven by employees or corporate officers of the auto auction if they are listed on the dealer license auto auction application. This listing must include their name, address and driver license number. 

 

Auto auction plates are exclusively for the use of transporting motor vehicles in the course of doing business as a wholesale auto auction and must not be attached permanently.

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Driver Education Vehicle Loans

If a dealer loans a vehicle to a public or private school for use in a driver education program, the department will waive the $20.00 dealer plate fee. The use of a plate for this purpose is not limited. However, when the vehicle ceases to operate as a driver-training vehicle, the dealer plate must be returned to the department.

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