Military vehicles are unique from any car you are used to seeing driving down the highway. For military enthusiasts in Idaho who are eager to drive their military vehicles on the streets, it’s important to first ask, “Is it legal?”
Military vehicles can be driven on the streets of Idaho. Like other vehicles, these automobiles require valid registration and license plates before use on public roadways. The type of registration needed and the frequency it needs renewed depends on factors such as the vehicle’s intended use.
If you are looking at buying a military vehicle or already have one of your own, the next step is to get it street legal. Here you will learn about the different types of military vehicle registrations and how to get your new transportation street legal.
Idaho Registration Laws
Registering a military vehicle in Idaho is actually fairly easy. This is because of a code added in 2018 by the state legislature.
Section 49-458 of the Idaho code states that military vehicles can be used on public roads so long as it is registered. While some may argue these vehicles are not safe for civilian use, the Idaho code explains that military vehicles were built to the Department of Defense’s military safety standards.
Read the Section 49-458 here!
Because military vehicles meet this code they are then deemed safe for use on public roads.
Registering a military vehicle only requires a federal form 97. This form simply states that you as the owner can obtain a title to the vehicle. In light of this event, you can apply for a conditional title.
A conditional title is issued when you do not have the normal documents proving ownership. These documents include the previous title or a bill of sale. To determine if you need a form 97 or a conditional title contact your county assessor.
Learn more about conditional titles from the Idaho Transportation Department here!
After getting the proper documents, take them to your local DMV to complete the registration process. Other steps may be needed depending on your intended use of the vehicle.
For example, those looking to convert their military vehicle into a recreational vehicle (RV) will need to get two registrations. Military vehicles converted to RVs must be registered as both a military vehicle and an RV. This registration needs to be renewed every year.
If you plan on using the military vehicle as an off-roading vehicle, you need to get an off-road sticker from the DMV. This sticker needs to be renewed each year and only costs about $12.
Learn more about registration laws from DMV.org here!
How to Buy Military Vehicles
Before you register your military vehicle you need to purchase one first. While this may sound like a difficult task it is actually quite simple.
There are a few ways that you can buy a military vehicle, from a government-affiliated auction site or a private party.
Another option is to purchase a military vehicle from a custom builder. These vehicles generally cost more than the other two options but allows you to purchase a military vehicle that has been modified to meet civilian needs.
Check out Plan B Trucks to learn more about custom military vehicles.
Purchasing a military vehicle from a private party may come at a lower price tag than through an auction site; however, this lower price tag may be accompanied by some questionable results.
Private sellers frequently do not have the proper military documents needed to title the vehicle. Without these documents, you will need to jump through some of the DMV’s hoops to get a conditional title.
If possible, ask the seller if they can obtain the title before selling it to you. If they bought the vehicle from an auction site they can easily request the proper documents. However, if they bought the vehicle from a private seller who does not have the tile or form 97, they will have to jump through the hoops to get a conditional title.
Another thing to consider when purchasing a military vehicle from a private seller is if it is stolen or not. If possible, get the VIN number from the seller and check with the DMV for the vehicle’s legal status.
If you want to go the less shady route to purchase a military vehicle, then auction sites like GovPlanet, Tradequip, and IronPlanet are the best route to follow.
Once you have found the vehicle you want to purchase, simply place a bid until you win! This may take a few tries before a vehicle sells within your price range, but do not give up if the first few auctions do not work out.
After you win an auction you will be required to fill out paperwork similar to that of a background check. This is simply to prove you are not looking to use the vehicle for any illegal purposes.
The next step is to get the proper paperwork. Some auction sites may include the SF97 or bill of sale with the purchase, but others will charge you an additional fee for these documents.
Although you may be tempted to save a few bucks by opting out of these documents, I highly advise against it. Without these documents, it will be extremely difficult to register your new vehicle. So get the documents and save yourself some time and money in the long run.
Now that the vehicle is officially yours, you need to work with the military to transport the vehicle from the base and to you. This process may take a bit more time due to the policies the military must follow when selling vehicles.
Once your plans for moving the vehicle are approved by the military, you can finally bring your vehicle home and get it ready to drive around Idaho. While this process is less questionable than buying from a private owner it can take much more time. It can take more than six months between the end of the auction and when you get possession of the vehicle in some cases.