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Tow/Recovery Vehicles

Tow vehicle is defined in ORS 801.530.

You do not need a tow/recovery business certificate and registration if you are helping another motorist, as long as it is not for business purposes.

You need a tow/recovery business certificate and registration (ORS 822.200) if you:

  • Tow or recover vehicles, other than vehicles you own, for compensation;
  • Tow or recover vehicles that are wrecked, damaged, disabled, or abandoned, or replacement vehicles as part of your business; or
  • Solicit or advertise that you perform towing services. (OAR 735-154-0000).

If the combined weight is 26,000 pounds or less, DMV issues title and registration. If the combined weight is over 26,000 pounds, or the vehicle has prorate registration, the Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD) issues registration.

DMV issues license plates to all tow/recovery vehicles for identification, regardless of whether they are registered with DMV or MCTD.  MCTD and DMV both issue license plates if the vehicle is registered with MCTD. Both sets of license plates issued must be displayed on the vehicle.

Each tow/recovery vehicle must have:

  • Valid registration (with MCTD or DMV);
  • Insurance coverage for $50,000 cargo and $750,000 liability per accident; and
  • A tow/recovery business certificate and tow/recovery plates from DMV.

Apply for tow/recovery title, registration, tow business certificate and/or plates.

Out-of-State Tow/Recovery Vehicles
There are different requirements for out-of-state tow/recovery businesses towing in Oregon.  Each tow/recovery vehicle must have:
  • Valid prorated registration (apportioned registration, international registration plan, IRP);
  • Insurance coverage for $50,000 cargo and $750,000 liability per accident;
  • A tow/recovery business certificate and tow/recovery plates from DMV; and
  • A temporary pass from the Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD), if the vehicle has a combined weight (empty vehicle weight plus the total weight of the load) over 26,000 pounds.