Last Updated on February 1, 2024

If you’re a dune buggy enthusiast in California, you might be wondering how to make your vehicle street legal.

The process involves several steps, from registering your dune buggy as a Specially Constructed Vehicle (SPCNS) to meeting safety and emissions requirements.

You can register your dune buggy as a Specially Constructed Vehicle to make it street legal in California.
You can register your dune buggy as a Specially Constructed Vehicle to make it street legal in California.

To make things easier, you can use a third-party service like Dirt Legal to help you go through the process of making your dune buggy street legal.

Dirt Legal offers a streamlined street legal conversion service for off-road vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

They can help you get a title, registration, and license plate with minimal time and effort on your part.

If you decide to go the DIY route, this is what you should expect the process to look like:

Register as a Specially Constructed Vehicle (SPCNS)

In California, a dune buggy may be considered a Specially Constructed Vehicle (SPCNS), which is a homemade or kit vehicle built for private use.

To register a SPCNS, you will need several documents and meet certain requirements:

  • A completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form.
  • A vehicle verification by an authorized DMV employee.
  • A completed Statement of Construction (REG 5036) form.
  • Bills of sale and/or receipts for major component parts (the engine, frame, transmission, and body).
  • Official Brake and Light Adjustment Certificates.
  • A weight certificate from a California Certified Public Weighmaster, if the vehicle is a pickup or truck.
  • A smog certification.
  • Registration fees.

Safety Requirements

Safety is taken very seriously by the department of transportation. To make your dune buggy street legal, it must meet the following safety requirements:

  • A windshield (required in most states).
  • Working headlights, taillights, and turn signals.
  • Seat belts equipped with a shoulder strap or a five-point harness for every passenger.


Most places require at least an evaporative emissions system for current vehicles.

You can remove the VIN tag from the vehicle that you are using the motor from and register it as that type of vehicle or you can register it as a self-assembled vehicle.

Altered Vehicles

If you change or alter your vehicle’s body and spend more than $2,000 or more on the alterations, or if your alterations place the vehicle in a different weight classification, you must report these alterations to DMV.

Registration and Licensing

Once you’ve met all of the standard safety and emissions requirements for your specific dune buggy, it’s just a matter of insuring your buggy and filling out the proper paperwork.

Please note that these are general guidelines and the exact requirements may vary. It’s always a good idea to check with your local DMV for the most accurate information.

In conclusion, making a dune buggy street legal in California involves a series of steps, from registration to meeting safety and emissions standards.

While the process may seem daunting, with careful planning and attention to detail, you can successfully navigate it and enjoy the thrill of driving your dune buggy on public roads.

For more up-to-date information on the status of ATV regulations in California, please check the Dirt Legal website:

> How To Make Your UTV Street Legal

> Street Legal Registration Services

> Frequently Asked Questions

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Read also: How to Make A Dune Buggy Street Legal: Guide & Kits logo icon

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