Ask A Trooper

Sgt. Jesse Grabow

Question: I have a small utility trailer and I keep having to replace my license plate because it gets wrecked or torn off when I am traveling. Can I put it sideways on the wheel fender? 

  Answer: If the trailer is 3,000 pounds or less gross vehicle weight (GVW) with lifetime registration, the numbered plate or sticker must be adhered to the side of the trailer frame tongue near the hitch.

  If the trailer is registered at greater than 3,000 pounds GVW, then the license plate can be displayed horizontally or vertically.

  The plate must be securely fastened to prevent them from swaying. The person driving the motor vehicle and pulling a trailer shall keep the plate legible and unobstructed and free from grease, dust or other blurring material (dirt, mud, snow, etc.) so that the lettering is plainly visible at all times. It is unlawful to cover any assigned letters and numbers or the name of the state of origin of a license plate with any material whatever, including any clear or colorless material that affects the plate’s visibility or reflectivity. This also includes obstructing license plate brackets that block the state of issuance and tabs.

  License plates issued to vehicles and trailers must display the month of expiration in the lower left corner of each plate and the year of expiration in the lower right corner of each plate (when the plate is horizontal.)

  A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,