SxSs and UTVs (Side-by-Side, Utility Task Vehicle, or Utility Terrain Vehicle) have gained popularity in recent years as a versatile (and exceptionally fun) way to explore the outdoors. These vehicles are also commonly used for work purposes, such as on farms or construction sites. While UTVs offer many benefits, it's important to know the laws and regulations surrounding their use. This is especially important when it comes to whether or not a UTV or SxS can be registered as street-legal, as this varies from state to state.
SxSs vs ATVs
SxSs, also known as side-by-sides or UTVs, are off-road quadricycle vehicles designed for work and recreation. They typically have a side-by-side seating arrangement, like a car, and can be used for a variety of tasks such as hauling cargo, plowing snow, or navigating tough terrain. UTVs are often compared to ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), but unlike ATVs, UTVs have a roll cage or cab to protect the occupants, making them safer to drive at higher speeds or on more challenging terrain.
There are several types of UTVs, including those designed for utility work, recreation, or racing. Some popular UTV brands include Polaris, Can-Am, and Yamaha. While SxSs & UTVs are primarily designed for off-road use, Montana allows UTVs to be driven on-road as long as they are correctly registered and meet certain requirements - with the added benefit of no sales tax or annual registration fees.
Street Legal SxSs & UTVs
Street-legal UTVs can be driven on public roads legally, bringing your fun to the next level and giving you the chance to show off your SxS to the world! Each state has its own laws and regulations. Common requirements include proper lighting systems, rearview mirrors, a horn, and a windshield. When registering your street-legal SxS in Montana, there are no vehicle inspections and no emissions tests required.
In Montana, SxSs can be registered for both street-legal and off-road use. At LLCTLC, we offer an affordable Street Legal SxS Package that includes setting up a Montana LLC and the fees for plates, title, and street-legal registration for your UTV/SxS. This means that your UTV will be street-legal and permanently registered, so there are no annual vehicle renewal fees from your state of residence. If you’re purchasing your side-by-side new, you’ll also avoid paying any sales or county taxes on the vehicle, because Montana is a sales-tax-free state.
LLCTLC renewal fees of only $165 are due every January, which includes our registered agent fees for the year and the filing of your annual report as required by the Montana Secretary of State’s office to keep your LLC active and make sure your UTV stays street-legal and available for your enjoyment.
Non-Street-Legal SxSs & UTVs
A UTV that is not street-legal is one that cannot legally be driven on public roads. This means that they can only be used for off-road purposes, such as on private property or designated off-road trails. Even non-street legal UTVs may still need to be registered depending on your state and the intended use, and have certain safety equipment. For example, in Montana, UTVs used off-road must have a state-approved muffler system with a maximum volume of 96 db(A), a spark arrester, and helmets are required for occupants younger than 18.
It's important to note that these laws can vary widely from state to state, so it's essential to research the laws in your particular state before taking your UTV out, on or off-road. If your SxS is registered in Montana, your UTV can be used for both on AND off-road use.
Where Can SxSs be Street-Legal & Where Can They Be Driven?
Where can SxSs be legally driven on public roads?
A SxS or UTV registered in Montana as street-legal can be driven on public roads in every state, independent of whether that state’s own laws allow for street-legal registration of SxSs.
Where can SxSs be registered as street-legal?
We’ll go through the lists of exactly which states allow what, but here’s the ten-thousand-foot view:
Most states don’t allow for residents to register their SxSs for street use at all.
Others allow street-legal registration, but with restrictions.
Montana has some standout qualities among the remaining states which do allow for street-legal registration of your UTV: no sales tax, no inspections, and easy-to-meet registration requirements.
In a blog, we can’t cover all the legal ins and outs of what’s legal and where. Talk to our registered agents today and get everything you need to know about registering your vehicle in Montana!
States Where UTVs Cannot Be Registered for On-Road Use
SxSs and UTVs cannot be registered in these states as street-legal, and it's illegal to drive them there - unless you register your SxS in a state like Montana:
District of Columbia
Registering your SxS in Montana does more than save on sales tax - though that’s reason enough for most of our clients to take advantage of our Street Legal SxS package. A Montana registration for your SxS or UTV enables you to drive on public roads even in the states above, where you could never enjoy your SxS on the road using in-state registration.
Depending on the state, your SxS may be used legally off-road. Many of these states allow UTVs to be used off-road on designated trails, public lands, and OHV areas. Some states have specific laws and regulations for off-road UTV use, such as equipment requirements and age restrictions.
States Where SxSs & UTVs are Only Street-Legal in Some Cities or Counties
In Colorado and Indiana, UTVs are only street-legal in specific cities or counties. It's important to check the specific laws and regulations in each of these areas before driving your UTV on public roads. Again, with a Montana registration for your SxS, you can enjoy your vehicle on-road anywhere in these states as well.
States Where Street-Legal UTVs Can Be Registered
Here’s the list of states where SxS owners are able to apply for street-legal registration of their side-by-side, though regulations can vary widely:
In the 21 states listed above, UTVs can be driven on public roads when registered, but each state has its own specific laws and regulations for registration. Not surprisingly, these requirements can be hard or cost-prohibitive to meet.
In Montana, however, street-legal UTVs must only have:
Proper lighting and reflectors
Montana has the added benefit that no vehicle inspections or emissions tests are needed to enjoy your SxS nationwide - not to mention we enjoy no sales tax or annual registration fees.
Why LLCTLC Offers Montana Registration For Your Street-Legal SxSs
It's important to note that the laws and regulations for UTV use can vary significantly from state to state, even among the states where UTVs are street-legal. Montana is exceptionally friendly for SxS enthusiasts because of our unique combination of regulations (or lack of them).
That’s why LLCTLC offers street-legal SxS registration in Montana, using the state’s great benefits:
No Vehicle Inspections
Licensed For On-Road & Off-Road Use
No Emissions Tests
No Sales Tax
No annual vehicle renewals
Getting Started with Your SxS
At LLCTLC, we understand the importance of having a properly registered and street-legal UTV. Our Street Legal UTV (Street Legal SxS) Package includes a Montana LLC set-up and the fees for the plates, title, and street-legal registration for your UTV/SxS. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you save money on registering your UTV and ensuring it's street-legal.