Where and How To Install a Camper License Plate Holder

You will find as you make your way through the RV world, and life, that just about anything that is on the road needs a license. Whether needed or not, licenses add revenue and make sure you are legal with your trailer.

For many 5th wheel trailers, the license plate holder is a couple of tabs underneath the passenger side tail light. Unfortunately, you usually have to supply your own bolts to secure the license plate in position. Sometimes, the dealer will do it for you.

To learn more about license plates and RV trailers, just continue to read our article. it has the information you want to know about so you can put your license plate in the right spot.

Do RV Trailers Need License Plates?


Yes, you do. However, while the regulation is the same, the registration, renewal, and other requirements will differ from state to state. You have to check with your local DOT or DMV to find out those specific regulations.

In some states, you may have your license plate for 5 years but you still have to register the trailer more often than that. This is why knowing your state’s regulation is so important.

While you don’t need to follow all the regulations for all states at the same time, you do need to follow those regulations for the state you do live in. Make the call as soon as possible to get the right information. Do not rely on strangers’ advice.

RV License Plate Holder Options

The DOT regulation is that the license plate is supposed to be illuminated at night and all hours of the night when in motion. that means any license plate holder you get cannot block any tail or other light from illuminating that license plate.

There are a variety of different designs you can get. You can use a similar plate holder that your tow vehicle has or you can use one with two holes that hold the plate in place very securely.

The holder you get will depend on your preference and if they cast a very good light. For ideas, just go to Amazon and see their selection. You can get a good idea of what will fit on your trailer and then go to a nearby store and pick up a cheap option.

Where do You Put The License Plate on a Camper Trailer?


As we said, different states have different regulations. Some states have specific locations for the license plate while others will just say, ‘the rear’. For states like Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Oklahoma, New Mexico, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Indiana, Delaware, and Alabama, they do not say where the license plate should be on a trailer.

Those states only mention where it should be for the vehicle, at least on the chart we saw. All the other states required the license plate to be on the rear of the trailer, but they did not give a specific location for that placement.

Double-check with the state you live in for exact information. Plus, regulations change over the years and new ones are not always reported right away.

Trailer License Plate Location

From our research, this is fairly open when you get your new license. Most states say they simply want it on the rear of the trailer. Some trailers may already come with the license plate location already built-in, so use that location.

Other trailers may not, and it seems you have a little freedom to put the license plate anywhere on the rear of the trailer as long as it is visible, clean, free from obstructions, and well lit up.

Some owners place theirs under the driver’s side tail light while others use the passenger side or their bumper.

RV Bumper License Plate Holder


There doesn’t seem to be any regulation governing the design of the holder. Some owners have used the tabs included in their purchase while others have used similar designs to their cars and tow vehicles.

The only regulation that we have come across on this topic is that the license place needs to be well lit and not hidden. Some owners have cut those tabs off and screwed the license plate directly to their trailer. They placed it under one of their lights as well.

When the running lights are on, the license plate’s light should be on at the same time. Just double-check with your local DMV to see if your state has any further regulations governing this issue. It is best to get the information from the horse’s mouth so there is no confusion. Besides with changing regulations, it is best to be up-to-date.

RV License Plate Screws

There is no regulation governing the use of different screws. Standard nuts and bolts are the most effective and the most secure. There are different designs to them and you just need to pick the ones that you like and put them on your holder.

Some come with a slot so you need to use a flat head screwdriver. While others come smooth and you need to use your finger to hold it in place as you secure the nut. Then some owners have the bolt leg sticking out away from the trailer so it does not scratch the paint.

How you attach the screws is up to you as some owners, as we have said, use regular sharp screws and attach their license plate to the trailer itself. The key here is to make sure the screws or bolts are securely in place and won’t let the plate fall off.

License Plate Bolts For Trailer


Like screws, you can get these bolts in any shape and size you deem is necessary. When you use a bolt it is vital that you use a nut. The nut makes sure everything is bolted in place and not going anywhere.

Bolts tend to be more secure than screws and should not work themselves loose when enduring the vibration of the road. There are no real regulations determining what kind of bolt you can use. You are free to use any number of them as long as they do not obstruct the numbers and letters on the plate.

What the different states say is that the license plates need to be securely fastened which gives you a lot of leeway in how you do it and what hardware you use.

RV Trailer License Plate Bracket

These come in a variety of designs and some of those designs come with their own tail light to make sure the numbers and letters can be read easily. They also come with their own hardware, in most cases, and allow you to install them just about anywhere on the rear of your trailer.

Those with lights come with their own wiring and connectors so you can connect them up to the running lights of the trailer. That way when the lights are on, the license plate light is on as well.

These brackets are found almost anywhere so your difficulty will be finding them at the right price.

How To Mount License Plate on The Trailer


If you use the tabs provided by the brand maker, then you just need to cut the opening out. Then align the hole son the bracket with the hole son the tabs and put your bolts through both.

Once the bolts are in place, you place the nuts on the other side and tighten them up. Make sure to go nice and tight as you want them secure and not flapping in the breeze.

Other installation options would be to drill holes in your bumper and place the brackets there using the same method. There are a variety of methods you can use, so just pick the best one for your trailer design.

RV License Plate Holder Broke

This is a situation you should fix as soon as possible. With a broken license plate holder, you run the risk of losing the plate. If you lose the plate, you may get a ticket for not having a license on the rear of your trailer.

Replacement holders are easy to find so that is not going to be a problem. In the meantime, while you wait for a new holder to arrive, duct tape does wonders.

Some Final Words

Different states have different rules on this topic. It is best to talk to your local DMV office and get all the up-to-date information you can. Your state’s regulations will be accepted by the other states, so you should be fine when you cross state lines.

You do have some freedom in placement as long as the license plate is at the rear of the trailer. You also have some freedom on the holder’s design as well as the hardware holding it in place.

Source for state locations-- https://www.rvia.org/system/files/media/file/License%20Plate%20Placement%20.pdf

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