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Wood splitter - do they need to be registered with MVA?

Post in 'The Gear' started by fabsroman, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    I am going to be towing my dad's splitter pretty soon and am wondering if it needs to be titled and registered with plates for me to do so. I live in Maryland and the code is about as clear as mud regarding this. A trailer is classified as something designed to transport people or property. I think I can get around that definition with the wood splitter, but I am wondering what the rest of you are doing. Obviously, opinions from people in Maryland, my state, would be really appreciated, but I would like to hear from everybody else that is out of state.

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  2. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    In Ohio. We do not need tags/title. The Splitter is so small, that you can see the brake lights. How far are you towing it. Most splitters recommend that you dont go over 45 MPH. If going a fair distance (I'd say over 15 miles. IMO), then I would actually put the splitter on a traler itself.
  3. KB007

    KB007 Feeling the Heat

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    Check the tires - mine say something like "not for use over 5MPH or on public roads. I agree with Dexterday - put it on a trailer if you can.
  4. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I don't Know the laws of your state But I would put a slow moving vehicle sign on it and call it good. If going far with it put it on a trailer.
  5. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    I have always gone by the "see the brake lights" rule too.
    Those little 2 wheel car tow dollies never have a tag.
    Nor do air compressors or paving rollers.
    Maybe you could check with one of the rental joints around. I think Sunbelt is in Jessup. ABC Rentals in Laurel used to be the perfect place for me, but they've moved away now. They would certainly know.
    Note also that I've never seen a tag holder/light on a splitter. Seems like if it was required the manufacturer would install it.

    BTW, is that splitter capable of high speed towing? If not, and you plan on small roads only, you may never see a cop.
    Hope that helps some.
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    To my knowledge . . . no registration or license plate is needed for a splitter here in Maine . . . but like others I also would not tow a splitter around on public roads any more than I have to . . . small tires, no suspension and a narrow beam = not good for the splitter.
  7. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Pretty sure Michigan requires a one time license and registration fee and plate.
    Mine came with lights and the plate bracket.
    Might be on the tires, but I remember somewhere on mine saying nothing over 35 mph.
    Edit: forgot to mention, only when used on public roads. Oops.
  8. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    I don't know about your state; I recently went on C/L score and took my splitter, I usually only pull it around my place with lawnmower for past 2 1/2 yrs. Anyway I was hooking up and happen to notice the wheels looked kind of funny, and shook them and they were loose. I jacked it up and removed the caps the nut that holds bearing were way too loose and there were no greese and never had been any in either bearing, I packed the bearrings and went on I am glad I noticed this, It would not have made the trip.

    As far as speed , when you are pulling a small wheeled trailer, just look at tow vehickle tires compared to splitter, If you are going 60 mph just how fast are those little bitty tires spinning 120- 200 mph I dont know maybe faster.

    Anyway I don't use a tag here in Va. And check them wheel bearings everyone, don't assume that they did it at assembly.
  9. maplewood

    maplewood Minister of Fire

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    I know I'm across the border... but here in New Brunswick it's a no-go for non-licensed.
    We have to either register and plate it, or put it on a legal vehicle.
    Happy burning.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Rather than taking chances on license or on the actual towing on the highway, why not be safe and load it onto a trailer that is meant to be towed on the road?
  11. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    Yep, all the advice about using a trailer is duly noted. Just wondering what the case would be if I towed it on the local roads around me. I never really intended to take it on the interstate. For instance, there is a farm down the road from me about 5 miles that I will probably be getting wood from. Instead of loading rounds into the truck or onto a trailer and breaking my back even more, I figured I might as well tow the trailer down there and split the wood first. Of course, I could tow it down there on the trailer, split all the wood and bring the wood back on the trailer, and throw the splitter in the back of the truck. Too many options.

    Now, with that said, my dad has towed his splitter 30+ miles at a time. Granted, no interstate driving and no high speeds, but he has towed it a ways to split wood.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Well, I've also towed my splitter a couple miles behind the atv. No harm done but I did not drive fast either.
  13. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    If the splitter wasn't meant to be towed at all, then why put a hitch coupler on it? Probably just meant to be towed around a property and not on the streets. I'll have to look over an owner's manual eventually. You would think that if you put some real tires on it, that you could at least tow it without problem on the local roads.

    I never thought that cutting, splitting, and hauling wood could get this technical. Whenever I used to do it, I just went with the equipment supplied by my dad. Now that I am doing it for myself, I am learning a ton about everything. Different chains for saws. I always thought they were all the same except for bar length. 8,000 saw choices. Seasoning wood. Not only are chains for saws different, but the angles, etc. are different for sharpening. My brother never registered his 5x10 trailer, so I have to file a Writ of Mandamus in Circuit Court to have a title issued to him so he can register it and get some license plates for it. The list goes on and on. Of course, I am one of these guys that once I get involved in something, I want to know everything about it and how to do it right. Looks like I will be learning a lot more over the next couple of years. Never knew that wood needed to be seasoned to 20% moisture content or less. Never even knew they sold something to measure the moisture content in wood.

    Going to try the uncovered wood stack this year and see how it fairs. My neighbor has the top of his stacks covered with a blue tarp.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hold on fabsroman. It is not all that bad. You can burn wood and do it all in a very uncomplicated way. Heck, I know of people who hardly have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out and they burn wood every winter and stay nice and warm. I know people who haul their wood using their lawn mowers and a small trailer to pull behind it. Some of them use the cheapo saws that the big box stores sell and burn wood in very cheap stoves. They seem to get along fine.

    Rather than trying to learn everything, how about taking one step at a time? Just like learning what different type trees are. It is mind boggling if one tries to learn them all. I've been at this for more time than most on this forum and there are trees on my own property that I do not know what they are! However, if I get curious enough I will surely find out.....but take it one at a time.

    This is not really all that complicated so long as one does not want to make it complicated.

    Good luck.


    Oh yes, I hate blue tarps.
  15. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    Yes They are made to tow, My comment was check wheel bearings about the same as alot of boat trailers, I have towed my splitter on hy. 60 mph no problem, I would say if you needed a tag it would be set up with lights and a title when purchased,
  16. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    I am the type of person that jumps into things with two feet. I learn almost everything I can about it, and then move on to learning about something else. I am intrigued about how things work and about doing things as efficiently as possible. However, I continue to keep up with the other things I have learned about so I don't fall behind the times. I am one of those technical geek types. I love spreadsheets too.

    Yes, I understand that people out there heat their homes with wood and do it the uncomplicated way. Thing is, I have all of 8 trees on my 2 acres. Four of them are pines, two are weeping willows, one is a maple, and the last one I have no clue about. Now, I have about 6 maple saplings coming up from around the big maple, but that is because this house has not been maintained for 7+ years. It was a foreclosure that we bought in February. Furnace and AC are 24 years old (i.e., the original when the house was built). The first owner was an elderly lady and she passed away in 2003. The next owner bought it from the estate in 2005 and he was foreclosed on in late 2009. The neighbors say he barely ever mowed the grass.

    Anyway, we are thinking about cutting down the large maple because it overhangs the driveway, and planting 2 or 3 of the maple saplings along the driveway. In another 15+ years, we will cut those down too and replant them. I don't really want any big trees by the house.

    The plan regarding firewood is to get is from some farms that I have permission to hunt on and from some tree service companies that I have connections with. Who knows what is going to pan out. Essentially, I want to be able to get in there, cut up what I need, and get out of there. Ideally, I would like to get a cord and a half to two cords per day with the help of my dad and possibly a brother or two. I don't want to spend the rest of my life cutting, splitting, hauling, and stacking wood. However, if I can save $1,500 to $3,000 a year on our heating bill, I will do it as long as I am not swamped with legal/CPA work. Makes no sense to cut firewood when I can be earning $155 an hour. With that said, the summers and winters are usually my slow times.
  17. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Fabsroman, You can allways buy the firewood and still save money. If you don't like cutting wood and can make $155 / hr. I would just buy it. Or just work a few extra days and burn the oil.
    When is your busy time ?
  18. -PB-

    -PB- New Member

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    in MD a log splitter is considered "farm equipment"

    Maryland Vehicle Law Annotated
    TA 11-120 Farm equipment
    (a) in general- "farm equipment"means a vehicle that:
    (3) is designed and adapted for splitting firewood.

    no registration needed

    TA 22-204 Tail lamps, etc.
    (g) Special mobile equipment (such as "farm equipment") that is being drawn at the end of a combination of vehicles is not required to be equipped with tail lamps unless:
    (1) the special mobile equipment obstructs the tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals, or, except for the regisrtation plate lamp, any lamps of the towing vehicle required by law to be visible from the rear; or
    (2) the special mobile equipment extends more than 12 feet from the rear of the vehicle.

    TA 22-205 Reflectors.
    (a) any special mobile equipment being towed, shall cary on the rear, two or more red reflectors meeting the requirements of this section.
    (b) placement, visibility. reflectors will be mounted on vehicle not more than 60 inches nor less than 15 inches as to be visible at night from all distances within 600 feet. When two reflectors are required they shall be as widely spaced laterally as practicable.

    Translation:
    As long as you don't have a huge splitter, slap some big red reflectors on the back of it and you will be fine.
    Hope this helps.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like a good plan to me. Go for it!
  20. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    That helps a ton. I looked the code over last night and found the exception for farm equipment. However, I could not figure out whether a log splitter was considered farm equipment. I got too tired before I found the definition for farm equipment. Your interpretation sounds dead on. I am going to buy some red reflectors and feel good about towing the splitter on the road. I'm going to check the tires for their road worthiness too.
  21. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    I do a lot of tax prep, so my really busy time is from mid January to the day tax returns are due, which is usually April 15th. I get a little busy during the early fall when extensions are due.

    It isn't that I don't like cutting wood. I don't like being unproductive. I try to get things done as quickly as possible so I can move on to the next task. Do I love cutting wood? Nope. Do I hate it? Nope. I do it to save money when I am not so busy with work. Obviously, if I am so busy with work that I cannot get to cut wood, I will use the natural gas backup that we are getting with the furnace or I will just buy the wood from somebody.

    I will say that I do enjoy spending the time with my dad cutting the wood. What I do not enjoy is waking up sore the next morning, or watching my dad reach across a log that I am in the process of cutting so he can try to keep the gap from pinching. If the saw kicked back, he would have possibly lost his left arm. I was so pissed at him on Sunday for doing that, that I actually yelled at him about it. He was always the safety police when we were younger. Now, it looks like that is my job.

    I like doing home improvements, gardening, auto/equipment repairs, etc. because there is a finished product. I can look at the wood stack and see what I have accomplished. My work product from my actual work in legal/tax doesn't really provide a tangible product, but it does pay pretty well. If I was so busy that I was billing 2,000+ hours a year, you can bet that I would not be cutting wood. Another thing I look forward to is teaching my kids about hard work. It does not hurt for them to know how to do some of this stuff.

    FYI - I'm not hunting, fishing, shooting, or cycling quite as much as I did prior to having kids four years ago. Since buying a single family home 6 months ago, I find myself doing a heck of a lot more chores around the house. Wouldn't change anything because I am really happy. I'm happy with the wood stack and the chain saws too, and all the knowledge that I have gained over the past month.

    Now, if I win the lottery or have 2,000 billable hours a year, then wood cutting would fall off the list of things to do well before spending time with my family and hunting, shooting, fishing, and cycling.
  22. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    I have towed many a splitter here in MD, even the rentals are towable with no registration. That being said when I bought my trailer last year I now put the splitter in the trailer, much easier and you can drive faster.

    With towing the splitter any little bump in the road and that thing would jump a couple feet up when your going 30mph+. On this side of the bridge we have many a back road you can putt putt down, I wouldn't recommend towing that splitter down 95.
  23. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    I'm afraid many of the non-MD, DE readers will not understand the gravity of this statement ;).

    Years ago, we visited a stove shop on Kent Island, (Backyard Billy's, I think it was); had a long and enjoyable look at a Regency. When the guy asked where it would be going, and we indicated the Western Shore, he became a bit speechless and I thought he might faint. I think/hope he was just having fun.
  24. bfunk13

    bfunk13 Minister of Fire

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    I recently found out in Wyoming ANYTHING towed behind a vehicle on city streets needs title and tags.
    I built my own splitter and would need to have it inspected, send away for a VIN # have it inspected again to verify
    vin is welded or stamped into frame then registered and tagged. BS!
  25. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I think you need plates for Maine.

    What my Dad did, was got a plate that is registered as a homebuilt trailer. It covers 3 or 4 trailers he has and the splitter... everything put the camper. We would just swap the plate to whatever is getting towed. Probably not "right" but at least it had a plate.

    I know years back he had got hassled with the splitter for not having fenders on it, just open tires. The thing sees like 20 miles a year... wrong place wrong time I guess.

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