Wisconsin Car Inspection

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Wisconsin doesn’t require statewide inspections, but depending on where you live, your county may require that you undergo a free biennial emissions inspection.
Emissions inspections help us understand the impact that modern vehicles have on the environment. During an inspection, an expert won’t just look at your exhaust system—but also carefully analyze your car’s diagnostics, like the Check Engine Light. 
The car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has broken down everything you need to know about car inspections in Wisconsin to ensure your vehicle matches up with state law.

What are the vehicle inspection requirements in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, an on-board diagnostic (OBDII) test is required for vehicles in the following counties:
  • Sheboygan
  • Washington
  • Ozaukee
  • Waukesha
  • Milwaukee
  • Racine
  • Kenosha
If you live in one of these counties, testing is required every time you renew your registration (every two years) and whenever there is a change of ownership—although the latter only applies if your vehicle is more than five years old.
If you buy a vehicle in Wisconsin, transfer a vehicle’s title in Wisconsin, or transfer an out-of-state vehicle’s title and registration to Wisconsin, you will have 45 days to get an emissions inspection.
Key Takeaway While Wisconsin doesn’t require stateside emissions inspections, seven counties do. To ensure your compliance with state law, check whether your vehicle is due for an inspection and make an appointment that fits your window.
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Exceptions to the state requirements

The following vehicles are entirely exempt from emissions testing:
  • Diesel vehicles made before the 2006 model year
  • Gasoline vehicles made before the 1996 model year
  • Vehicles manufactured after 1996 that are not OBDII-compliant
  • Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Vehicles weighing more than 14,000 lbs
  • Farm-registered trucks
  • Electric vehicles
  • Non-motorized vehicles
  • Service vehicles with a 16-plus seating capacity
  • Specially designed vehicles or those with Medal of Honor registration

Where to get a car inspection in Wisconsin

You can get an emissions inspection at an official inspection facility in one of the seven counties where emissions inspections are required. The Wisconsin Vehicle Inspection Program (WIVIP) publishes a list of inspection facility locations.

How often do you need a car inspection?

In counties that uphold the emission testing requirements, you complete an emission inspection at the time of registration renewal—every two years. Inspections must also take place whenever a vehicle experiences a change of ownership.
New vehicles under five model years old do not need an emissions inspection.

Finding affordable car insurance 

I’m sure you've heard our spiel about car insurance before, so just for you, Wisconsin resident, we’ll try to avoid being overly cheesy.
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No, as the seller, you won’t need to complete an inspection before letting go of your vehicle. But, depending on your county, the buyer may need to complete an emission inspection within 45 days of the ownership transfer.
In Wisconsin, an emissions inspection is entirely free for the driver—with no additional fees or hidden costs, regardless of the location.

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