- Location: Wisconsin
Smog & Emission Checks in WisconsinPage Overview
Vehicles newer than 1996 registered in the following Southern Wisconsin counties must undergo emissions testing when it's time for registration renewal:
The vehicles that are exempt from emissions testing include:
- Diesel-powered vehicles with a model year 2006 and older
- Vehicles manufactured before 1996
- Vehicles manufactured after 1996 that are not OBDII-compliant (must be verified at test station)
- Motorcycles and mopeds
- Vehicles with a registered gross weight over 14,000 pounds
- Trucks with farm registration
- Electric powered vehicles
- Non-motorized vehicles
- School buses and human service vehicles with seating capacity of 16 or more people
- Vehicles registered as special design vehicles, Medal of Honor and apportioned plates
There are many testing sites where you may complete the emissions testing. In addition, Wisconsin does honor emission tests conducted in other states.
Vehicles require an emission test every other year prior to license plate renewal beginning in the third year following the vehicle's model year.
When you arrive at the testing station, you will give your registration renewal notice to the inspector so that he or she can enter your vehicle's information into the computer. You vehicle will then be tested for emissions using one of two testing methods:
- A newer vehicle will be tested via access to the on-board computer system, which will download the vehicle's emissions information to the testing station computer system.
- Older vehicles will be tested by means of a tailpipe test, while the vehicle is driven on a treadmill device known as a dynamometer. This test is conducted while the vehicle goes through a series of driving simulations including driving, deceleration, acceleration, and idling.
After the emissions testing is complete, all vehicles will have a gas cap inspection to make sure that the gas caps are fitted properly.
If the vehicle passes both sections of the testing (emissions and gas cap) the registration can be renewed at the testing facility, or the vehicle owner may opt to renew by telephone or Internet, or in person at a local DMV service center. If you choose to renew in person on later via online or telephone access, you will be issued a certificate for your emissions standards testing results.
If the vehicle fails the emissions portion of the test, the owner will need to make the necessary repairs to bring the vehicle within emissions standards, or, if the gas cap portion is failed, replace the gas cap and have that portion of the test conducted again.
If your vehicle fails two or more emission tests, you could be eligible for a waiver providing:
- Your vehicle passes an equipment inspection test that proves none of the emission control equipment has been modified or removed.
- Emission repair costs exceed the cost limit determined by your vehicle's year model and county in which you reside. The counties of Washington, Ozaukee, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha have a $450 cost limit for all models, regardless of year. In Sheboygan County there's a $75 repair cost limit for vehicles 1980 and older and $200 for vehicles 1981 and newer.
- When reporting to a Waiver Investigator, you provide a completed Vehicle Inspection Report along with itemized receipts of all emission-related parts and labor costs.
- After paying for emission-related repairs and your vehicle (must be 1981 or newer) fails another test, you must provide proof that the repairs were handled by a repair facility recognized by the Wisconsin Vehicle Inspection Program.
- It's proved that the dashboard's illuminated Check Engine Light was not commanded by your vehicle's On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system.
While the state does not offer a direct line for reporting vehicles suspected of violating Wisconsin's emission standards, you can call the Wisconsin Vehicle Inspection Control office at (800) 242-7510 for possible direction.Local Smog Check Stations
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Other Topics in This Section
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- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
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- Smog & Emission Checks