Emissions testing in Wisconsin is required for different types of vehicles as part of a vehicle inspection. A car emission test is important in terms of checking to see how much pollution the engine or car dispels.

A smog check is performed by a professional, and the outcome will determine whether or not the vehicle is legally able to be on the road. Learn how much smog checks in Wisconsin are and how to find a smog test station by reading the details below.

Wisconsin Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

Emission test requirements are issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as part of the Wisconsin Vehicle Inspection Program, or WIVIP. While emissions testing is not mandatory for everyone, there are certain criteria drivers must meet to be exempt from a test.

Vehicle emissions testing in Wisconsin is dependent on vehicle location and vehicle type. Testing is required if the vehicle is kept in any one of the following southeastern counties:

  • Kenosha, Milwaukee
  • Waukesha
  • Washington
  • Ozaukee
  • Racine
  • Sheboygan

A smog test is also required for specific vehicles, which include automobiles or light trucks between the years of 1996 and 2006, with a gross vehicle weight of up to 8,500 pounds. This requirement excludes diesel vehicles.

Moreover, a smog check is mandatory for automobiles and light trucks from 2007 and older, with a gross vehicle weight of up to 14,000 pounds. This requirement includes diesel vehicles. Other circumstances in which an emissions test may be required includes:

  • The transfer of ownership of a vehicle.
  • The transfer of plates.
  • New plates being issued.
  • Registering the vehicle for the first time in Wisconsin.
  • Renewing a registration.
  • The emissions equipment being tampered with.
  • Cases of vehicle fraud.
  • If you own a specific government vehicle.

Before you can renew your car registration, you must first pass and emissions test. Failure to pass the WI smog test results in the denial of your registration renewal.

Smog Check Exemptions in Wisconsin

Emissions inspections in Wisconsin are not required for every vehicle. Smog test exemptions do not, however, apply to vehicles that have had their emissions equipment tampered with. Inspections can be waived if the vehicle fits the following criteria:

  • Testing is not required for vehicles manufactured prior to 1996, or manufactured after 1996 that are not OBDII-compliant.
  • A smog check in Wisconsin is not necessary for any diesel-powered vehicle model year 2006 and older, or for motorcycles, mopeds, non-motorized vehicles, school buses or human service vehicles.
  • An emission test is not required for electric vehicles.
  • Trucks with farm registration or vehicles weighing over 14,000 pounds are not required to have a smog check.

Out-of-State Emissions Testing in Wisconsin

If a Wisconsin DMV smog check is required and the vehicle owner is out of the state, then he or she has the option to complete the emission extension application, which provides a one-time 30 day temporary extension. To request an extension, a driver will be required to complete an extension application, send a copy of the renewal notice and the registration fee be mailed to the following address:

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Research and Information Unit
P.O. Box 8070
Madison, WI 53708-8070

Emissions Waivers in Wisconsin

If a vehicle continues to fail the emissions test, a waiver for the test may be available. Smog certification waivers in Wisconsin may be applied if the following conditions are met:

  • The vehicle has failed the Wisconsin smog test, as well as the repair and retest.
  • The vehicle passed a waiver emission equipment inspection.
  • The Vehicle Inspection Reports were provided to the Waiver Investigator, along with itemized receipts verifying parts and labor for emission related repair work.
  • The driver must have proof of emission-related repairs from an accredited repair facility.
  • The actual cost of the emission repairs for the vehicle far surpass the repair cost limit.
  • The repair cost limit as of July 1, 2016 is $872 for all model year automobiles.

Testing Fees in Wisconsin

For those wondering how much emission testing is in Wisconsin, the answer is that it is free. DMV emissions testing in Wisconsin is performed free of charge at the time of a vehicle inspection. However, if the vehicle fails the inspection, then the driver will be responsible for the repairs needed to pass the test.

Where to Perform an Emissions Check in Wisconsin

Wisconsin emissions testing can be performed by any authorized inspection facility. Certified locations will have an official sign as provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

There are plenty of available locations around the state, and you can check with your local DMV to see which locations are closest to you. Once you have found the locations most convenient for you, it is recommended to make an appointment in order to avoid long wait times and ensure that you get your vehicle back when you need it.

Failing a Wisconsin Smog and Emissions Test

Wisconsin smog tests are for the benefit of the environment. A vehicle that fails a safety and emissions test in Wisconsin will need to be repaired before a second inspection in order to pass the test. Some emissions testing stations even offer repairs on site for vehicles that fail the initial test.

Other authorized inspectors may even offer discounts for repair work done at the facility. If the vehicle fails the emissions test after the necessary repair work has been completed, then a temporary extension will need to be filed.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.