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A law that took effect in July 2022 requires Wisconsin vehicle owners to replace their license plates at least once every 10 years.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reissues plates when vehicle registration is up for renewal or when 10 or more years have eclipsed since the original plates were issued. Vehicle owners must replace their plates sooner if they become illegible.

Even if your plates are in good condition, the department says they must still be replaced, as they “are losing their reflectivity and are no longer as safe.”

Improper display of plates can result in fines up to $150. If the plates are peeling or faded, motorists can order replacements online, through the mail or in person. The standard replacement cost is $8 for front and back plates.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Wisconsin State Legislature: 2021 Wisconsin Act 163

Wisconsin Department of Transportation: Reissuance of license plates

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Here’s what to do when your Wisconsin license plate begins to fade or becomes illegible

Wisconsin State Legislature: Act Memo: Construction and Issuance of Motor Vehicle Registration Plates

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Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.