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Wisconsin License Plate Search: License Plate Lookup in Wisconsin

Wisconsin License Plate Search: License Plate Lookup in Wisconsin
November 23, 2022

With over 2 million registered vehicles on Wisconsin expressways, there is a huge market for vehicles, including pre-owned ones. 


Residents of the state looking to purchase pre-owned vehicles must conduct a license plate lookup on the vehicle. 

The license plate search tool provides interested persons access to various vehicle data, helping them make informed decisions. 


The process is usually seamless and only requires the vehicle's license plate numbers and a strong internet connection. 

Information Retrieved During Wisconsin License Plate Lookup

License plates are to vehicles what fingerprints are to humans. Every license plate bears unique alphanumeric characters that can be used to retrieve valuable data about the vehicle and its owners, past and present. 

These details will give prospective owners deeper insights into the vehicle's background. 


The practice is utilized chiefly while purchasing pre-owned vehicles. Here are some of the details obtained during a Wisconsin license plate search:

Title Information

Wisconsin license plate search allows parties to retrieve information concerning the vehicle's title history. 


This helps you confirm if the seller or dealer has a valid title over the vehicle and can transfer it. 


This protects you against buying stolen or missing vehicles. It also saves you from purchasing vehicles used as securities for loans or liens.

blank license plate on a car

Odometer and Mileage Readings

Most car vendors tamper with the odometer and mileage readings of their vehicles. 


The usual practice involves increasing the odometer and mileage capacity beyond its original limits. 


You can spot such scams through a license plate search. Through a plate search, you will receive the actual readings of the vehicle's mileage and odometer.

Accident History

A vehicle can suffer significant damage during accidents. The damages can easily be concealed, and the car passes off without blemishes. 


It can be challenging to tell if a pre-owned vehicle had an accident(s) by merely staring at it or test-driving it. 


However, you can view the vehicle's accident history and associated damages with a license plate lookup.

Model, Make, and Specifications

A Wisconsin license plate search also provides parties with the vehicle's model, manufacturer, make, and specifications. 


You will also be provided with information about the vehicle's engine and other components. 

Aside from intending buyers, license plate lookup is also vital in emergencies, such as when a driver is involved in a hit-and-run. 


You can quickly retrieve information on such a vehicle using a license plate search. 

However, Wisconsin does not provide drivers' personal information. This is in accordance with the state's Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). 


The act covers the driver's social security number, medical information, I.D. card file, photograph, and signature. 

Such data cannot be obtained without a court order; however, agencies such as law enforcement authorities can retrieve such information when necessary. 

an illustration of a car with a form next to it

How to Perform License Plate Lookup in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin laws provide that every vehicle must have a license plate to operate legally on its highways. 


Therefore, residents must register and title their automobiles within two working days of buying the vehicle or obtaining a Wisconsin residency. 

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is tasked with issuing license plates to residents. 


The division also administers temporary plates to vehicles, valid for ninety days. 

The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles maintains an online database of registered vehicles in the state. Here is how to conduct a license plate on the platform:

1. Navigate to the official website of the Department of Transportation
2. Click on "License Plate Search"
3. Click on "Start Now"
4. Enter the license plate number
5. Click on "View Results"

The site provides various tips on usage, such as not entering "O" when typing the number "0" and avoiding using hyphens or spaces while entering your license plate number. 


This service is only available to vehicle owners and third parties with valid authorizations of vehicle owners. 

The service is free. If you are unable to use the online service, you can also complete and submit the vehicle record request form at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation using the following address:

P.O. Box 7949,
Madison, WI 53707-7949

Interested parties can also contract the services of private investigators involved in the license plate and VIN lookup services. 


These agencies offer a more comprehensive service but considerably higher services. 

a man handing over car keys to another man

The charge typically ranges from $300 to $500. Finally, you can also visit third-party websites offering reliable data on vehicles. 


These platforms are managed by independent entities involved in license plate data aggregation. 

Retrieving vehicle records is usually easier and faster on these platforms and only requires the license plate number. Popular third-party websites include:



Wisconsin was among the first states in the United States to require license plates on vehicles, starting in 1905. 


These plates serve as excellent tools for identifying vehicles with owners. 


Wisconsinites who wish to buy pre-owned vehicles must endeavor to conduct license plate searches using any of the methods discussed above.

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