Wisconsin DMV replacing old license plates over next 10 years

The Department of Motor Vehicles will slowly replace peeling plates over next decade
Plates that are 10 years old or older with peeling or fading concerns should be reported to the DMV for replacement
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Drivers may be noticing some flakey or unreadable license plates when behind the wheel. Well, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is noticing them too.

The Wisconsin DMV is in the process of replacing millions of faded license plates across the state. The DMV is replacing license plates that are over 10 years old, over the course of the next decade.

“Being able to recognize the vehicle is a serious issue,” said Kristina Boardman, the administrator for the Wisconsin DMV.

The Wisconsin DMV said recently there hasn’t been a mandatory replacement cycle for license plates like in other states.

“The national standard is really you shouldn’t let your plate go more than 10 years. It just with time, it’s going to fade,” said Boardman.

Those fading license plates have become a problem when it comes to identifying vehicles.

“It’s not just for law enforcement. It’s if you’re driving anywhere where there might be automated tolls. Where they’re taking a picture of your license plate,” said Boardman.

That’s why the Wisconsin Department of Transportation worked to pass a law requiring the department to replace plates that are 10 years old or older.

“We have a number of plates out there, about 3 million that are more than 10 years old so those will all meet the requirements for replacement,” said Boardman.

Peeling and flakey license plates can be caused by a number of factors, including weather and wear.

“We know through the passage of time and frankly weather in Wisconsin, it’s just the sheeting on top. It’s going to start to fade away,” said Boardman.

The plate replacement isn’t just for 10-year-old plates. It’s for any vehicle with peeling license plates.

“If you’re noticing that your plate is not legible, yes it is your responsibility as a motorist. Law enforcement can stop you for that,” said Boardman.

Now that the law has been changed, drivers should be on the lookout for that renewal notice.

“We will incorporate that into the registration renewal fee when their turn comes up,” said Boardman.

But for those with peeling plates...

“...go ahead and take care of that yourself and you can just do it online,” said Boardman.

For drivers in need of replacement plates, click here. A new set of license plates cost $8.