Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

eMV Public frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Vehicle information

What is a vehicle identification number (VIN)?

A unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify vehicles.

In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized the format. Now it is required that all over-the-road-vehicles sold contain a 17-character VIN, that does not include the letters I (i), O (o), or Q (q) (to avoid confusion with numerals 1 and 0).

Where can I find the VIN on the title?

In the upper left hand corner of the title and is generally 17-digits long if the vehicle is a 1981 model or newer.

Why do I need to list the color of my vehicle?

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) must print the vehicle color on Certificates of Vehicle Registration and provide it to law enforcement upon request. If the vehicle color changes, you must report the change to WisDOT by your next registration renewal.

Why are only specific colors listed?

The colors listed within the e-MV Public application are used by the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and are used nationwide for uniformity.

What is an odometer status?

The odometer status describes the vehicle odometer reading.

What does an exempt status mean?

It means the vehicle is 10 model years old or older, and it is no longer required to report the mileage from the odometer.

What does an actual status mean?

It means the mileage is correct and represents the true distance the vehicle has traveled.

What does a not actual status mean?

The mileage on the odometer is not the true distance the vehicle has traveled or the seller did not provide an odometer reading when they signed the title as the seller so the buyer provided the odometer reading. The Wisconsin title submitted with your e-MV Public application should include the odometer reading by the seller. If the seller did not complete this portion, you should contact the seller to do so. Once an odometer reading is disclosed as NOT ACTUAL, it cannot be changed back and may reduce the value of the vehicle.

What does an excess of mechanical limits status mean?

The mileage on the odometer reading is in excess of the odometer's designed mechanical limits. For some vehicles this could be mileage over 99,999.

What does a tampering verified status mean?

A tampered odometer status means the mileage on the odometer was altered, for reasons such as the odometer was illegally removed, replaced, disconnected, or reset in an attempt to report a lesser odometer mileage reading than what the vehicle actually traveled. Once a tampered odometer status has been listed on a vehicle it cannot be removed.

Why can't I change the odometer status for my vehicle?

The e-MV Public application displays the last status listed in WisDOT's records. If the last recorded status is EXEMPT or TAMPERED, the status cannot be changed, see previous FAQs for definition of EXEMPT or TAMPERED statuses. If the vehicle you are transferring is now 10 model years old or older, an odometer mileage statement is no longer required by law, the vehicle is considered exempt.

What is an odometer reading?

A measure of the distance a vehicle has traveled.

Why do I need to enter an odometer reading?

It is required on vehicles nine model years old or newer to show the distance the vehicle has traveled. Accurate odometer readings are necessary to assure vehicles qualify for any warranties provided by the manufacturer and/or the value of the vehicle at the time of sale.

How many numbers do I need to enter for an odometer reading?

Most newer model vehicles have an odometer that reads six digits long, excluding the tenth position; i.e. 45,886.9. The odometer in this example would be recorded as 45,886 in our records.

What if I don't have an odometer reading on the title?

If the seller did not complete the odometer mileage reading (statement) on the title at the time of the sale, you will need to contact them to complete the statement.

Can I enter the statement myself?

The person buying the vehicle can complete the odometer mileage reading (statement) on the title but the odometer status would then be captured as "not actual." Once an odometer status is recorded as "not actual" it cannot be changed. This may decrease the value of the vehicle.

Why do I have to enter the date of sale?

The date of sale is used to calculate any taxes and determine whether an odometer reading on the title needs to be entered for the vehicle.

Questions? Contact the eMV support team
Last modified: September 6, 2012

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