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Wisconsin Buying a Vehicle

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Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Car Dealership

If you buy a vehicle from a dealership in Wisconsin, the dealership will handle the registration paperwork for you. The dealership should also provide you with a temporary license plate that you can use right away.

Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Private Party

If you buy a vehicle from a private party, you need to register your vehicle on your own. It’s up to you to make sure that the title is clear of a lien and that you have the paperwork to prove it. The seller must sign the title, and you should as well.

Filling Out the Title

First, make sure that the current owner fills out the fields on the back of the title and signs/prints their name before handing the title over to you. You should also get a lien release from the current owner if the dealership or lender did not sign the title directly.

On the title, you will need to sign where it states “signature of buyer.” If two people are buying the vehicle, you should both sign on the same line. Use “and” between your names.

Registering the Purchased Vehicle

You need to register your vehicle once you buy it. You can register it in person or by mail. By mail, you will send form MV1 with applicable fees to:

Department of TransportationP.O. Box 8070
Madison, WI 53708

In-person, you can go to any Wisconsin DMV service center to get your vehicle registered. Remember to bring:

  • Proof of identification
  • Payment for the registration, title and tax fees
  • Completed form MV1

It takes several weeks to process mailed applications, so it’s usually preferable to fill out the form and take it to a local DMV. If you need a temporary plate, go to the DMV instead.

Submitting Payment

If you buy a vehicle from a private party, you’ll need to register the vehicle on your own. You can do this by mail or in person.

If you choose to do this by mail, then you should complete form MV1, Title/License Plate Application, with the right payment. The payment varies based on the kind of vehicle you have and your location. Common vehicle registration and titling fees include:

  • $100 for electric vehicles
  • $85 for passenger vehicles
  • $23 for mopeds or motorcycles
  • $2 for a duplicate registration
  • $164.50 for a title fee
There is also an additional wheel tax that applies depending on where you live. All passenger vehicles weighing up to 8,000 pounds are subject to the tax. This tax ranges from $10 to $40.

Send your completed MV1 form to the address on the form or:

Department of TransportationP.O. Box 8070
Madison, WI 53708

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Last Verified:
Dec 28, 2022