A Guide to Private Number Plates

A number plate is the most prominent way to identify your vehicle visually. These days, number plates are made from acrylic, a form of plastic, with black font on a white background at the front of the car and a yellow plate at the rear. There are a multitude of different rules that have to be applied in order to make a number plate legal.

Number plate regulations

To ensure that number plates are clear and readable to officials such as police officers, speed cameras and ANPR systems the government have set in place specific rules to govern the design of number plates. Certain things such as the font, colour, character size, spacing and amount of reflectivity etc. are all taken into account to make sure that the plates are completely readable.

The first two letters of the number plate are the DVLA memory tag and the two numbers following identify the age of the vehicle. The last three letters are random identifiers to give the plate its uniqueness. The spacing between each of the characters is specifically measured and the characters are sized in a regulated manner.

If your number plate strays away from any of the rules there will be repercussions if you’re caught. There are different penalties for displaying illegal number plates which can range from MOT failure to large fines and loss of your registration, meaning you will be unable to use your vehicle. It is essential to make sure you follow the rules in order to avoid harsh penalties such as these.

Motorcycles and Motor tricycles plates

With these vehicles, there are also certain rules that need to be cohered with to ensure your plate is legal. However, as the vehicles are smaller, the plates are smaller too and there are certain specifications that are required for motorcycles.

Buying a replacement plate

Whether you need an extra plate for a caravan or trailer, or you’ve broken your original number plate, it is possible to get a new one, however, restrictions do apply. No longer can you purchase a new plate from a dodgy dealer down the road, you’ll have to buy from a registered supplier. In order to get hold of a new number plate, you’ll have to produce several documents to prove your identity and show that you can officially buy a number plate for the vehicle necessary.

These rules have been put in place by the DVLA in order to put a stop to the buying and selling of “fake” number plates which are deemed illegal.

How to fit a number plate

Now that number plates are made from acrylic, there is a lot of room for error when it comes to fitting a plate. You may find that the plates scratch and crack easily, therefore it is essential that you prepare with the right tools and be patient with the process. There are several guides online that show you how to fit a number plate properly.

Show plates

Often, you’ll see at car dealerships show plates that have been placed on the vehicles to make them stand out. They are also used at events and can only been placed on a vehicle that will not be driving on the roads. With a show plate, you are able to use any words and numbers to exhibit the vehicles appropriately and the usual number plate rules do not apply.

However, it is still essential to be cautious when fitting a show plate to a vehicle. If you forget to change the plate back and drive with the show plate on you run the risk of facing penalties as a result.

If you’re looking to buy a private number plate then it’s best to go through an official seller in order to make sure the plate is legal.

Image credits

Check out our recent post