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9 Popular Questions about Number Plates, Answered

July, 22 2020 | James Russell

As a registered number plate dealer, we often receive questions around many different aspects of vehicle registrations.


9 Popular Questions about Number Plates, Answered

These number plate questions can range from the standard to the straight-up strange, so we’ve decided to answer some of them in this handy blog post.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Why Are Number Plates Yellow or White?

The reason for the UK having white number plates on the front and yellow on the back is because these two colours contrast the colour black most effectively. That’s relevant because black is, of course, the required colour for the digits and letters on a number plate.

These elements of number plates being contrasting makes it easier for the police and ANPR cameras to identify your vehicle and you if they need to.

If number plates could be any colour you like, you know that people would rock about with black on black number plates and would essentially look like batman.

Which is not okay! According to the DVLA.

Where’s My Number Plate From?

Number Plate Location

Your number plate should be purchased from a certified number plate manufacturer like Jepson & Co. They are the older number plate manufacturer in the country, so you know you’re in safe hands when purchasing from them.

With the new, millennium style reg, there are area identifiers in the first two letters of the registration so you can identify where they originated. Some examples of these include HW - Hampshire and Dorset and YA, YR, YT and YU all being Yorkshire.

For some more age-identifying fun, click here.

Can a Number Plate Fail An MOT?

Well, the number plate won’t fail an MOT, but a number plate may make your car fail an MOT if it doesn’t adhere to certain legal requirements and formats. These formats are: millenium, prefix, suffix, Northern Irish and dateless .

Some folk use what are known as show plates on their car so that their number plates look more like full words. These do not follow any of these guidelines and are therefore illegal. The clue is in the name in this instance, and show plates are for show, not to be displayed on a vehicle on the road.

If you do have show plates or any incorrectly or illegally formatted number plates, you not only risk a fine of up to £1,000, but you can also have your license plate removed from your vehicle along with your ownership of the number plate.

And yes, having an illegal number plate, whether the characters are incorrectly spaced, it has dodgy digits, or you’ve got show plates, will fail an MOT.

Read more about number plate formats here.

Can Number Plates Be Displayed in Windows?

No, you cannot legally display number plates inside your vehicle or inside your car window.

According to the DVLA, your number plates must be fixed on to an area on the outside of your vehicle, rather than on the inside.

Once again, this law is so ANPR and speed cameras can properly check your number plate and identify your car. So that’s a big no go for whether number plates can be displayed in windows.

What Does Brexit Mean for Number Plates?

Number Plates After Brexit

Not much!

Some folk have been worried they might not be able to legally show their EU identifying flag any longer after Brexit, but the rules aren’t that serious. You can get a new plate if you like from, but it doesn’t look like there are any laws or rules coming into place that make getting a new license plate mandatory.

If you are travelling in an EU country after Brexit however, you will need to have a GB sticker on your vehicle. So that’s not a flag identifier you find at the left hand side of a number plate, but an actual sticker that goes onto the bodywork of your vehicle.


Can You Sell A Registration Plate?

Yes, you can sell a registration plate for free with National Numbers and our free online valuation service!

All you do is enter your email address and your private registration (you must own the registration you are getting a valuation for), and we will send you a number plate valuation directly to your inbox within minutes.

Once we receive your number plate valuation request, we advertise the registration you want to sell to tens of thousands of prospective clients and feature your registration on our website. We then wait for offers to come in and let you know when they do, facilitating the entire process for you.

We don’t take anything from you if we do sell your number plate, we instead add on our own costs to the buyer, so you don’t lose out whatsoever.

If you don’t want a free online number plate valuation, you can get one at the below number, but please be aware that this is a premium rate number and calls cost £1 per minute.

Valuation Line: 0905 757 0011

Can I Put Any Registration on Any Car?

You can put dateless number plates, also known as cherished number plates, on to any car without issue. However, if you buy a prefix, suffix or new style millennium number plate, then you must adhere to certain rules.

The basic rule of thumb is that you cannot make a vehicle look newer than it is with a number plate. So, if you’ve got a 57 reg Honda Civic, you can’t put a brand new 20 number plate on it. You can make the car look as old as you like, so if the situation was reversed that would be fine.

More on the rules here.

Can I Buy A Number Plate as a Gift?

Number Plate Gift

Yep! Luckily for you, you can buy private number plates as a gift for somebody important in your life with National Numbers. We offer delivery of documents in plain envelopes or to alternative addresses to keep the surprise secret.

If My Car Is Stolen, Will I Lose My Private Number Plate?

If you follow the proper channels, then no, you will not lose your private number plate. Which is handy because a lot of private number plates can cost more than the car! In fact, it’s the reason our founders started National Numbers at all! 

There are lots of other questions that have been posed to us over the years, for a more comprehensive list, take a look at our FAQ page here.

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