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Vehicle Age Checker


The golden rule of personalised registrations is that you cannot make a vehicle look newer than it is.

It is, however, perfectly fine to put an older registration mark onto a vehicle, and dateless registrations (those issued before 1963 as well as Northern Irish reg) don't carry age identifiers at all and as a result can be used on vehicles of any age.

When purchasing your ideal private plate it's important to check that you'll be able to use it on your intended vehicle. To make this easy, select the age of your vehicle in our tool below and we'll show you which registrations will fit.

Please note that if you already have a personalised plate, this may already be masking the age of your vehicle, in which case the list of suitable reg will not relate to your vehicle but to the age of that mark instead. In this case you should use your V5C vehicle log book to identify the true age of your vehicle.

When searching for a private plate you can also filter your results to only show registrations that are suitable for the age of your vehicle.

New Style Number Plates

Originally issued for vehicles from 2001 to present.

The two digit number identifies the year of issue.

Prefix Style Number Plates

Originally issued for vehicles from 1983 to 2001.

The leading 'prefix' letter identifies the year of issue.

Suffix Style Number Plates

Originally issued for vehicles from 1963 to 1983.

The trailing 'suffix' letter identifies the year of issue.

Dateless Number Plates

Originally issued before 1963.

They have no year identifier.

Northern Irish Number Plates

Originally issued for use in Northern Ireland.

They have no year identifier.

Why do UK number plates carry age identifiers?

Between 1903 and 1963 UK registrations were all dateless, so there was no way of knowing (without specialist knowledge) when a registration was issued (and hence the age of the vehicle the reg was on). In Februaury '63, the suffix style of registration was introduced offering a number of improvements to combat issues that had surfaced with the fledgling number plate system. Besides making a greater number of possible combinations available to accomodate a swell in vehicle numbers, the letters on these registrations had further meanings - the most important of which was the year identifying suffix letter; a system that continues to today (although the most recent format has opted to use numbers as the identifier in place of letters).

This identifier makes it difficult to misrepresent a vehicles age, essentially stopping unscrupulous sellers of cars to lie about the age of the vehicle - which was a serious issue, especially before centralisation and digitisation of DVLA records.

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