Tips to Find Personalised Number Plates

By: Ross O'donnell

Drivers and passengers on today's roads will have noticed the growing popularity of personalised number plates on peoples cars. Personalised number plates are no longer a luxury for the elite with thousands of cheap number plates now on the market. As with any car registration, personalised number plates are all different, combining letters and numbers to make a number plate that is totally unique. It is the way in which these characters are combined however that set personalised number plates apart from ordinary car registrations.

Personalised number plates can read peoples names, specific words or contain numbers significant to the owner. One of the most popular and affordable choices is to buy personalised number plates which contain you initials. Many of these are available for under ?300.

For people considering buying a new reg for their car it is helpful to understand how personalised number plates are made up. Personalised number plates often use numbers to represent letters. The classic example is the number 3 representing the letter E. Other numbers used are 1's to represent I's , a 2 is usually read as the letter R and the number 4 is used to represent the letter A. By employing these simple rules some great personalised number plates have been found such as MAS 732S (Masters). Other digits such as the number 11 can be used to represent an H or a U however it requires the ominous "bolt" between the numbers. Altering a number plate in any form is illegal and by doing so the keeper is liable to a fine and the car can fail an MOT inspection.

When buying personalised number plates you cannot simply create a number plate using any letters or numbers you wish. All personalised number plates must follow a set format set by the DVLA. The oldest private registration numbers are called dateless number plates. Dateless number plates have no age identifier and can be assigned to any vehicle, regardless of age. Personalised number plates of this type come in two varieties; letters followed by numbers and numbers followed by letters. Dateless number plates with the numbers first came about when the original dateless series were exhausted. Local councils reversed the format to double the amount of combinations available. For this reason dateless number plates with numbers firsts are called reverse dateless number plates. Generally speaking it is more desirable to have the format of letters followed by numbers as it shows the number plate is an original issue, generally older and therefore more valuable.

Other types of personalised number plates include suffix and prefix car registrations. Suffix number plates have 3 letters followed by up to 3 numbers and then a final letter denoting the year it was issued. Prefix personalised number plates are the opposite of suffix registrations and have a letter denoting year of issue followed by up to 3 numbers and then 3 letters. In September 2001 the DVLA introduced the current format of number plates which has 2 letters followed by 2 numbers and then 3 letters. At first it was thought this new format would not yield many good personalised number plates however over the years some classic examples have been found such as BL07 GGS (Bloggs) and RU55 ELL (Russell).

When buying personalised number plates always remember that you can never make your car appear younger than it is. For example a new 57 reg cannot be assigned to a vehicle that is 10 years old as it would make it look newer. You can however make a vehicle appear older. If in doubt contact you number plate dealer.

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