Number plates, registration plates, personalised plates. They all do the same job of identifying your car. But what do they mean? And what do they tell you about a car?
Every year there are new number plates released twice in the UK, on the 1st of March and the 1st of September. For instance: the 20 plate was released on March 1st 2020 and will apply to any new vehicle registered up until 31st August 2020 (where it becomes the 70 plate).
When buying a used car, it’s vital to know how old it is for assessing quality and how much your insurance will be.
Fortunately, the third and fourth digits of the plate tell you the age. Scroll down to see the number plate age table.
To jump from a 20-plate to a 70-plate seems confusing at first but let us help you understand.
The third and fourth digits signify the year in which the vehicle was made, we know this as the ‘age identifier’. For example: a vehicle made between March 1st 2020 and August 31st 2020 will be registered with ‘20’ in the plate. When the plate change occurs in September, you add 50 to this number, which creates the ’70 plate’ of September 2020. Think back to 2019, in March we had the new 19 plate (for 2019) and in September it became the 69 plate. This has been the standard across all cars registered since 2001, so you are able to quickly and easily work out the age of vehicle if you are looking to purchase a used car.
You can see how old a car is by the numbers in the registration plate:
The first two letters of a number plate also have meaning. The DVLA calls the first two letters ‘Memory Tags’ as they represent the region where the car was registered. So the first letter is the region and the second letter identifies the postal area within the region.
Wonder where your car was registered originally? Check out our table below.
As the number plates in 2020 are ‘20’ and ‘70’ the number plates in 2021 will be ’21’ from March 1st 2021 until August 31st 2021 where they change to ‘71’.