It’s that time of year again when the new registration plates arrive for all new cars registered on or after the 1st September.
Who remembers the big scramble for the new reg which used to be on 1st August every year? And do you remember playing games on long car journeys looking out for registration number plates? I can remember our first new family car – a silver Ford Escort – with registration
SKL 443H. Probably long gone to the scrap yard by now!
If you’ve ever wondered what the ‘new’ registration format means (it’s been in operation since 2001!) – then read on and impress your friends and relatives at your next pub quiz!
Every car on the road in the UK has to display a number plate, it’s the law. The unique combination of letters and numbers enables identification of the vehicle. It can be swapped for a personalised plate, but once sold on, must revert to the unique registration plate it was first assigned when originally registered as a new vehicle.
The chassis number is also a unique identifier and appears in several places on the body of the vehicle to help identify any discrepancies, such as a ‘cut and shut’ vehicle crime. The number plates are issued to the car or van dealership by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency).They should be coloured white at the front of the vehicle and yellow at the back. They are logged and fitted by the dealership before you take delivery of your new vehicle.
The first 2 letters of the registration plate indicate the area in which the vehicle was first registered.
For example, vehicles with GA, GL, GM have been registered at the DVLA office in Maidstone (Garden of England – hence the ‘G’) and vehicles with GP, GT, GW have been registered in Brighton. Other examples include L for London, M for Manchester and Merseyside, E for Essex and Y for Yorkshire. Download the full list of area codes here if you want to wow your chums at the next BBQ party!
Many people get very confused about the numbering system on registration plates. Once you understand the logic behind it, you’ll have no problems.
The numbers identify the age of the vehicle and refer to the 6 month period in which the vehicle was first registered. Those periods always run from 1st March to 31st August and then 1st September to end of February each year.
March codes will always follow the year, so a vehicle registered in March 2018 would be an ‘18’ plate.
September codes will always follow the year plus 50 – so a car registered in September 2017 would be a ‘67’ plate.
The car in our banner illustration is a '70' plate - so it was registered between 1st September and 29th February 2020.
These are completely randomly generated and so have no special meaning.
The only other items appearing on a registration plate could be the GB logo or union flag, and, from the end of 2020, electric cars were permitted to display a green square identifying them as zero emission vehicles.
So, now you know everything there is to know about the UK number plate registration system!
This September the new registration is a ‘71’ plate – so check out our huge range of quality branded new models and choose your favourite new car or van from the JCB Group. Always at your service.
(Article first published in March 2021 and updated for September 2021).