Have you ever stopped to look at a number plate? Be that a standard number plate or one that is bought due to it being personalised? If you have, then chances are that you will have seen that every number plate is unique; apart from a few key parts that is.
Number plates as they are now are reflective of not only the date that the car was first registered with the DVLA but also where and knowing how the number plates are made up, as well as when they change, well that is the key to finding out more information about the car that they are on.
The mystery of the car number plate undone
Number plates haven’t always looked like they do now. In fact, the new way of putting together a number plate came into being during September 2001. Since September 2001, the format of a number plate is now two letters, then two numbers followed by three more letters.
It looks something like this:
- XX11 XXX
You may think that this is just a random collection of characters with no real meaning, but the truth is that the majority of them play an important part in the identification of the car.
How do you know the age of the number plates? When do these change?
If you want to know the age identifier of the number plate, then you need to look at the only two numbers on the whole plate. These are the age identifier and they will tell you not only a year when the car was first registered, but also a 6 month period too.
Cars that are age identifiers on a number plate will change on the 1st March and the 1st September of every single year. During the march changeover, the identifier is much easier to work out, because it is the last two numbers of the year. For example, a car that is registered between the 1st of March and the 31st August 2017 will have a 17 as the age identifier.
Things get a little more complicated as soon as the September change comes around. In order to identify these cars, the year of registration is still used, but with 50 added to it. Therefore, a car that is registered from the 1st of September to the end of February 2017 will be identified by the number 67.
What about the letters?
Moving on from those all-important numbers we have the letters that you can find on the number plate. The first two letters on a number plate are the local memory tag and these are the representation of where the car was registered. The first letter will represent the region and the second will be the local DVLA office where the registration would have been processed.
There is an extensive list of these location identifiers that you can find online, should you be keen to know where your car has come from.
The last three letters are chosen randomly and these will be allocated to the car when it is registered with the dealerships before it is sold on.
All of these things come together to create number plates which are unique and which can be used to identify the car and then in turn the owner too.