Make it personal: the rules for personalised number plates

Every petrolhead worth their salt wants a personalised number plate to complement their beloved motor. Finding the perfect plate, however, can be tricky.

That’s because there are strict laws that govern what constitutes a number plate and what’s allowed. So although you may want 007 as your new reg plate or the name of your favourite football team, you may not be allowed to have it!

There will always be some providers and drivers who violate the law. But anyone who doesn’t want to have the police pulling them over every time they drive past in their new car or new SUV will want to pay attention to these rules.

What isn’t allowed to go on a number plate?

One of the key rules governing number plates in the UK is that they are all clearly visible. It makes sense, right? If someone hits your car and then drives off, you want to be able to clearly see their number plate so that you can refer them to the police.

As such, you can’t have anything that makes it hard to read your number plate. That means italicised fonts, special graphics and different sized letters all aren’t allowed. You can’t alter the space between characters either, even if you do want to make that 1 and 3 look more like a B.

Here’s a full list of what isn’t allowed on a number plate by law:

– Special fonts

– Changes to character spacing and sizing

– Sports badges and religious symbols

– Designs on the background of the plate

– Registrations that make the car look newer than it is

The last one is particularly important. While most of the others listed are fairly obvious to serious drivers, the last one isn’t always. This means that you can’t put ’17 plates on a car that was made in 2011. You can’t even have a personalised plate that has the digits 17 after two letters on a car that wasn’t made after 2017, either. This is important because it can be misleading if and when you come to sell the car. This is very rare, however, so most drivers shouldn’t have to worry.

What is allowed to go on a number plate?

Now that we have covered what isn’t allowed, it’s time to look at what is.

A personalised number plate is a great way to make your car unique. Luckily, there aren’t many rules that you have to abide by and there is a lot of room for creativity.

Unfortunately, whatever you choose has to be printed in the Charles Wright 2001 font. The characters have to be the same size, too. Specifically, they have to be 79mm high and 50mm wide. The width of each character has to be 14mm and there has to be 11mm between characters in the same grouping. If you have more than one grouping, the characters have to be more than 33mm apart.

Unless your car was built before 1973, the front bumper plate must be white with black font and the back bumper pates must be yellow with black font.

Follow those rules, however, and regardless of whether you’ve got old cars, fast affordable cars or fast little cars, you’ll be good to go.

That means you can add a coloured border to your plate (as long as it isn’t reflective). It also means you can add a 3D effect to the font. And you can display your national emblem!

As for what you write, that’s up to you! Have fun making your new car as exclusive and unique as you like!