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Changing To a Private Number Plate: A Concise Guide

Thinking of swapping out your reg plates for something personal? 

If you’d like your car to stand out with detail, which means something special to you, getting private plates could make a lot of sense. Whether you’d want yours to reflect your name, your family, your business, or anything else, it’s easy to tell a story with just a few characters.

In this article, we’ve covered a few of the most important things to know if you’re considering putting private plates on your car.

What is a private number plate?

Private number plates, also known as personalized registration, look the same as regular number plates but can be personalized in different ways. Adhering to certain regulations, they comprise letters, numbers, or a combination. 

Why get a private plate?

Personalized plated offers many benefits for drivers. Some might want a personalized plate to hide the age of their car, while others use them to promote their brand or business. It’s estimated that the UK’s private plate market is worth £2 billion

Of course, there’s always the fact that they offer a cost-effective and simple way to personalize your vehicle, depending on the digits and length. Whether you’re buying a new car or you’d like to enhance the potential of your used BMW 2 Series, private plates make a versatile solution. They make a fantastic gift for big birthdays and new drivers, too.

Where can you buy a private plate?

You can either buy a private plate from the DVLA or go to a private dealer.

Any car enthusiast knows that some private plates are worth more than others. Generally, shorter plates with just one, two, or three characters are the most valuable, with some appreciating to six-figure prices at auction. There are auctions across the country throughout the year, so it’s possible to keep your eyes peeled for a plate you particularly fancy. 

The first 24-plate cars are due to roll off the production line in March, with many punters already keeping their eyes on some upcoming plates. 

What are the rules on private plates?

Owning, driving, and keeping a car with private registration means you’ll need to comply with laws and regulations to stay safe on the roads. The rules are strict, and if you fail to adhere at any time, you could be fined up to £1,000, and your car won’t pass its MOT.

Private plates must:

  • Be manufactured using a reflective material
  • Be marked to prove who supplied the plate
  • Not have any background or pattern
  • On the rear, have black display characters with a yellow background
  • On the front, have black display characters with a white background

Additionally, display characters must be spaced appropriately so that they can be read and identified by traffic monitors, automatic number plate recognition systems, and speed check cameras. 


Private plates are a fantastic way to jazz up and personalize any car, but you need to be responsible about their use. Drive responsibly and try to protect any vehicle showing valuable plates. 

Featured Image by Ralph from Pixabay