Dating car registration plates
The numeric code equals the year (as of September) plus 50.So a car registered from September 2019 until February 2020 will have the number 69 (=19 50).It is possible to have an ‘old’ number plate on a ‘new’ car, as the DVLA sells number plates that it thinks have a high commercial value.So you could put a ’55’ plate (Sept 2005 – Feb 2006) on a 2019 car if you like.So you couldn’t have a ’19’ plate (2019 car) on a 55-reg car (Sept 2005 – Feb 2006), to reverse the example above.
Even though the system is now centralised, dealers still tend to be allocated registration numbers that reflect their traditional area code, so (for example) if you are buying a new car from a London dealership, you will almost certainly be allocated a number plate starting with an L.The two numbers are called the ‘age identifier’, which tells you in which six-month period the car was first registered.This initially seems confusing, but you quickly get your head around it The numbers change every six months, in March and September.We’re also not going to discuss any of the previous number plate systems before 2001.
The numbering system has changed several times, so maybe we’ll look at previous systems another time. British number plates are arranged in the format of two letters, followed by two numbers, followed by three letters (eg – XX 69 XXX) as shown below.
To help you, we've explained in more detail about the different styles of number plates in the UK.