What Year is my Car?

The age of your car and what year it was manufactured in can be determined in a number of ways. The valuation of a vehicle is often affected by the vehicle year of manufacturer.

Whether you’re getting insurance quotes, arranging finance or just shopping for a new headlight bulb, knowing how the age of a car is essential information. Reg years is one way to find out 'what year is my car' but there are other ways too.

So, how can you find out your car’s year?

The truth is, there’s a handful of different methods you can use for identifying the year your car was made or registered – and as a driver, it’s useful to know at least one way of working it out.

Here, we’ll explain each way – so you’ve got all the information you need next time you’re asked.

Registration year vs manufacturer year

It’s useful to know that the ‘registration year’ and ‘manufacture year’ are sometimes different – even if they appear to be the same thing.

Sound confusing?

Don’t worry – it’s fairly simple, and all boils down to how cars are sold.

Let’s say you buy a new Volkswagen Golf. The vehicle will be manufactured in Wolfsburg in Germany – then it’ll make its way to the UK before being registered by the dealer you’ve bought it from. There could be a number of weeks (or even months) between the car leaving the production line and being registered by the dealer – so the dates can be quite different.

So, let's say the car left the factory in December 2019 – but didn’t get to the dealer until January 2020. The registration year will be 2020 – but the manufacture year will be 2019.

Both these dates are useful to know – so this list will include ways of finding out both.

How do you find out the year of your car?

With information that most drivers can easily access, there are 5 different ways to check how old your car is.

In this guide, we’ll outline the quickest and simplest ways first – but we’ll cover all 5 methods, so you’re never stuck wondering “How old is my car?”

1. Use our free online car valuation service to see your car registration year

Whether you’re buying, selling, part-exchanging, or even scrapping – we’ve got all the information you need to work out what your car is worth.

The good news is, a big part of what any vehicle is worth is how old it is – so if you get a valuation for your car using our free service, the information you get in return will also tell you the year it was made.

Don’t worry – just because you’ve got a valuation, you’re not committing to selling your car! You’ll simply get a range of prices that explain how much it’s worth – so if you’re wondering “When was my car registered?” – this is a quick way of getting an answer!

2. Enter your registration to get a free MOT check and registration date

Since vehicles need to have an MOT carried out 3 years after they are first registered, our free MOT check service gives you the car’s first registration date, along with its next MOT date.

Again, this is just quick way to check your registration date quickly and completely free of charge.

The added bonus of using the MOT check service is that you’ll get a detailed history of all the tests that have been carried out on the car in the past – and you’ll even be able to schedule MOT reminders that let you know when your next test is coming up.

3. Understand how number plate years work

Although they might just look like a string of random letters and numbers – a vehicle’s number plate is actually a great way of working out different car registration years.

We’ve put together a UK car registration years chart that’ll help you work out what year your car reg relates to:

Millennium registrations

As the name suggests, Millennium registrations were issued from 2001 onwards and follow 2 letter, 2 number, 3 letter format.

For example: AB51 ABC or AB02 ABC

In this format, the numbers indicate the vehicle’s year of registration. Number plates in this format are issued every 6 months – in March and September.

 

Plate

From

To

51 plate year

September 2001

March 2002

02 plate year

March 2002

September 2002

52 plate year

September 2002

March 2003

03 plate year

March 2003

September 2003

53 plate year

September 2003

March 2004

04 plate year

March 2004

September 2004

54 plate year

September 2004

March 2005

05 plate year

March 2005

September 2005

55 plate year

September 2005

March 2006

06 plate year

March 2006

September 2006

56 plate year

September 2006

March 2007

07 plate year

March 2007

September 2007

57 plate year

September 2007

March 2008

08 plate year

March 2008

September 2008

58 plate year

September 2008

March 2009

09 plate year

March 2009

September 2009

59 plate year

September 2009

March 2010

10 plate year

March 2010

September 2010

60 plate year

September 2010

March 2011

11 plate year

March 2011

September 2011

61 plate year

September 2011

March 2012

12 plate year

March 2012

September 2012

62 plate year

September 2012

March 2013

13 plate year

March 2013

September 2013

63 plate year

September 2013

March 2014

14 plate year

March 2014

September 2014

64 plate year

September 2014

March 2015

15 plate year

March 2015

September 2015

65 plate year

September 2015

March 2016

16 plate year

March 2016

September 2016

66 plate year

September 2016

March 2017

17 plate year

March 2017

September 2017

67 plate year

September 2017

March 2018

18 plate year

March 2018

September 2018

68 plate year

September 2018

March 2019

19 plate year

March 2019

September 2019

69 plate year

September 2019

March 2020

20 plate year

March 2020

September 2020

70 plate year

September 2020

March 2021

21 plate year

March 2021

September 2021

 

 

This system is due to continue in the format until the end of 2049 – at which point the government will decide on the next format for vehicle registrations.

Prefix registrations

Before Millennium registrations, the number plate system was referred to as ‘Prefix registrations’. These registrations ran between 1983 and 2001 and followed a 1 letter, 1, 2, or 3 numbers, then 3 letters.

For example: A234 ABC or A1 ABC

In this format, the letter at the beginning of the registration mark indicates the year that the car was first registered.

You’ll notice that the letters I, O, Q, U, and Z are not used as prefixes. It was decided that I, O, and Z look too much like numbers, and U looked too similar to V. Q plates are used – but they’re reserved for vehicles with an age that cannot be determined – some kit cars and imports for instance. Many people are often looking for what alphabetical number represents which reg year, please refer to our handy table below. The last reg years plate was the Y Reg Year in 2001.

 

Prefix

From

To

A reg year

August 1983

July 1984

B reg year

August 1984

July 1985

C reg year

August 1985

July 1986

D reg year

August 1986

July 1987

E reg year

August 1987

July 1988

F reg year

August 1988

July 1989

G reg year

August 1989

July 1990

H reg year

August 1990

July 1991

J reg year

August 1991

July 1992

K reg year

August 1992

July 1993

L reg year

August 1993

July 1994

M reg year

August 1994

July 1995

N reg year

August 1995

July 1996

P reg year

August 1996

July 1997

R reg year

August 1997

July 1998

S reg year

August 1998

February 1999

T reg year

March 1999

July 1999

V reg year

August 1999

February 2000

W reg year

March 2000

July 2000

X reg year

August 2000

February 2001

Y reg year

March 2001

July 2001

 

 

Suffix registrations

If we wind the clock back to before 1983, ‘Suffix registrations’ were used on number plates. These are rare now – but they do crop up on classic vehicles and as personalised registrations. These registrations ran between 1963 and 1983 and consisted of 3 letters, 1, 2, or 3 numbers, then 1 letter.

For example: ABC 1A or DEF 123B

In this format, the final letter of the registration indicates the age – but again, like prefix registrations, I, O, Q, U, and Z are not used.

 

Suffix

From

To

old A reg year

start of 1963

end of 1963

old B reg year

start of 1964

end of 1964

old C reg year

start of 1965

end of 1965

old D reg year

start of 1966

end of 1966

old E reg year

January 1967

July 1967

old F reg year

August 1967

July 1968

old G reg year

August 1968

July 1969

old H reg year

August 1969

July 1970

old J reg year

August 1970

July 1971

old K reg year

August 1971

July 1972

old L reg year

August 1972

July 1973

old M reg year

August 1973

July 1974

old N reg year

August 1974

July 1975

old P reg year

August 1975

July 1976

old R reg year

August 1976

July 1977

old S reg year

August 1977

July 1978

old T reg year

August 1978

July 1979

old V reg year

August 1979

July 1980

old W reg year

August 1980

July 1981

old X reg year

August 1981

July 1982

old Y reg year

August 1982

July 1983

 

 

4. Check the V5 registration document

If you’re still wondering “When was my car registered” but decide against online checks and or decoding your number plate – then it’s time to dig out your vehicle paperwork!

You’re looking for your V5C certificate – the form issued by the DVLA to show who is responsible for registering and taxing a vehicle. This document’s often known as a log book – but don’t let the name fool you; it isn’t a book – it’s a 4-sided multi-coloured form that’s used to update the DVLA if anything relating to the vehicle changes.

The V5C has a section entitled ‘Vehicle Details’ – showing everything from the engine capacity and fuel type to the colour and weight of the car. This section also includes the full vehicle registration date.

5. Use the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Finally, there’s the option to use the VIN (vehicle identification number) to give a good indication of when the car was made.

You can locate the VIN on the log book – in the same ‘vehicle details’ section as you’ll find the registration date – or by locating the VIN plate on the car.

On most vehicles sold in the UK, the VIN plate is normally found in a clear section of the glass at the bottom of the windscreen – although it’s sometimes stamped on a metal plate that’s found in the engine bay or around one of the sections of body visible when the driver door is open.

When you’ve found the 17-digit VIN, you’ll have to locate the 10th character. This is a universal code used by manufacturers to indicate when the model was last revised – and since models are usually tweaked from year-to-year (even if it’s just minor trim changes or optional colours), this character will almost always give the date that the car was manufactured.

Since there is only one character that can be used to indicate this year, it cycles through letters and numbers since VINs were introduced in 1980.

 

Code

Year

Code

Year

Code

Year

A

1980

R

1994

8

2008

B

1981

S

1995

9

2009

C

1982

T

1996

A

2010

D

1983

V

1997

B

2011

E

1984

W

1998

C

2012

F

1985

X

1999

D

2013

G

1986

Y

2000

E

2014

H

1987

1

2001

F

2015

J

1988

2

2002

G

2016

K

1989

3

2003

H

2017

L

1990

4

2004

J

2018

M

1991

5

2005

K

2019

N

1992

6

2006

L

2020

P

1993

7

2007

M

2021

 

If you’re keen to answer the question “What year was my car made?” rather than simply when it was registered – then exploring the VIN number codes is the best way to find out. Since this 10th character relates to the year in which the model was last revised, it won’t always be correct (although it generally is), so if you’re unsure, speaking to the original dealer that supplied that car will confirm the year of manufacture 100%.

Where was my car registered?

Finally, if you’re hoping to find out where in the country your car was originally registered, it is possible to decipher this information from your number plate.

For Millennium registrations, this information comes from the 2 letters at the beginning of the number plate.

 

Regional Identifiers

Region

DVLA Office

AA, AB, AC, AD, AE, AF, AG, AH, AJ, AK, AL, AM, AN

Anglia

Peterborough

AO, AP, AR, AS, AT, AU

Anglia

Norwich

AV, AW, AX, AY

Anglia

Ipswich

BA, BB, BC, BD, BE, BF, BG, BH, BJ, BK, BL, BM, BN, BO,

BP, BR, BS, BT, BU, BV, BW, BX, BY

Birmingham

Birmingham

CA, CB, CC, CD, CE, CF, CG, CH, CJ, CK, CL, CM, CN, CO

Cymru

Cardiff

CP, CR, CS, CT, CU, CV

Cymru

Swansea

CW, CX, CY

Cymru

Bangor

DA, DB, DC, DD, DE, DF, DG, DH, DJ, DK

Deeside to Shrewsbury

Chester

DL, DM, DN, DO, DP, DR, DS, DT, DU, DV, DW, DX, DY

Deeside to Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury

EA, EB, EC, ED, EE, EF, EG, EH, EJ, EK, EL, EM, EN, EO, EP,

ER, ES, ET, EU, EV, EW, EX, EY

Essex

Chelmsford

FA, FB, FC, FD, FE, FF, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FL, FM, FN, FP

Forest and Fens

Nottingham

FR, FS, FT, FV, FW, FX, FY

Forest and Fens

Lincoln

GA, GB, GC, GD, GE, GF, GG, GH, GJ, GK, GL, GM, GN, GO

Garden of England

Maidstone

GP, GR, GS, GT, GU, GV, GX, GY

Garden of England

Brighton

HA, HB, HC, HD, HE, HF, HG, HH, HJ

Hampshire and Dorset

Bournemouth

HK, HL, HM, HN, HO, HP, HR, HS, HT, HU, HV, HX, HY

Hampshire and Dorset

Portsmouth

HW

Hampshire and Dorset

Portsmouth (Used exclusively for the Isle of Wight)

KA, KB, KC, KD, KE, KF, KG, KH, KJ, KK, KL

-

Luton

KM, KN, KO, KP, KR, KS, KT, KU, KV, KW, KX, KY

-

Northampton

LA, LB, LC, LD, LE, LF, LG, LH, LJ

London

Wimbledon

LK, LL, LM, LN, LO, LP, LR, LS, LT

London

Stanmore

LU, LV, LW, LX, LY

London

Sidcup

MA, MB, MC, MD, ME, MF, MG, MH, MJ, MK, ML, MM,

MN, MO, MP, MR, MS, MT, MU, MV, MW, MX, MY

Manchester and Merseyside

Manchester

NA, NB, NC, ND, NE, NF, NG, NH, NJ, NK, NL, NM, NN, NO

North

Newcastle

NP, NR, NS, NT, NU, NV, NW, NX, NY

North

Stockton

OA, OB, OC, OD, OE, OF, OG, OH, OJ, OK, OL, OM, ON, OO,

OP, OR, OS, OT, OU, OV, OW, OX, OY

Oxford

Oxford

PA, PB, PC, PD, PE, PF, PG, PH, PJ, PK, PL, PM,

PN, PO, PP, PR, PS, PT

Preston

Preston

PU, PV, PW, PX, PY

Preston

Carlisle

RA, RB, RC, RD, RE, RF, RG, RH, RJ, RK, RL, RM, RN, RO,

RP, RR, RS, RT, RU, RV, RW, RX, RY

Reading

Reading

SA, SB, SC, SD, SE, SF, SG, SH, SJ

Scotland

Glasgow

SK, SL, SM, SN, SO

Scotland

Edinburgh

SP, SR, SS, ST

Scotland

Dundee

SU, SV, SW

Scotland

Aberdeen

SX, SY

Scotland

Inverness

VA, VB, VC, VD, VE, VF, VG, VH, VJ, VK, VL, VM,

VN, VO, VP, VR, VS, VT, VU, VV, VW, VX, VY

Severn Valley

Worcester

WA, WB, WC, WD, WE, WF, WG, WH, WJ

West of England

Exeter

WK, WL

West of England

Truro

WM, WN, WO, WP, WR, WS, WT, WU, WV, WW, WX, WY

West of England

Bristol

YA, YB, YC, YD, YE, YF, YG, YH, YJ, YK

Yorkshire

Leeds

YL, YM, YN, YO, YP, YR, YS, YT, YU

Yorkshire

Sheffield

YV, YW, YX, YY

Yorkshire

Beverley