If you haven’t had a private number plate for your car before, you might be curious about where people get them from. The DVLA is responsible for issuing car registration numbers in the UK, and is indeed one of the biggest sellers of personalised registrations in the British market.
Since the current style of registration plates was introduced in September 2001, the DVLA has withheld certain desirable numbers and letters, reserving them for sale instead. For example, for the Birmingham area, the letter Y is reserved, as B plus Y spells BY. In Garden of England areas, O is reserved as the word GO is created when it is added to G.
Older style registrations date from before late 2001. The prefix style preceded the new style plates, with a letter denoting the year situated at the start of the registration; this system began in 1983. Before this, the year was the very last character on the number plate, and this system applied from 1963. The very first plates were issued in 1903, and in general the shorter the sequence, the older the plate. For example, ‘A1’ was the first plate ever issued in London.
Where can I buy a private number plate?
If you want an introduction to the world of private number plates, the easiest way to begin is to search online. You can try the DVLA Personalised Registrations service, or one of a number of companies that trade in private plates. The search tools tend to be very simple to use, and very effective. You can input the name, word or numbers you want, and the system will quickly find you a list of registrations that match your criteria. In some cases, you might even find exactly what you want straight away.
When searching, you will quickly get an idea of what sort of plates are available and their corresponding price tags. If the prices seem very steep, then perhaps it’s time to think outside the box to find something uniquely yours at a more affordable price.
For example - if your name is Steve, you may search for STEVE, or if you’re called Dan then DAN - and so forth. The problem is, such names are very popular, and thus very desirable. When a certain combination of letters is sought-after, it becomes expensive simply because demand is high.
In this case, perhaps you could use your initials instead. Say for instance that Dan’s initials are DTJ. Searching for this kind of more unusual combination will reveal plates that are cheaper, and you will probably also have more choice.
Where do I get the plates made up?
Now that you’ve found the right plate at a good price, how do you buy the actual white and yellow plates to fix to your car? You need to find a registered number plate supplier. Some of the companies selling the registrations can also provide you with the plates when you order your new registration. Otherwise, specialist motoring shops and other outlets can make up plates for you locally, or you can order them online. It’s important to check that you are using a registered number plate supplier, as they will have an in-depth knowledge of the laws governing what kind of plates you can legally display and what is not permitted.