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How To Fit A Number Plate

Whether you’re replacing a damaged, existing number plate or you are putting a new personalised plate on your set of wheels, this guide could prove very useful.

Fitting your own plates

You may wish to fit your own plates to save on costs, or perhaps you’ve just received your brand new private registration plates in the post after buying online and you can’t wait to display them on your vehicle.

If you want to go ahead and do the job yourself, there are two ways you can proceed. You can secure the new plates with strong, double sized adhesive pads, or you can use screws. Either way, the first step is to remove the old plates, and this process is the same for both options.

Removing the old plates

If the existing plates are screwed into place, you need to remove or open any plastic screw covers first. Then remove the screws, keeping them safe in case you need them for the new plates.

If the plates were fixed on with double-sided tape or pads, they may be trickier to loosen, as a very strong adhesive will have been used. Try to maintain a consistent force when pulling the plate away from the vehicle. If you are having trouble, a tool like a wallpaper scraper might help to work the plate loose.

Fitting new plates

With screws

Firstly, you need to mark the positions of the holes. It’s advisable to use a cross-head or bradawl screwdriver to make a hole, or mark or hole that will keep the drill bit in place during drilling. Otherwise, you could clamp the old plate over the new one to use as a guide.

Most makes of number plates recommend drilling the holes from the back of the plate, but some advocate using masking tape on the front of the plate before drilling holes from the front. Once you’ve chosen your preferred method, then lay the plate on a piece of scrap wood or similar material and proceed to drill each hole. Clean any drill dust away.

Hold your new number plate in the correct position. If you have new screws to fit, use those to fix the new plates in place; if not you can repurpose the old screws instead. If you can, use plastic screw covers as a final step. These will protect the screws and also give a smarter, more streamlined appearance.

With double-sided pads

If using adhesive pads, remove these from their backing, leaving in place the backing paper on the side that will stick to the car. Stick the pads to the rear of your number plate. For the most secure fit, use more pads, but bear in mind that the plate will then become more difficult to remove in future.

When you’re ready to place the plate, remove the backing paper from the car side of the pads and manoeuvre the plate into just the right position. Do not touch the vehicle with the pads until the positioning is certain.

Push firmly on the number plate and press into position for 10 seconds or more, making sure to apply pressure over every point on which the adhesive pads sit. Once held in place for a sufficient period of time, check that the plate is securely adhered to the car.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

A number plate’s value varies according to how desirable and unusual it is. A number plate featuring a name, word or initials that a lot of people want is likely to fetch a higher price.

You can discover certain information about the vehicle that a number plate is on fairly simply, but to find out who it actually belongs to is a little more tricky. Your best port of call is the DVLA.

UK number plates change every March and September, on the first of the month. This is when the year identifier changes, for example from 19 to 69 in 2019/20. The former applies from March, and the latter from September.

A simple transfer from one vehicle to another can be completed online with the DVLA and you can make the switch as soon as you've finished the process. Organising it by post takes longer – expect two to five weeks.

You must inform the DVLA if you wish to remove your personalised number plate and replace it with the car’s original plate. It costs £80 to remove personalised plates and this can be done online or by post.

The process of removing a personalised number plate from a vehicle will differ depending on whether you want to save the number plate for future use, sell it on, or immediately reassign it to another vehicle.

If you want to get a personalised number plate made, you must ensure you go to a registered number plate supplier. This supplier will need to see proof of your identity and proof that you’re entitled to that registration number.

Acquiring a private plate won’t mean your car insurance goes up, but you’ll need to inform your insurer of the plate change and should ask for a letter confirming they have no interest in your private plate.

Creating your own personalised number plate is relatively simple, and many websites are designed to make this process easier. However, there are some rules about what you can and can’t choose for your registration number.

To find out the registered keeper of a vehicle number plate here in the UK, apply in writing to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). However, it will only provide these details if you have a reasonable cause.