New 69 Plates Are Out! How Do Car Regs Work?

September sees the release of the new 69-plate registration, but do you know why we get two new number plates each year?

Sep 17, 2019

New 69 Plates Are Out! How Do Car Regs Work?

September is one of the most exciting times to buy a new car. But why?

By now you may have seen an influx of 69-plate release dates everywhere you turn and it’s probably got you wondering what this all means – allow us to elaborate. In short, 69-plate release dates are when new car registrations come out, meaning new registration plates become available across the UK. The registration plate, also known as a number plate, can tell you specific things about a vehicle, for example, you can find out where and when a car was registered just by looking at a number plate. 

If you aren't familiar with the format of UK registration plates, all the buzz from the 69-plate launch may have gone over your head, but rest assured we are here to make sure that never happens again! Read on to find out how car registrations work.

Car registration numbers explained

Ever since the implementation of the Motor Car Act in 1904, it has been a legal requirement for all vehicles to be issued with a unique registration number visible on a number plate, but have you ever wondered what the 7-digit code above your bumper actually means? The image below shows an example of the UK number plate format. Take a look below to learn all the relevant registration prefixes and how to read registration plates:


The Local Memory Tag registration prefix will tell you where the vehicle was registered. (See full list of local tags here.) Similarly, the Age Identifier registration prefix will provide you with the registration plate’s age. It will tell you when the vehicle was registered, allowing you to calculate just how old or new it is.

Let’s take the UK number plate in the image above as an example. From first glance, you may assume the plate was registered in 1969 when in fact, this registration plate is brand-new and was registered this month!

In the UK, new number plates are issued twice a year, every six months. This first occurs in March and then again in September. The first batch of number plates released in March usually take the last two digits of the year, i.e. in March 2019, a new number plate will read something like XX19 XXX.

In other words, any vehicle built and registered between 1st March 2019 and 31st August 2019 will have an Age Identifier of 19.

This format changes during the second release which takes place in Septemeber...Any vehicles registered between the second cycle (from 1st September to 28th February) will take the last two digits of the year +50. By way of example, a vehicle registered between 1st September 2019 and 28th February 2020 will take an Age Identifier of 69.

With that knowledge, we can now decipher the number plate in the image above to be for a vehicle which was made:

1) in 2019

2) between 1st September 2019 - 28th February 2020

3) and registered in Stockton

Take a look at our Number Plate Year chart below:

2001/2   51
2002/3 02 52
2003/4 03 53
2004/5 04 54
2005/6 05 55
2006/7 06 56
2007/8 07 57
2008/9 08 58
2009/10 09 59
2010/11 10 60
2011/12 11 61
2012/13 12 62
2013/14 13 63
2014/15 14 64
2015/16 15 65
2016/17 16 66
2017/18 17 67
2018/19 18 68
2019/20 19 69
2020/21 20 70


What about private number plates?

Good question. Private number plates are a very popular addition to any vehicle and can add an immediate touch of personalisation. If you or a friend are looking to purchase private number plates, here are a few things you need to know:

1. Personalised number plates cannot be used on vehicles newer than its original year of registration.

Take the following private number plate for example: GE07 RGE

This number plate would only be allowed on vehicles registered in 2007 or later. Bearing that in mind, if George was to use this plate on a vehicle registered before 1st March 2007, he would be breaking the law. In essence, you are not allowed to present a car to look newer than it is.

2. Don’t over-personalise!

It can be easy to get carried away when customising your number plates, but anything from fancy fonts to unusual spacing would have you breaking the law. Other restrictions include character alteration, size of character, additions of religious symbols, sports logos and insignia as well as background customisation. Stick to the Charles Wright 2001 font (also available in 3D effect) and you’ll be good to go.

Well there you go, you can now identify where a vehicle was registered, how old or new it is and have some handy tips ready if you ever choose to customise. Next time you’re out, ask yourself "how do number plates work?" and see how many vehicles you can identify. It’s also worth noting the latest batch of vehicles would have now entered dealerships around the UK fresh off the production line completed with a shiny new 69 plate. In other words, if you’re looking to buy a new car, now is the time to do so!

View 69 Plate Offers


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