Number plates: they’re the sort of thing that we often don’t think about, but they can contain a wealth of information about your vehicle. In line with this, today, we’re looking at some of the key things you should know to help you understand more about these; whether you’ve recently purchased a custom number plate or if you’re just looking to understand your own a little better, this should help.
Unfortunately, scammers are increasingly taking advantage of other drivers’ trust when it comes to their vehicles. As such, knowing how to identify a fake number plate is crucial.
The easiest way to check whether a number plate is genuine is to run a vehicle check. This can allow you to see whether the car details match the recorded information for the car. Checks may also allow you to see if the vehicle had previous number plates assigned to it. Don’t forget to look at the official registration date and make sure this aligns with the number plate, too.
Alternatively, there may be some signs on the number plate itself that it’s a fake. Inconsistent or unusual fonts or spacing are common signs. Fraudulent plates will often also be made from different materials.
How Number Plates Work
They’re more than just a random code: there’s a lot of information contained within vehicle number plates. Understanding this can give you a lot of details about a car right at the outset.
The number plate is split into three parts: the local memory tag, the registration year, and then a random code. The first is assigned based on the vehicle’s registration location, and the second is chosen based on the time of registration. Notably, the registration year will vary twice a year, with the first part of the year being allocated the exact year code, and the second half of the year having 50 added. For example, a vehicle registered in 2019 will have a registration year code of either 19 or 69.
Number plates are unique to a specific vehicle. As such, provided that the vehicle is genuine, every car you see on the road should have a plate that is specific to it and it alone. However, some scammers may create fraudulent copies to try and sell a stolen car without people realising. Some people may also illegally use a fake plate to avoid fines and the like.
Personalised plates can be purchased for an additional fee. These usually cost several hundred, but highly sought-after options can potentially be thousands.
To get a personalised plate, you will first need to buy a private number; then, this can either be assigned to a vehicle (or kept unassigned for up to ten years before renewal). You will need to get a new plate made up to put on your vehicle, and the past plate will still be recorded as a previous number plate.
Number plates might seem like a simple thing, but they are incredibly important. As such, whether you’re buying a new vehicle and want to check its authenticity or if you’re simply curious about what one means, a car check is important.