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UK Number Plates Explained With New '24' Plates Arrive From 1st March

15 February 2024

Spring is officially here, and with it comes a new number plate age identifier, in this case ’24’, which is found after the first two characters on the plates of all new cars registered from 1 March 2024. The 24 age identifier will adorn all new cars until the ’74’ plate arrives on 1 September this year. As such, March’s 24 number plates replace the 73 plates which arrived in September 2023.

With our Startin Guide, we will take a look further into how Number Plates work.

Understanding UK Number Plates:

Even if you’re not fussed about having the latest plate, it’s worth being familiar with the ins and outs of the UK’s number plate system. That’s mainly because it’s important to stick to the rules regarding number-plate fonts, layouts, colours, and placements, with big fines potentially lurking around the corner for those who unwittingly break the rules.

UK number plates serve not only as a means of identification for vehicles but also as a reflection of the country's rich motoring heritage. The format of these number plates has remained consistent over the years, with each plate consisting of seven characters arranged in a specific pattern.

The first two letters of the plate indicate the region where the vehicle was registered, followed by two numbers denoting the year of registration. The subsequent three letters are random and unique to each vehicle. This system enables authorities to trace vehicles easily and ensures clarity in identifying them.

How do UK vehicle number plates work?

The 73 number plates were introduced in September 2023 and serve as the date indicator for vehicles registered between 1st September 2023 and the end of February 2024. From 1st March to the end of August 2024, the registration plates switch to 24.

These digits are located as the third and fourth characters on a plate and are part of three essential components that constitute a standard UK registration plate. These components consist of:

  • Two letters indicating the region where the vehicle was registered.
  • Two numbers indicating the registration date of the vehicle.
  • A series of three randomly assigned letters.

You can see how this will pan out until 2027 in the table below:

Year of car registration Plate from March-onwards Plate from September-onwards
2020 20 70
2021 21 71
2022 22 72
2023 23 73
2024 24 74
2025 25 75
2026 26 76
2027 27 77


How do new car registrations affect car prices?

March is an important month for the car industry, as it marks the beginning of a new registration period for new cars. This means that all new cars registered from 1st March onwards will be given a 24 plate. This has a significant impact on the used car market.

When people buy new cars, they often trade in their old ones. This means that there will be a lot of used cars available for purchase, which can drive down prices. If you're in the market for a used car, this can be a great time to buy, as you may be able to find a bargain. Why not take a look at our range of Used Cars in stock HERE.

As we prepare to welcome the '24' plates on our roads, it's essential to appreciate the significance of these seemingly mundane elements of vehicle design. UK number plates not only serve as identifiers but also encapsulate the nation's motoring culture and heritage.

Whether it's the thrill of acquiring a new plate or the nostalgia of retaining an old one, these symbols connect us to our vehicles and the roads we travel. 

UK number plates FAQs

Simply put, the purpose is to assign it a distinct identification, enabling it to be associated with a registered owner and clearly indicating its legality for road use.

For vehicles made after 1 January 1973, the front number plate must have a white background while the rear number plate at the rear must have a yellow background. There are strict rules concerning the specification of the letters and numbers in the reg plate.

These include:

  • Characters must be 79mm and 50mm wide (except the number 1 or letter I)
  • The thickness of the character stroke must be 14mm
  • The space between characters must be 11mm
  • The space between the age identifier and the random letters must be 33mm
  • The margins at the top, bottom and side must be 11mm
  • The vertical space between the age identifier and the random numbers must be 19mm

If you don't adhere to these rules you could potentially be facing large fines. 

UK number plates allow you to determine how old a car is, and where it was first registered.

The inaugural green number plates made their debut on Tuesday, 8th December 2020. Featuring a unique green segment along one side, replacing the optional blue EU country identifier, these plates adhere to the same specifications as standard legal plates. The introduction of green number plates aims to facilitate the identification of zero-emission and fully electric vehicles.

Yes, the bi-annual alterations to number plates have an effect on the age identifier of a personalised number plate.

The age identifier, which consists of the third and fourth digits on the plate, must match or exceed the age of the vehicle it is displayed on. For instance, if your personalised plate begins with XX19, the vehicle must have been registered in March 2019 or later.

Contact A Brand Specialist to enquire about a 24 plate TODAY!


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