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New license plates of 23 cars: what you need to know

What you need to know about the new car license plates being sold Nationwide TODAY, and how to find out where yours was registered

Cars with brand new number plates are on the road today in England, Scotland and Wales.

March 1 marks the start of a new semester on the motoring calendar, marking a change in what are known as ‘age identifiers’.

These are the two numbers on the license plate, and starting today new cars sold will be assigned 23. In September, after another six months, the age identifier will change back to 73.

We explain what you need to know about license plates and how to find out where your car was originally registered.

Cars with new number plates are on the road today in England, Scotland and Wales

What does the rest of the license plate mean?

The rest of the plate characters are given as usual, with the first letters indicating the region where the car is registered.

However, the end of the license plate is randomly generated and used as a unique way to identify the car.

Where was your car registered?

Below is the list of regional identifiers from the DVLA guide. It will not use I, Q, or Z in local tag identifiers and will only use Z as a random letter.

Source: DVLA Vehicle registration and license plate document INF104

Source: DVLA Vehicle registration and license plate document INF104

What rules are there about how license plates are displayed?

Manufacturers who make plates must follow rules about fonts, font sizes, colors, and placements.

Drivers who fail to display their number plate correctly will not pass the MOT and could be fined up to £1,000 if caught.

In practice you will regularly see number plates where the display has been modified to say a word or name, but this is not legal and people can be stopped by the police for it.

He DVLA Guide to Number Plates explains: ‘You can’t rearrange or misrepresent the numbers and letters on a license plate to make names or words so they’re hard to read.

‘For example, set bolts to change any of the letters or numbers. You could be fined up to £1,000 and your car will fail MOT if you drive with incorrectly displayed number plates.

‘In some cases, the registration number may be permanently withdrawn. If you misrepresent a vehicle’s registration number, you will not get back any money you paid for the registration number, or any other costs you may have to pay.

“You may not use a registration number to make your vehicle appear younger than it actually is.”

How license plates are distributed and what the different elements mean (Source: DVLA)

How license plates are distributed and what the different elements mean (Source: DVLA)

Does a license plate change reduce the value of your car?

New license plate cars are always in demand, though less than before. A car with a new license plate will obviously be newer and has a knock-on effect on those with older license plates, but this will not make a substantial difference to the value of the car.

Condition, history, mileage, and other factors will tend to be more important to buyers than a six-month license plate change.

Darryl Bowman of car insurance app Cuvva said: “If you’re looking to sell your car soon and want the best possible price, it’s best to sell it before the new license plates come out.”

“And if you want to get a bargain on an almost new car, buying a car that has an old registration might be a good idea.

“There are ways to reduce depreciation on a car, including regular maintenance, ENG checks, choosing a popular model, and reducing driving time to keep mileage low.”

How to save on car insurance

Drivers could save hundreds of pounds a year on their car insurance by switching providers, but most stay on the same policy and pay far more than they should.

The Financial Conduct Authority ordered insurers in 2022 to stop raising prices for loyal customers on renewal, but many drivers still see premiums rise substantially on renewal.

Even if yours doesn’t, your current insurer may not be the cheapest or best for you, and it’s still worth checking prices.

Comparing car insurance prices through comparison sites is easy, and you can check out the best prices across a wide range of insurers in less than five minutes.

But switching isn’t the only way to help lower your auto insurance costs—follow our 10-step guide and easy price comparison instructions.

> How to save on car insurance: Ten tips to reduce the cost in minutes