UK Vehicle Registration Plates Explained

Vehicle registration number – It comprises three parts, and all of them have a specific meaning. Ever since the vehicles were used across the country, the individual number plates containing a series of particular characters were designed to help the authorities identify the vehicle in the case of any event of accidents or criminal activity.


The plate tells much more about the vehicle, from where it was registered to how old it is. Usually, you will find that the number plate carries a series of characters that include both numbers and alphabets. This unique identification number will help both the owner and the officials to keep track of them.

Being able to tell more about the car is much easier, especially if you are looking for purchasing a second-hand vehicle. If you know the vehicle plate number, you can carry out a number plate check which is the best way to find the details about the car to decide whether to buy the vehicle or not.

Why do we have vehicle registration numbers?

The registration number is the way to identify the vehicle quickly and is allocated to the vehicles as a part of the registration and taxing process. These numbers can be withdrawn at any time, and they are assigned to the vehicle rather than the owner of the vehicle. The registration number will stay with the vehicle until it is permanently destroyed or exported. Otherwise, it can be transferred to another vehicle by the registered owner.

What is the format of the vehicle registration numbers?

The current format, which is followed in the UK for vehicle registration numbers, was introduced on September 1, 2001, for all the new vehicles that will be registered. This format has two letters, two numbers, a space and three more letters.

  • The first two letters of the number plate represent the place where it is registered. The first letter will indicate the region, while the second letter will indicate the local DVLA office.
  • The following two numbers are age identifiers. It will be changed every six months; at the beginning of March and September. March represents the year, and September represents the year plus 50.
  • The last three letters are generally chosen randomly to provide a unique identity for the vehicle.

For example, BD51 SMR. Here BD represents Birmingham while 51 represents the year September 2001. SMR are some random letters to create a unique number plate.

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Can I find the car owner using the registration number?

Unfortunately, no number plate check will help you find the vehicle owner’s information using the number plate. DVLA has not provided permission for the agencies or other service providers to disclose the owner’s information.

Suppose you really need the owner’s number for any reason, like accidents or any other; in that case, you can contact DVLA mentioning your valid reason and request to get the vehicle owner’s details.

You can carry out a number plate check for other details like ownership changes, the number of previous owners, and further details about the vehicle. You can carry out this number plate check at a lower price at Free Car Check Online.

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