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Road Legal Number Plate Spacing

Posted 2016/11/10 by Motoshow Plates

The point of displaying your registration clearly on any vehicle is to identify it uniquely and clearly. This is a legal requirement for a variety of reasons, including the safety and security of other drivers as well as yourself.

This is something you really need to consider when using any number plate creator to design your own car, bike or motorcycle number plates. Having road legal number plates made online by a Registered Number Plate Supplier such as Motoshow Plates is the best solution to make sure you stay within the rules set out by the government.

Your registration needs to be clearly visible so it can be read easily from a distance by other drivers, police officers, automated speed cameras and others. Anything that obstructs this can be dangerous and most likely illegal, including any kind of rearranging or misrepresentation when it comes to the actual letters and numbers used. They must also be correctly sized and spaced to stay in accordance with the law.


Standard road legal number plates created since September 2001 are set out as follows:


  • DVLA memory tag – 2 letters which signify where the vehicle was originally produced, for example “BD” for Birmingham
  • Age identifier – 2 numbers which correspond to the age of the vehicle, for example “16” from March 2016 and “66” from September 2016.
  • Random letters – 3 letters from A to Z which are assigned randomly to make the plate unique


Of course, this doesn’t mean that your registration will always follow these standard format guidelines. It’s perfectly legal to buy your own custom registration for your car or motorcycle and display that appropriately. Regardless of what the code actually says, you will need to display it in the following way under all circumstances:


  • You must use the correct font as determined by the government and shown on all number plates issued since September 2001
  • Letters and numbers must all be 79mm tall, and (except for 1 or I) 50mm wide
  • All characters must be printed in black, with 14mm thick strokes
  • There must be a space of 11mm between characters, and 33mm between the age identifier and the random letters
  • Empty space around the entire code must be at least 11mm


The measurements for motorcycle plates are slightly different and you should check these with the government’s guidelines if you need to. If you fail to follow all these instructions regarding spacing and formatting, the consequences can include:


  • Your car will fail its MOT test and not be legal to drive on UK roads
  • You could be fined up to £1,000 for improperly displaying your registration
  • Your registration number could be withdrawn


If you have any concerns or questions regarding these guidelines and you’d like further assistance when planning your order of a number plate replacement, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

NOTE: We've come across many similar questions from our customers past few weeks about the number plate spacing and have desided to make for you a small tutorial video where you can find some tips about the spacing and how to stay legal.

Hope you'll enjoy our short video.




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