It’s far from uncommon to lose one of your vehicle’s number plates, whether as the result of an accident that damages the front or rear of your vehicle, theft or one of many other reasons. 

Contrary to popular belief, replacing a number plate isn’t as complicated as you may think — in fact, it’s a straightforward, simple process. However, there are several important things that you should be aware of ahead of time if you need to replace a number plate for your vehicle.

To help make the process easier, we’ve worked with Number1Plates to explain the process from start to finish. 

Replacing a Number Plate

If you’ve recently lost a number plate from your vehicle, or if one or both of your number plates have become damaged due to an accident, it’s important that you replace them using a legally certified replacement number plate provider.

In the United Kingdom, number plates need to comply with British Standard BS AU 145e to be legal for road use. 

These standards mandate that number plates need to meet a certain level of quality, legibility and durability in order to be used on the road. For example, they need to be able to withstand impacts from stone chips, thermal change, abrasion and other common potential hazards.

They also need to meet certain aesthetic requirements, such as using the correct color scheme and using a contrast scheme that’s readable by ANPR cameras. 

If your number plate was stolen, you’ll need to begin the process of replacing it by reporting the theft to the police. Number plates are commonly stolen in order to disguise vehicles that may be used on the roads illegally, or to assist in crimes such as petrol theft. 

You can report a number plate stolen by contacting your local police station. It’s also best to call the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to report the theft. This can help to protect you from fines and other penalties that could occur if a criminal uses your number plates.

Replacing a stolen, lost or damaged number plate is a relatively simple process. A new number plate or set of number plates can be purchased online from a registered supplier, often at a low cost. 

When ordering a replacement number plate, there are several factors that you’ll need to keep in mind. These include the shape of the number plate that’s suitable for your vehicle, the colour of the plate (yellow for the rear of the car and white for the front) and several others.

Finally, you’ll need to fit your new number plate to your vehicle. This can be done by yourself at home using either adhesive pads or screws. Alternatively, your local garage or mechanic should be able to help you with this step for a small fee. 

Throughout the process of replacing your number plate, it’s important to remember these tips:

  • Always report a stolen number plate. Stolen number plates are often used by criminals for theft and other crimes. Reporting a number plate stolen will help to protect you from fines and other penalties that may result from illegal actions.

  • Only ever buy number plates that are made to British Standard BS AU 145e. Driving with non-compliant number plates could cause your vehicle to fail its MOT. You may also face fines of up to £1,000.

  • If you plan to tow a trailer behind your car, you’ll need to order a number plate with the same code as your vehicle. This needs to be fixed to the trailer in order to comply with UK laws.

  • Check your vehicle’s number plate type before ordering. Number plates are available to fit the majority of road going vehicles, including standard cars, SUVs, trucks, trailers and motorcycles.

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