Are you considering changing your vehicle’s number plate, perhaps to a personalised one that adds a touch of uniqueness to your ride? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of changing your number plate in the UK, from the reasons behind the change to determining its potential value and the process of selling it. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the value of that combination of letters and numbers on your car, keep reading to discover more.

Why Change Your Number Plate?

A number plate isn’t just a legal requirement; it’s also an opportunity for personal expression. Many car enthusiasts opt for a personalised number plate to make their vehicle stand out from the crowd. Whether you want to display your name, a special date, or a witty phrase, a personalised number plate is your canvas.

Beyond personalisation, there are other compelling reasons to consider a number plate change:

  • Upgrade Your Vehicle’s Aesthetics: A new number plate can give your vehicle a fresh, modern look. It’s like a mini-makeover for your car.
  • Enhanced Privacy: Some people opt for a number plate change to enhance their privacy. By replacing their standard issue plate with a personalised one, they can reduce the chances of being easily identified in public.
  • Sentimental Value: Maybe your current number plate holds sentimental value, and you want to transfer it to a new vehicle. This is a common practice among those who cherish family initials or meaningful combinations.

When Should You Replace a Number Plate?

One common reason for changing your number plate is a damaged or cracked plate. Cracked number plates not only look unsightly but also pose a legal issue. Driving with a damaged plate can lead to fines, as your registration must be clear and readable.

Additionally, there are specific instances when you are legally required to change your number plate. These include:

  • When Your Buy a New Personalised Number Plate: If you’ve acquired a personalised number plate from the DVLA or a certified dealer, you’ll need to replace your existing plate with the new one.
  • MOT Test Failures: A damaged or cracked number plate can result in an MOT test failure. It’s essential to address this promptly to ensure your vehicle remains roadworthy.
  • Vehicle Transfers: If you’re transferring your number plate to another vehicle, it’s a legal requirement to update the registration to reflect the change.

My number plate is broken should I replace it?

Yes you should replace your number plate if it is cracked or broken. If you drive with a cracked or damaged number plate and it is no longer readable, the police have the authority to stop you.

You may face a £1000 fine if you drive with a broken or obscured number plate.

How to Replace Your Number Plate

Now that you’ve decided to change your number plate, let’s dive into the practical steps to make it happen:

How to Replace Your Number Plate

Replacing your number plate is a straightforward process:

  • Purchase a New Number Plate: Begin by selecting a new number plate from a registered supplier. Ensure it meets the legal specifications, including the correct size and font.
  • Fix the New Number Plate Securely: Once you have your new plate, securely attach it to your vehicle using the appropriate fittings. It’s important to ensure the plate is properly secured to avoid any legal issues or fines.

Informing the DVLA

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) must be informed of your number plate change. You can do this online or by mail, using the relevant form provided by the DVLA. It’s important to keep your vehicle’s registration details up to date with the DVLA to avoid any potential issues.

Informing Your Insurers

Your insurance provider should also be notified of the change in your number plate to ensure your policy remains valid. Failing to update your insurance company can lead to complications in the event of an accident or theft, so it’s an essential step in the process.

change number plate - personalised plates on cars. Credit to Mike Finn
Photo credit Mike Finn

How Much Is My Number Plate Worth?

It’s not widely known, but some number plates can be incredibly valuable. Whether it’s a combination of initials, a memorable date, or a quirky phrase, the value of a personalised number plate can appreciate significantly over time.

Determining the Value of Your Number Plate

To gauge the potential worth of your number plate, consider factors such as:

  • The Uniqueness of the Combination: Number plates that feature unique combinations of letters and numbers are often more valuable. This uniqueness can be due to initials, a catchy phrase, or a particularly memorable sequence.
  • The Desirability of the Letters or Numbers: Certain letters or numbers may be considered more desirable, driving up the value of your plate. For example, plates with letters that can be interpreted as names or words are often sought after.
  • The Length of the Plate: Generally, shorter combinations are more sought after and can command higher prices.

Average Prices for Number Plates

Here’s a rough estimate of what your number plate could be worth, depending on the number of characters it contains:

  • how much is a 6 digit number plate worth: Plates with six characters typically range from £500 to £1,000.
  • how much is a 5 digit number plate worth: If your plate has five characters, it could be worth anywhere from £1,000 to £2,500.
  • how much is a 4 digit number plate worth: Four-character plates are often more valuable and can fetch prices between £2,500 and £5,000.
  • how much is a 3 digit number plate worth: For those lucky enough to have a three-character plate, the value can range from £5,000 to £10,000.
  • how much is a 2 digit number plate worth: Plates with just two characters are among the most sought after and can command substantial prices, ranging from £10,000 to £25,000 or more.
  • how much is a 1 digit number plate worth: These are the holy grail of number plate numbers and the prices can go into the hundreds of thousands.

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary significantly based on individual plate desirability and market demand.

It is also worth noting that plates with letters that from a word or name, for example “ROB99”, would be more valuable than “RZS31”.

Most expensive Number Plates ever sold in the UK

125 O£400,000November 2014
21 D£285,000March 2009
3DEV 1L£240,010December 2021
4IG 1£222,000July 2019
551 NGH£201,000April 2006
61 RH£196,000November 2008
7K1 NGS£185,000December 1993
8KR15 HNA£180,000May 2015
91 O£170,000January 2009
10=1 A£160,000December 1989
10=LSK 1£160,000October 2021

How Do I Sell My Private Number Plate?

If you’ve decided to part ways with your cherished number plate and cash in on its value, follow these steps:

  1. Valuation: Start by getting a professional valuation to determine the market price for your plate. A valuation expert can provide insights into the unique selling points of your plate.
  2. Marketplace: Choose a platform to list your number plate for sale. Popular options include Reg Transfers, Plate Hunters, and auctions. Consider the pros and cons of each platform and select the one that aligns with your goals.
  3. Documentation: Ensure you have all the necessary paperwork in order. This includes the V5C registration certificate, which is essential for transferring ownership. Having complete and organized documentation will expedite the sale process.
  4. Transfer: Complete the transfer process with the DVLA, which involves updating the registration certificate with the new owner’s details. This ensures a smooth and legal transition of ownership.
  5. Negotiation: Be prepared to negotiate with potential buyers to secure the best price for your plate. Keep in mind that the value of personalised number plates can be subjective, and buyers may have varying budgets.
  6. Sale: Once you’ve agreed on a price, complete the sale and transfer the number plate to the new owner. Ensure all necessary paperwork is properly signed and submitted to the DVLA to finalize the transfer.


Changing your number plate can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to personalize your vehicle and potentially unlock hidden value. Whether it’s a cracked number plate or a desire for a unique identifier, understanding the process and the potential worth of your plate is essential. So, make the most of your number plate, and if you decide to sell it, you could be in for a pleasant surprise. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or simply looking to make the most of your investment, exploring the world of personalised number plates can be both fun and financially rewarding.

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