Ever looked at your car’s number plate and thought to yourself…what does it all actually mean? Well, here is a quick guide made by us here at Canterbury Motoring World to help you get a better understanding as knowing how a number plate is made up is a useful bit of knowledge to have particularly if you are looking to buy a used car.
Number plates on vehicles have been used since 1903 in the UK. However, interestingly within the UK there are two different numbering systems used as Northern Ireland use a slightly different format to the rest of the United Kingdom. Additionally, it is also common to see personalised number plates on vehicles in the UK, however these do not follow the same format or rules as the current system in which we are explaining below.
Since 1999, Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) get a new registration released twice a year, with this current format first being introduced in September 2001 and should be sufficient to use up until the year 2051. It is compulsory to have a registration plate on your vehicle that adheres to the Road Vehicles Regulations 2001 laws, the main rule being that they must all look the same, having one white plate at the front and one yellow one of the back and all seven characters must be black. These regulations ensure that due to their colour, size and shape, number plates aren’t only easily read by the human eye but also by cameras and computers when using Automatic Number Plate Recognition.
There are 3 different parts to the current number plate, all have their own purpose and meaning:
- Local Memory Tag – these first 2 letters are an indication as the where the vehicle was first registered. The first letter represents the region, with the second letter representing the local DVLA office.
- Age Identifier – these two numbers do exactly what the label suggests, shows you the age of the vehicle. This is the part of the registration plate that changes twice a year, on the 1st March and then again on the 1st
- Random Element – these 3 letters at the end of your registration have no specific meaning, it is just the element of the number plate that gives your cars its unique identity. (fun fact: these last 3 letters are genera
ted at random by a computer but are then double checked by actual people to ensure the results don’t spell out anything offensive!)
There are a number of advantages of using the current number plate format:
- Buyers of second-hand vehicles can easily know the age of the car without looking into its paperwork
- In cases of accidents or vehicle related crimes the current system makes it easier for the police to identify and narrow down suspects.
We hope you know have a better understanding of the current number plate system that we use but don’t panic if you come into Canterbury Motoring World looking for a used car and still are a bit unsure, our staff are there to help and answer any questions!
Author: Rebecca McGinty
Lost your car keys or had them stolen? And don’t have a spare one? This is a sticky situation that no one wants to find themselves in! However, surveys suggest that 26% of drivers have experienced losing their car keys and as modern car keys are getting more and more technical, it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to have them replaced.
The good news is though, here at Canterbury Motoring World we have looked into a few different options that you have when needing to get your hands on a replacement car key, and you’ll be pleased to know that some don’t have to cost the earth!
Losing or having your car keys stolen is not just an extremely inconvenient situation but also a highly stressful one. On top of the stress that you don’t have access to your car, you also have the added worry that your keys have potentially fallen into the hands of someone else and they have access to your vehicle instead.
First things first! Don’t Panic!! Many people realise after turning their house and its contents upside down and their pockets inside out in a mad search that yes their keys are definitely lost and then they make the rash decision to try and break into their cars themselves. In most cases this is going to work out more expensive in the long run! So, just take a moment, let the realisation sink it, read the following information and come up with a well thought out plan of how to resolve the issue.
Surprisingly there are a few options available to you if you are in need of a replacement car key:
- Claim on your insurance – check your insurance policy as on a lot of policies now car keys are a standard item. However, the excess in which you have to pay may actually end up costing more than a different key replacement option, as well as jeopardising your no claims bonus. Therefore, it is always best to explore other options beforehand.
- Claim on a ‘key cover’ policy – for an annual fee there are policies in which you can sign up too to help with lost or stolen keys
- Call your breakdown service – many popular recovery companies can also help you in situation such as this
- Buy a new set from the car manufacturer – this maybe the easiest option but can be a costly one so you may want to research a cheaper alternative
- Get a spare cut on the high street – the older your car the most available this option will be to you.
Please Note: Whichever option you go for, you will require the following information about your car: The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the year, make and model of the car.
Here at Canterbury Motoring World we think that the best option for you if you do find yourself in this position is to call a local automotive locksmith. The older your vehicle, the more chance there is that they will be able to not only gain entry to your car but sort you out with a replacement key whilst they are there. The benefit of this option is that local automotive locksmiths tend to charge a significantly lower rate for these types of jobs than a manufacturer or dealer would. However, be aware that not all can be so trustworthy so make sure you choose a reputable one as unfortunately there are many out there that will take advantage and use your vulnerable and desperate situation to their benefit to make more money.
Author: Rebecca McGinty