Looking to to buy a used car, then here is how to work out the age of a vehicle's age by looking at its number plate. There have been several changes over the years, so here's how to correctly identify the age of a vehicle from its number plate.
These rules do not apply to private number plates, however. We will also explain how to find out the age of these cars using an alternative method.
This car was registered 2005/2006 (Credit: Pete Barden)
With the years rolling by, the way that a car's age is identified has had to change over the years. Here is how it works for cars and other vehicles.
Car number plate age from 1963 - 1982
During this period, a vehicle's ages was identified by a letter at the end of the number plate. As you can see from the table below, this when from A to Y, missing out a few letters such as i that could be confused with others.
Car number plate age from 1983 - 2001
With the suffix letters running out, the age protocol turned to adding a prefix letter. This saw the age identifier added to the start of the vehicle number plate. Like the suffix, the prefix identifier included most letters from A to Y.
See the relevant table below for a full list.
Car number plate age from 2001
The noughties saw a change from letters to numbers for the purpose of identifying a vehicle's age. The latest is going to be 72, which comes out in September 22. You can see the full list below.
Suffix letter age 1963 - 1982
|Year of vehicle release||Suffix - number at end|
Prefix letter age 1983 - 2001
|Year of vehicle||Pefix - letter at start|
Number age identifier from 2001
|Year of vehicle||1 march to
|1 September to
Find out how old a car is if it has a private number plate
If a car has a private number plate, the age identifier is unlikely to be correct, or present at all. If it is, it is worth remembering the vehicle cannot be made to look new than it actually is.
To check the age on such cars, just look for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This will typically be found on the car's b-pillar on a metal plate, or etched to the bottom right of the car's windscreen when looking from outside the car. The 10th number should reveal the date of manufacture. See the table below to work out which year.
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