- How can I find out what year my car is
- Current number plate series
- How old is my car?
- Find out the year of a pre-2001 car
- Did you know?
- Other ways to check the age of your car
If you’re uncertain about the year of your car and need to determine its age for various purposes such as getting an insurance quote, selling the vehicle, or acquiring specific parts, our comprehensive guide will assist you in discovering its exact year of manufacture.
How can I find out what year my car is?
To determine the year of your car, the quickest method is to check the number plate. The combination of letters and numbers on the plate provides essential information about the car’s age and initial registration location.
This knowledge is valuable when getting car insurance, purchasing specific parts, or considering selling the vehicle. By understanding the codes on the number plate, you can easily identify the year your car was manufactured and registered.
Current number plate series
In the UK, the current number plate series is known as the “Millennium registration,” which has been in use since 2001. These number plates follow a specific format that provides information about the car’s origin and age.
The format of the Millennium plates is as follows:
- 2 letters (local memory tag): The first two letters on your number plate indicate the area where your car was initially registered. The first letter represents a specific postcode area, while the second letter identifies the DVLA office responsible for the registration.
- 2 numbers (age identifier): The middle two numbers indicate the year of registration and the six-month period in which the car was registered. The numbers correspond to either March to August or September to February.
- 3 letters (random letters): The final three letters on the number plate are a random combination that adds a unique identity to your car.
By decoding the information on your number plate, you can determine the year and location of registration for your vehicle.
This knowledge can be useful for various purposes, including getting insurance, obtaining specific car parts, or selling your vehicle.
How old is my car?
In the UK, number plates follow a specific format that provides information about the age and origin of a vehicle. The current number plate series, known as the “Millennium registration,” has been in use since 2001. Decoding the number plate can help you determine the year your car was registered and where it was originally registered.
The format of the Millennium number plates consists of the following elements:
- Local Memory Tag: The first two letters on the number plate represent the local memory tag, indicating the area where your car was first registered. The first letter represents a specific postcode area, while the second letter identifies the DVLA office responsible for the registration. Here is a table showing the codes and their corresponding regions:
|A||Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk)|
|B||Birmingham, Black Country|
|D||Deeside, Shrewsbury, Chester|
|F||Forest and Fens (Peterborough, Lincolnshire)|
|G||Garden of England (Kent, East Sussex)|
|H||Hampshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight|
|J||South East (London, Surrey)|
|K||No official region|
|V||Severn Valley (Worcestershire, Gloucestershire)|
|W||West of England (Bristol, Somerset)|
|X||No official region|
- Age Identifier: The middle two numbers on the number plate indicate the age identifier. These numbers represent the year of registration and the specific six-month period in which the car was registered. The following table shows the age identifier codes:
|51||September 2001 – February 2002|
|02||March 2002 – August 2002|
|52||September 2002 – February 2003|
|03||March 2003 – August 2003|
|53||September 2003 – February 2004|
|04||March 2004 – August 2004|
|54||September 2004 – February 2005|
|05||March 2005 – August 2005|
|55||September 2005 – February 2006|
|06||March 2006 – August 2006|
|56||September 2006 – February 2007|
|07||March 2007 – August 2007|
|57||September 2007 – February 2008|
|08||March 2008 – August 2008|
|58||September 2008 – February 2009|
|09||March 2009 – August 2009|
|59||September 2009 – February 2010|
|10||March 2010 – August 2010|
|60||September 2010 – February 2011|
|11||March 2011 – August 2011|
|61||September 2011 – February 2012|
|12||March 2012 – August 2012|
|62||September 2012 – February 2013|
|13||March 2013 – August 2013|
|63||September 2013 – February 2014|
|14||March 2014 – August 2014|
|64||September 2014 – February 2015|
|15||March 2015 – August 2015|
|65||September 2015 – February 2016|
|16||March 2016 – August 2016|
|66||September 2016 – February 2017|
|17||March 2017 – August 2017|
|67||September 2017 – February 2018|
|18||March 2018 – August 2018|
|68||September 2018 – February 2019|
|19||March 2019 – August 2019|
|69||September 2019 – February 2020|
|20||March 2020 – August 2020|
|70||September 2020 – February 2021|
|21||March 2021 – August 2021|
|71||September 2021 – February 2022|
|22||March 2022 – August 2022|
|72||September 2022 – February 2023|
|23||March 2023 – August 2023|
|73||September 2023 – February 2024|
|24||March 2024 – August 2024|
|74||September 2024 – February 2025|
|25||March 2025 – August 2025|
|75||September 2025 – February 2026|
|26||March 2026 – August 2026|
|76||September 2026 – February 2027|
|27||March 2027 – August 2027|
|77||September 2027 – February 2028|
|28||March 2028 – August 2028|
|78||September 2028 – February 2029|
|29||March 2029 – August 2029|
|79||September 2029 – February 2030|
|30||March 2030 – August 2030|
|80||September 2030 – February 2031|
|31||March 2031 – August 2031|
|81||September 2031 – February 2032|
|32||March 2032 – August 2032|
|82||September 2032 – February 2033|
|33||March 2033 – August 2033|
|83||September 2033 – February 2034|
|34||March 2034 – August 2034|
|84||September 2034 – February 2035|
|35||March 2035 – August 2035|
|85||September 2035 – February 2036|
|36||March 2036 – August 2036|
|86||September 2036 – February 2037|
|37||March 2037 – August 2037|
|87||September 2037 – February 2038|
|38||March 2038 – August 2038|
|88||September 2038 – February 2039|
|39||March 2039 – August 2039|
|89||September 2039 – February 2040|
|40||March 2040 – August 2040|
|90||September 2040 – February 2041|
|41||March 2041 – August 2041|
|91||September 2041 – February 2042|
|42||March 2042 – August 2042|
|92||September 2042 – February 2043|
|43||March 2043 – August 2043|
|93||September 2043 – February 2044|
|44||March 2044 – August 2044|
|94||September 2044 – February 2045|
|45||March 2045 – August 2045|
|95||September 2045 – February 2046|
|46||March 2046 – August 2046|
|96||September 2046 – February 2047|
|47||March 2047 – August 2047|
|97||September 2047 – February 2048|
|48||March 2048 – August 2048|
|98||September 2048 – February 2049|
|49||March 2049 – August 2049|
|99||September 2049 – February 2050|
Understanding the number plate format lets you quickly determine the year your car was registered and gain valuable information about its age and origin. This information can be useful for various purposes, such as insurance, parts, or selling your vehicle.
Find out the year of a pre-2001 car
In the UK, cars registered before 1 September 2001 follow either the suffix or prefix registration formats. These formats provide valuable information about the year a car was first registered. Here’s how you can identify the age of a pre-2001 car:
Suffix Registration Format (1963 – 1982): Cars registered between 1963 and 1982 used the suffix registration format, which consists of the following sequence:
- Three letters (area code)
- Random numbers
- One letter (age identifier) indicating the year of registration
The table below shows the age identifiers for the suffix registration format:
|Age Identifier||Suffix Registration Year|
Prefix Registration Format (1983 – 1 September 2001): Cars registered between 1983 and 1 September 2001 used the prefix registration format, which follows this sequence:
- One letter (age identifier) representing the year of registration
- Random numbers
- Three letters (area code)
The table below shows the age identifiers for the prefix registration format:
|Age Identifier||Prefix Registration Year|
By referring to these tables, you can easily determine the approximate year of manufacture for a pre-2001 car based on its registration format.
Did you know?
In both the suffix and prefix registration formats, certain letters were intentionally excluded to avoid confusion with numbers or other characters. The registration plates did not use the letters I, O, Q, U, and Z.
- I and O: These letters were omitted to prevent confusion with the numbers 1 and 0, respectively. The similarity in appearance between the letters and numbers could lead to misinterpretation or errors.
- U: The letter U was excluded because it closely resembles the letter V used in the registration plates.
- Z: Similar to the letter U, the letter Z was not used to avoid confusion with the letter S, which is part of the registration plates.
It’s interesting to note that the exclusion of these letters helped in maintaining clarity and readability on the registration plates.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that Q plates are a special category used for vehicles whose age cannot be determined or falls outside the standard registration formats. This includes kit cars, classic cars, and imported vehicles. Q plates indicate that the age of the vehicle is unknown or unidentifiable.
By understanding these nuances, you can appreciate the thought and precision that goes into the design and allocation of registration plates for vehicles in the United Kingdom.
Other ways to check the age of your car
If you don’t want to go through the process of decoding your number plate, there are alternative methods to determine the age of your vehicle.
Check your V5C logbook
The V5C logbook provides comprehensive information about your car, including the date of its first registration. In addition to the registration date, the logbook contains details about the current registered keeper, MOT history, service records, and tax information. To find out when your car was initially registered, refer to the “Vehicle Details” section in your V5C logbook.
Access information from the DVLA
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) website offers a wealth of information about your car. By visiting their online portal, you can gather various details, including the date of registration, CO2 emissions, tax status, and MOT history. To access this information, you will need the vehicle’s registration number and the vehicle’s make and model.
Consult a vehicle history check service
There are numerous vehicle history check services available online that can provide you with comprehensive information about your car’s history. These services often include data such as the registration date, previous owners, mileage records, accident history, and more. It’s a convenient way to gather detailed information about your vehicle’s past.
By utilising these methods, you can easily determine the age of your car and gain valuable insights into its history.
Whether you prefer consulting your logbook, accessing the DVLA website, or using a vehicle history check service, these resources can help you obtain accurate and reliable information about your vehicle.