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How to Fit a Number Plate

How to fit a number plate


Do you remember your first year in the university and how excited you were when you started your first semester? You probably will care less about other things until you’re turned back from entering the class because you don’t have a proper identification. If you ever met such a roadblock you already knew how much it hurts to be denied access to the things that matter to you.


You can relate this to other important places that require that rules should be kept. The same thing happens when you get a new car. The excitement is sometimes unpalatable to say the least. But, the law won’t allow you drive around town without proper vehicle identification. Apart from the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the number plate is the identity of your car.


What is A Number Plate?


Apart from the vehicles used by the Royal family, every vehicle on the road in the UK is expected to properly display the vehicle registration plates and this is compulsory. The number plate is an Alpha-numeric plate displaying information about the car and the owner. In the UK, this plates are rectangular or square in shape. The dimensions and lettering are as permitted within the law of the land. According to the law, the front plates are white, unlike the back plates which are expected to be yellow. Only vehicles registered before January of 1975 are permitted to use plates with white or silver characters.


Number plate


The number plate has seven characters with a defined format. There is an EU identifier which is marked “GB” for Great Britain. Then you have two alphabets, two numbers and three random alphabets which represents area code, age identifier and random numbers respectively.


Fixing the Number Plate


A few steps are required to get your car up to standard as required by law. The number plate should be properly fitted in the allotted spot on your car. While it is important that it is done well enough, you may be a victim of arrest if you fail to meet the required standard in that regard. That could cost you a good sum of money for breaking the law. There’s a reason that spot is made differently. This is just to make it fit perfectly well into the space.

I’ll guide you through the steps in a very simple manner. You might find these steps useful if you are unwilling to spend extra bucks to hire someone else to do it for you. Practically, it will take less than 30 minutes of your time to get a number plate fixed. I think I’m generous with the amount of time though, depending on who is handling it. But first, what are the tools or items you need to complete the plate fixing task?


Tools Needed for Fixing a Number Plate


Tool kit to replace a number plate


  1. A drill bit – an appropriate type of between 4mm to 6mm
  2. A Philips screw driver – for unscrewing and screwing
  3. A cordless or electric drill – for drilling holes
  4. Original self-tapping non-corrosive screws,
  5. Original colour-coded screw caps
  6. A piece of smooth wood, if necessary, but totally optional if the surface is of no great importance to you.
  7. A piece of clean, soft cloth for cleaning the plates and surface area.


Please note that all of the listed items may not be needed to fit a number plate to a car depending on whether they are new or replacement plates, but it is important to have the items. After all, there’s nothing to lose.

Let’s go through the steps together one by one.


Step one:


  • Remove the original number plate, if any (well, I expect that there’ll be)
  • Pop open the plastic screw caps on the existing number plate, and
  • Unscrew the screws that attach the original plate to the vehicle with a fitting screwdriver


Step two:


  • Place the old plate on top of the new one as a guide to measuring where to drill holes on the new plate. It is important to use the old plate as a template so that you don’t drill hole in the wrong spot on the new plate. The feeling is bad. So, be sure to be accurate in your measurement and drilling.


Step Three


  • You can place the wood under the plates (old and new) so that you don’t drill into the surface of the ground or whatever surface you’re using (could be costly or painful to damage your treasured surface area).
  • Be careful to drill holes neatly and slowly to avoid slipping as a result of the vibration from the drilling machine. Avoid drilling a pilot hole because it can cause a crack.


Step Four:


  • Because you want your work to be as neat as possible, polish the number plate using a clean soft cloth to remove residue from the drill and possible fingerprints from the surface of the plate.


Step Five:


  • Carefully thread the screws through the plastic caps.
  • Screw the new number plate firmly to the car using the original holes in the bumper.
  • Be careful not to over tighten the screws as this can cause a dent or even break through the plate or the bumper.
  • Close the plastic caps firmly and you’re done!


This exercise is a simple one but care must be taken to avoid screwing things up. But, when it becomes a difficult thing for you to do, you can get an expert to do it for you, although we are not sure how you would justify the cost of doing that.


As you celebrate your success in fitting a number plate, be careful to check that it is properly fitted as a misplaced or interchanged plates can land you in some kind of trouble with the authorities. The law clearly stipulates that the white plates should be correctly place in front of the vehicle, while the yellow plates are expected to be firmly and correctly fitted to the back of the vehicle.


Whether it is your first plate or a replacement plate, the process is the same and it is important for you to follow guidelines. If you find that you have no idea about it, promptly seek proper counsel from expert in matters relating to vehicles and number plates when you need one. Wrongly fitting a number plate may seem petty, trivial or even negligible, but the outcome can be beyond what you’d have expectations for as huge sums of money can part your bank account in fines.


Apart from the procedures and general rules guiding the fitting of plates, losing one or both of the plates while on the road could prove a bitter pill to chew. More painful is the agony of being stopped by men of the force, the police for not having them attached on your vehicle, especially if you’re in a hurry or running late to meet an appointment. Whatever the case, care should be taken that all is set and confirmed correct. When that is done, you’re all set to grace the streets of the UK with your vehicle without any obstruction in the slightest form.


With many number plates gaining access into the fray, it is obvious the market will experience a swell in the sale of number plates, especially with many private business tycoons get involved with personalized numbers. Whatever the type of registration plates you have, rules are rules and should be respected. While you have your eyes on perfection in fitting your vehicle with the legally allowed plate, be sure to have it properly fitted, it might save you a lot of troubles. We wish you safety every time you get on the road in your vehicle.

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