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UK number plate years explained: Guide with lists

Last updated June 08, 2023

The older ‘prefix’ and ‘suffix’ UK number plate formats contain a single age-identifying letter that allows you to check the car’s age by its registration.

However, the current ‘infix’ format is a little trickier to decipher (as there are two date intervals for every year), but once you understand the logic behind it, all should become clear.

In this guide, we will explain how the various UK number plate formats are set out, what information they contain (and how to find it).

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Infix number plate format

These are the number plates we see on cars registered after 1st September 2001. Infix plates comprise seven characters (with an area code, age-identifier and random letters).

Graphic explaining the infix registration plate format    

Infix age identifiers

With infix-style plates, the third and fourth characters make up the ‘age identifier’ code, which denotes when the vehicle was registered. This two-digit number is changed twice each year (at the beginning of March - and again at the beginning of September).

The first digit of the age identifier indicates the decade in which the car was registered (and the second digit always denotes the year within that decade).

Here’s where things can get slightly confusing; the format for the first digit differs depending on whether the vehicle was issued between March and August - or September and February:

Cars issued from March-August:

  • 0 = 2001-09.
  • 1 = 2010-19.
  • 2 = 2020-29.

Cars issued from September-February:

  • 5 = 2001-09.
  • 6 = 2010-19.
  • 7 = 2020-29.
Plate From To
51 Sep-01 Mar-02
2 Mar-02 Sep-02
52 Sep-02 Mar-03
3 Mar-03 Sep-03
53 Sep-03 Mar-04
4 Mar-04 Sep-04
54 Sep-04 Mar-05
5 Mar-05 Sep-05
55 Sep-05 Mar-06
6 Mar-06 Sep-06
56 Sep-06 Mar-07
7 Mar-07 Sep-07
57 Sep-07 Mar-08
8 Mar-08 Sep-08
58 Sep-08 Mar-09
9 Mar-09 Sep-09
59 Sep-09 Mar-10
10 Mar-10 Sep-10
60 Sep-10 Mar-11
11 Mar-11 Sep-11
61 Sep-11 Mar-12
12 Mar-12 Sep-12
62 Sep-12 Mar-13
13 Mar-13 Sep-13
63 Sep-13 Mar-14
14 Mar-14 Sep-14
64 Sep-14 Mar-15
15 Mar-15 Sep-15
65 Sep-15 Mar-16
16 Mar-16 Sep-16
66 Sep-16 Mar-17
17 Mar-17 Sep-17
67 Sep-17 Mar-18
18 Mar-18 Sep-18
68 Sep-18 Mar-19
19 Mar-19 Sep-19
69 Sep-19 Mar-20
20 Mar-20 Sep-20
70 Sep-20 Mar-21
21 Mar-21 Sep-21
71 Sep-21 Mar-22
22 Mar-22 Sep-22
72 Sep-22 Mar-23
23 Mar-23 Sep-23
73 Sep-23 Mar-24
24 Mar-24 Sep-24

Prefix number plate format

The seven-character ‘prefix’ style number plates (which many of us know so well) contain an age identifier, sequential number and an area code.

Graphic explaining the prefix registration plate format    

Prefix age identifiers

As the name suggests, with prefix-style number plates, the age-identifier comes first. In this case, it is a single letter, denotating the year in which the vehicle was registered.

(The letters ‘I’, ‘O’, ‘Q’, ‘U’, and ‘Z’ are not used, as they could be mistaken for different numbers or letters.)

Letter From To
A 01-Aug-83 31-Jul-84
B 01-Aug-84 31-Jul-85
C 01-Aug-85 31-Jul-86
D 01-Aug-86 31-Jul-87
E 01-Aug-87 31-Jul-88
F 01-Aug-88 31-Jul-89
G 01-Aug-89 31-Jul-90
H 01-Aug-90 31-Jul-91
J 01-Aug-91 31-Jul-92
K 01-Aug-92 31-Jul-93
L 01-Aug-93 31-Jul-94
M 01-Aug-94 31-Jul-95
N 01-Aug-95 31-Jul-96
P 01-Aug-96 31-Jul-97
R 01-Aug-97 31-Jul-98
S 01-Aug-98 28-Feb-99
T 01-Mar-99 31-Jul-99
V 01-Aug-99 28-Feb-00
W 01-Mar-00 31-Jul-00
X 01-Aug-00 28-Feb-01
Y 01-Mar-01 31-Aug-01

Suffix number plate format

Suffix-style plates were first introduced in 1963 to expand the number of unique registrations that could be assigned to vehicles.

Much like prefix plates, suffix plates contain an area code, sequential numbers and an age identifier. The key difference with suffix plates is that the first three letters denote the area code – and the last character is the age identifier (whereas with prefix plates, it is the reverse).

Graphic explaining the suffix registration plate format    

Suffix age identifiers

This letter is the age identifier. During the suffix plate era, this was changed on the 1st January each year.

Letter From To
A 01-Feb-63 31-Dec-63
B 01-Jan-64 31-Dec-64
C 01-Jan-65 31-Dec-65
D 01-Jan-66 31-Dec-66
E 01-Jan-67 31-Jul-67
F 01-Aug-67 31-Jul-68
G 01-Aug-68 31-Jul-69
H 01-Aug-69 31-Jul-70
J 01-Aug-70 31-Jul-71
K 01-Aug-71 31-Jul-72
L 01-Aug-72 31-Jul-73
M 01-Aug-73 31-Jul-74
N 01-Aug-74 31-Jul-75
P 01-Aug-75 31-Jul-76
R 01-Aug-76 31-Jul-77
S 01-Aug-77 31-Jul-78
T 01-Aug-78 31-Jul-79
V 01-Aug-79 31-Jul-80
W 01-Aug-80 31-Jul-81
X 01-Aug-81 31-Jul-82
Y 01-Aug-82 31-Jul-83

Year of registration and year of manufacture

There is some confusion surrounding the difference between a vehicle’s registration year and its year of manufacture. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, although it is important to be aware that in some circumstances, a vehicle’s registration year and year of manufacture will differ.

For instance, if a car left the production line in December 2022 but didn’t arrive at a dealership until January 2023, its year of manufacture would be 2022, but its registration year would be 2023.

Finding my registration year

You can identify your car’s registration year by reading its reg plate. Read our guide ‘What year is my car?’ to find out how to do this. You can also find out the date a vehicle was registered by running a free car check.

Finding my year of manufacture

The year of manufacture refers to the year a car was built.

You can find the year of manufacture by referring to the VIN number on your car, with the year of manufacture represented by either a letter or a number (depending on the age of the vehicle).

If you have the VIN number of a vehicle, but don’t have the registration number, it may be possible to find your car’s registration from the VIN number.