Will 14 be your lucky number?


Will 14 be your lucky number?

It’s just days to go until the new ‘14’ number plate is introduced, and with it a host of new car deals – fingers crossed. In fact, there are some drivers who’ve already reserved their personalised '14' plates, and the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency is holding several auctions of personalised registrations for people to bid on.

We take a look at why the new registration is coming in, and what it all means.

Cracking the code

Have you ever wondered what the numbers and letters on your number plate mean? Well, once you know what you’re looking at, it’s really quite easy to decipher.

A new number plate system was introduced in 2001. While an example of the old system is A 123 ABC, a post-2001 plate would read AB14 ABC. This is what each section means:

  • First two letters: local area code. These two letters signify the place where the vehicle was registered. For instance, M stands for Manchester or Merseyside. Witnesses to cars involved in crimes have a better chance of remembering the first couple of letters of a number plate than the later digits - and as the first digits are the local memory tag, police can narrow their initial search to vehicles registered in a particular area.
  • Two numbers: This is the age identifier. If the plate is issued between March 1st and August 31st, it will be the last two digits of the year (March 2014 = 14), and if it’s issued between September 1st and February 28th it’s the last two letters of the year plus 50 (September 2014 (14 + 50) = 64).
  • Random letters: This is a unique sequence of three random letters that are allocated to the new car dealership the vehicle will be sold by when it’s registered.

Scoring a deal?

But how does all of this information really affect you, the car buyer? Well, it could help you to score a bit of a bargain.

Because the numbers on the plate signify its age, a car registered in February 2014 looks a lot older than a car registered in March 2014 – even though in reality they are only a few weeks apart in age. This means it’s sometimes possible to get a good deal.

If you’ve saved or secured a car loan, it’s worth looking around during the weeks preceding the introduction of a new plate, as there’s always a chance that dealerships will put on sales at this time. Even if they don’t, you can use it as a reason to haggle.

The same goes for second-hand cars. You might be able to find a car with a 2013 number plate (either ‘13’ or ‘63’) that doesn’t have many miles on the clock, but that the dealer’s keen to part with. It’s always worth seeing if there’s a deal to be done – you never know how much you could save.

If you’ve missed your chance this month, don’t worry – you can try in August before the new ‘64’ plate is introduced.