Are 4D Gel Plates Legal? Gel Number Plates

4D gel plates are an increasingly popular and distinctive option to add an extra level of character to your vehicle. At Bespoke Plates, we understand the love and passion our customers have for making their vehicles an expression of them, and we are here to help every step of the way.

As a leading number plate maker in the UK, from 3D gel number plates to 4D number plates, to regular number plates and electric vehicle number plates, we understand that you may have some questions, one of them being ‘are 4D gel plates legal?’

Personalised number plates are becoming increasingly popular, so we want to make sure that you have all of the information you need about gel number plates and if they are right for you.

So what is a 4D gel plate?

bespoke plates 4d gel plate

4D gel plates come under the distinction of a gel number plate.

A gel number plate refers to a number plate which has its characters altered to achieve a distinct 3-dimensional raised appearance on the words and numbers on the registration plate. This is achieved by applying industrial-strength long-lasting resin on top of the 3D characters.

The unique aspect of our 4D plates is that:

  • Characters placed by hand
  • Acrylic plate – acrylic letters (laser cut)
  • Rectangular and deep-raised characters

4D plates are also made from acrylic but instead of polyurethane characters, they use professionally laser-cut characters made from acrylic sheeting. This allows the characters to be thicker and more rectangular for a more eye-catching look.

4D plates, in comparison to their 3D counterpart, carry a premium of up to 20%. This is due to the individual characters being laser cut by us. The characters are also made to order in-house.

The 4D plates we offer are available in several styles:

  • 4D 3mm
  • 4D 5mm
  • 4D Gel
  • 4D Glitter Gel
  • Carbon 4D Gel
  • Krystal 4D
  • Krystal Gel

Gel number plates are also known to last longer as a result of the industrial strength, and long-lasting resin we apply. Read more about the superior resilience of gel plates here.

We also offer 3D plates alongside 4D plates. Our blog has a deeper delve into the distinctions between the two plates if you want insight into that.

Want to see how a 4D plate could look on your vehicle? head over to our website so you can visualise what your plate could look like. Still not convinced? Check out our blog on why you should choose a 4D plate.

Now, we are going to answer the question, are 4D gel plates legal?

Are 4D gel plates legal?

In relation to the new ruling around number plating in the UK, you may have read it and wondered  ‘are 4D gel plates legal?’ And the answer is yes, to a degree.

As of 2022, as long as your number plate follows the guidelines highlighted by the DVLA,  it is 100% legal for 4D gel plates to be used on your vehicle.

The reason it isn’t a straightforward yes is because of show plates. Show plates (due to their high level of customisable features) are illegal to drive with on public roads. Even if they have 4D characters on them, it does not make them legal.

The new rulings highlighted by the DVLA are as follows:

  • The plate must be made from a reflective material. This is for road safety, to ensure other road users and authorities such as the police can see your license plate.
  • Black display characters on a white background (front plate)
  • Black display characters on a yellow background (rear plate)
  • No background pattern on the plate, to avoid any distortion in the readability of the plate.
  • Having markings that indicate the number plate supplier. To assist with any sourcing queries or incidents of theft.
  • Be marked with a British Standard number – for plates fitted after September 1st 2021, the British Standard number is ‘BS AU 145e’.
  • Numbers and letters on the plate must not be removable or reflective. From September 1st 2021 all fitted plates must have a single shade of black within the numbering and lettering.

Additionally, custom plates can also display the following:

  • 3D raised characters
  • Display of certain flags, symbols and identifiers
  • If your vehicle is a zero-emission vehicle, it must display a green flash on the side of the plate.

As of March 2022, further changes have been made to the law regarding number plating (including 4D gel plates) and are as follows:

  • Additionally toughened to ensure they can withstand hits and destructive materials that can be found on UK roads.
  • Only single in colour as two tones are deemed to cause issues when dealing with different light sources and bad weather. Acrylic and gel lettering is still approved, it just needs to be a single tone to be a legal plate. Show plates can, of course, still have more creative designs.
  • Location identifiers, including the address and postcode of the supplier, also need to be included.

As a legally certified license plate vendor, we can guarantee that the options you choose for your plate will be within all of the legal parameters outlined by the DVLA, as a result, you will receive official paperwork to show any time it is requested.

For information by the DVLA on private (personalised) number plate registering, buying and selling and other processes, click here.

Will 4D Gel plates fail an MOT?

As we’ve established, 4D plates are legal as long as they follow the previously highlighted stipulations, however, does this mean they will pass an MOT? It is not as simple as a yes or no.

An MOT is a legally required test for your vehicle to ensure it is safe to drive on the roads without being a danger to the driver or other road users. Brand-new cars do not need to be booked for an MOT until it is the 3rd Anniversary of their registration.

Before buying a 2nd hand car, be sure to check its MOT status before purchase, which you can do through the official government gateway.

Driving a vehicle with no valid MOT can lead to a £1000 fine. Driving after a failed MOT test in which your car is deemed dangerous, can result in a £2500 fine, 3 points on your licence and being banned from driving.

Many components are checked during an MOT, including the registration plate, but what aspects of the plate are they actually checking?

  • Condition – a chipped or damaged registration plate can result in debris in the road, difficulty to identify the plate and maybe loose enough to fall off whilst you drive.
  • secure attachment – Insecure or loose-fitting number plates have the potential to be stolen or fall off on the road whilst you drive, creating a hazard for other road users.
  • Colour – Having the wrong colour on your plates can result in them being illegal and more difficult for things like ANPR to identify your plate.
  • characters correctly formed and spaced – This again relates to the readability of your plate for things like an ANPR. Incorrect spacing and character formation are also illegal. Other road users and pedestrians may have difficulty reading your plate too.

It also must be clarified that it is not just your plate’s status that decides whether or not you pass an MOT. But if the rest of the checked components of your vehicle do not meet the standards required for your MOT, you will not pass.

At Bespoke Plates, we offer installation on all of our plates, guaranteeing you will pass the plate-checking aspect of your MOT.

The reason we guarantee this is that our installation services are second to none, we know the best and most efficient way to install our plates that will prevent them from falling off. Self-installation may result in you damaging the plate, or not securing correctly, which is why we offer this service to you.

Get your 4D plate today

We at Bespoke Plates have all the options you can ask for, as an approved license vendor we can guarantee your modification abides by the DVLA rules whilst offering same-day collections and full fitting service.

We hope for anyone still wondering ‘Are 4D gel plates legal?’ that we provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs. If you choose to purchase and install your 4D plates through Bespoke Plates, we can guarantee your registration plate will be legal, as long as you follow our guidance.

To get in touch and discuss the full fitting service we offer with our plates you can talk to one of the members of our team by:

  • Email –
  • Phone – 0333 006 7878
  • Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,
M8 8NN

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