Are LED Number Plate Lights Legal?

For those who want to make their gel plates stand out even more, LED number plate lights may seem like a great option to add to the vehicle. But are LED number plate lights legal?

At Bespoke Plates, we want to give our customers (and anyone interested in personalising their number plate) peace of mind before deciding to make the investment. In this blog, we will be addressing just that, along with the legalities and other solutions we offer to questions you may have or services you may need.

What is a LED number plate light?

A LED number plate light is a series of small energy-efficient LED lights placed on the vehicle in such a way that the licsensce plate is highlighted. Most cars have number plate lights as a standard feature, to ensure the vehicle is easily identifiable.

There can be various instances in which someone would want to add more lights onto their vehicle, an example being if you have a plate modification and would like to highlight it, or if you are the owner of a unique private plate.

It can be a benefit as it makes your car easily identifiable. However, if installed incorrectly there is every possibility that you can distract or impact the vision of other road users.

So is this accessory legal?

Are LED number plate lights legal?

As of now, there are no rules regarding the maximum amount of light allowed to use for you to highlight a number plate. So currently, LED number plate lights are legal.

Even though this is the case, you should always proceed with caution and common sense if deciding to install this upgrade. This would come in the form of not having the lights so bright that it distracts other road users or makes your plate more difficult to identify.

Furthermore, proper installation must be considered, even though LED’s are energy efficient you must be careful especially if your installation involves wiring (which is unlikely.) Frayed or loose wiring can present a danger to yourself and other road users.

So what are the legalities of number plates in general?

Number Plate legality

With show plates being the only exemption, our gel plates, both 3D and 4D are fully compliant with the specified legalities that should be observed when making a plate, as the number 1 plate maker, we have standards to stick to, and one of them is to keep our customers stress free!

As long as your number plate follows the guidelines highlighted by the DVLA,  it is 100% legal for gel plates to be used on your vehicle. Customised license plates that fall outside of the rules of the DVLA are still legal to own and can be used as decoration or given as a gift. However, if they are used on a car you can face legal consequences.

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 make sure 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 must also display:

  • 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 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 pass the MOT and receive official paperwork to show any time it is requested.  If your customisation falls outside of the previously stated legal parameters, you will fail the MOT and not be legally allowed to use the plate on your vehicle.

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

Bespoke Plates – our 3D and 4D plates

So now you know LED number plate lights are not illegal, maybe you want to make the investment and make your plate bespoke. Our most popular options at Bespoke Plates are our 3D & 4D plates, let us tell you the difference between the two.

As we mentioned before, we sell 3D and 4D plates, but what is the difference?

The key difference between these plates is in their production and aesthetic. 3D plates are easier and faster to make than 4D plates, which also makes them cheaper. Both plates are made by hand using alignment bars.

The physical difference between 3D and 4D plates is in how raised the letters are and how they look. 4D characters are more raised and rectangular. 3D characters are less raised and more rounded for an understated look.

3D plates are made from acrylic with individual raised letters. The raised letters are manufactured from polyurethane and get ‘stuck’ to the acrylic plate by hand. An aligner bar is used to guarantee perfect spacing.

The rounded and shiny gel-like appearance of 3D plates makes them a great choice if you want to add understated personalisation to your vehicle.

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

You can also get 4D gel characters which have a ‘wet look’. These are made in the same way as 3D letters but have a thicker profile.

In terms of cost, 4D plates carry a premium over 3D plates by up to 20%. The reason 4D plates cost more is that the individual characters are laser cut, or they are of the thicker gel variety. In the case of laser-cut, the characters are also made to order in-house.

Regardless of what option you end up choosing, our gel plates are more reinforced than a standard plate, giving you peace of mind against all the hazards that could come up against your plate on the road.

As a side note, we also offer show plates, which give you full free-reign to customise your plate. But we must clearly state that Show plates are not allowed to be used on public roads. They are only for display or for use on private land.

Make your plate Bespoke today

We hope to have provided all the options and information for all of your plate modification needs. If you choose to purchase and install your plates through Bespoke Plates, we can guarantee your registration plate will be MOT compliant, as the number 1 plate maker in the UK, we have a reputation to uphold.

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.

In this blog we hope to have addressed the question “Are LED Number plates legal?” whilst sharing relative information you need.

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, Manchester,England, M8 8NN


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