How to Swap Registration Plates

Are you looking for a new registration plate? Maybe your eyes have been caught by the new and subtle changes that are becoming more popular on modern registration plates. Maybe after seeing them, you want an upgrade. But how do you go about it?

In this blog, we will be answering the question ‘How to swap registration plates?’

As an established registration plate maker, we at Bespoke Plates know how to add a unique and distinctive finish to your vehicle registration plate, further stating a level of individuality that can be the finishing touch to a vehicle you have already customised.

Bespoke Plates is a renowned and legally certified registration plate maker and installer, with options of 3D Plates, 4D plates, Show plates, and regular / electric vehicle plates and more. We are the one-stop shop for all things registration plates!

Whether it’s a private plate, gel plate, standard registration plate or plating accessories, we have you covered.

As a certified and experienced team of plate fitters and makers, our plates are installed to the specification of UK law, provided alongside the appropriate paperwork you need. (The only exception to this is show plates.)

Why do we need registration plates?

Registration plates are vital as they are like the fingerprint of your vehicle, it is the factor that identifies the vehicle as yours. You may have the same vehicle in the same colour as other road users, so a licence plate is the easiest way to identify a difference between them all.

Unfortunately, vehicle plates have been known to be stolen or cloned, this allows people with nefarious intentions to use your vehicle’s identifier to commit crime, this could lead to you being questioned. In some instances you won’t know this has happened until authorities have contacted you, but contacting authorities as soona as you know is the best way to combat this.

What happens if registration plates are not used?

If nobody used registration plates, you wouldn’t be able to verify anyone you have had an accident with. You won’t be able to verify who’s vehicle was used when committing a crime. A licence plate is a key factor in maintaining order on the roads. It also allows insurance companies and hiring & rental companies to keep track of who is a registered and legally certified driver of their vehicles.

How to swap registration plates

Are 4D number plates the only plate modification?

To be perfectly clear, swapping a registration plate with someone is not legal. Each vehicle has its own unique registration plate which serves as an identifier, and a sort of ‘fingerprint’ for your vehicle. So if you swap your plates, your vehicle will be identified as another vehicle on ANPR systems.

For example, you swapped the plates of a Clio Van, and a Audi saloon. If ANPR technology identifies the van, it will show up on their system as an Audi saloon and so forth.

Swapping registration plates can be classed as theft and fraud, so you should only consider changing your plate or swapping it for a legal customisation, such as the options we offer.

If you’d like to change the characters for your plate, it may be a better option to buy or apply for a legally certified private plate.

What kind of registration plates can I choose?

3D & 4D Gel Plates

3D and 4D gel plates are registration plates that have characters that protrude outwards, the result is a 3D looking effect. 3D and 4D plates, although similar in concept, have slightly different outcomes in regard to their execution. However, both are somewhat subtle yet aesthaticlly pleasing options.

Hex registration plates

Hex registration plates are unique as they differ from the traditional rectangular registration plate shape. The ‘Hex’ part of the name refers to the six-sided hexagon, which the Hex plate takes after, although it is an elongated, six-sided version.

Private plates

Private plates are plates that have been changed to convey a specific meaning, it may also differ from traditional registration plates as they don’t follow the regular format of registration plates.

As a registered plate vendor, we only sell private plates have been legally certified, which you can find here.

The legalities of a custom plate

The legalities of a custom plate

To clear up any confusion, plate modification, whether that be Hex plates, or gel plates (3D & 4D) are 100% LEGAL if you stick to the outlined rules from the DVLA.*

*Please do your due diligence and research, some unverified registration plate providers may not be making their plates to the legal specification, which could become an inconvenience for you. Visiting Bespoke Plates is the best way to avoid this trouble.

Alternatively, using the government gateway to find licenced and approved plate makers is the best option for peace of mind and finding plate makers close to you. Enter your postcode on the government gateway website.

What are the legal requirements for a registration plate?

The legal terms that a registration plate must adhere to are:

  • be made from a reflective material – for road safety
  • black display characters on a white background (front plate)
  • black display characters on a yellow background (rear plate)
  • not have a background pattern – so as not to distort the readability of your plate
  • be marked to show who supplied the registration plate – to assist with thefts and sourcing queries
  • be marked with a British Standard number – this is ‘BS AU 145e’ for plates fitted after 1 September 2021
  • Characters must not be removable or reflective. If your registration plates were fitted after 1 September 2021, they must also be a single shade of black.

You can find the full list of legal requirements here.

How can I swap for a new a registration plate?

Whether you want to replace your registration plate because of physical damage, or you just want a different style of plate, we at Bespoke Plates make the process easy and efficient. Here is the process.

By following these steps you will also have the option to see the plate before making a decision.

Visualising how your plate can look in real-time, with the characters from your actual registration plate, saves time and makes it easy for you to know what you want before you get it. Let us walk you through the process of choosing your plate through us.

  1. Head to the Bespoke Plates website
  2. Select the plate style you want under the “Build Your Plate” tab. Alternatively, you can follow this link.
  3. Enter your registration (You can press ‘preview’ to see your registration with all of the modification options you have selected.)
  4. Choose between having a regular plate, or the 3D/4D options, a Hex plate, and whether or not you want a legal plate or a show plate.
  5. Select preferred optional accessories.
  6. Choose if you are collecting with installation, or if you want it to be delivered.

If you choose to install through us, we can remove and replace your old registration plate, Of course, you can opt to remove your plate yourself.

Upgrade your plate today

How to Fit a Number Plate

In this blog, we have highlighted our plate options, and all the information you need in order to our stylish customisation option to your vehicle. We aim to have answered the question ‘How to swap registration plates?’

We hope that we provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs.

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

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:


Phone 0333 006 7878

Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,



M8 8NN

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