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Why Do Some Cars Not Have Front License Plates UK

At some point, almost everyone has seen a vehicle with no front licence plates, whether it is a supercar, a normal car, and everything else in between. But why is this the case? Is it on purpose? Is it even legal?

This blog will answer the question ‘Why do some cars not have front licence plates?’

Bespoke Plates is a renowned and legally certified registration platemaker and installer, with options of 3D Plates, 4D Plates, Show Plates, 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 require. (The only exception to this is show plates.)

Licence plates explained

Licence plates explained

In the United Kingdom, licence plates, often referred to as “number plates” serve as a unique identifier for vehicles. Here’s an explanation of how they work:

UK licence plates follow a specific format consisting of seven characters. The current format, introduced in 2001, comprises two letters, two numbers, a space, and then three more letters (e.g., AB12 CDE). Before 2001, the format varied between regions, but typically consisted of a letter code representing the region or city followed by numbers and then more letters.

The first two letters of the licence plate indicate the area of registration. For example:

  • “AB” might represent a particular region or city.
  • “L” might represent London.
  • “S” might represent Scotland.
  • “W” might represent Wales.

The following two numbers following the region code indicate the age of the vehicle. Before September 2001, this was represented by a single letter. The letter “A” represented vehicles registered in the first half of the year, and “B” represented the second half.

Since 2001, the two numbers indicate the year of registration. For example, “12” or “62” would represent a vehicle registered in 2012/2013.

The last three letters are randomly assigned and provide further uniqueness to the licence plate.

Overall, licence plates in the UK serve as a vital means of identifying vehicles, ensuring road safety, and facilitating various administrative processes related to vehicle ownership and regulation.

Why do some cars not have front licence plates UK

Why do some cars not have front licence plates UK

The reason some cars do not have front licence plates can be varied. But crucially, in any instance, it is illegal not to have a front licence plate on any vehicle in use on the road. It must be on the front bumper. The reason some cars do not have front licence plates are as follows…

  • The owner has purposely removed it and placed it on the front window for aesthetic purposes.
  • The vehicle has been in an accident and hasn’t been repaired yet.
  • The plate has come off during the journey and the vehicle owner hasn’t yet realised.
  • A criminal may be using the vehicle.
  • The plate has been stolen.

What happens if I don’t have a licence plate on a vehicle

A licence plate is the unique identifier for a vehicle, it holds the vehicle’s identity, driving without plates on the front and back of the vehicle will result in legal consequences which includes…

  • The vehicle being confiscated
  • Fines
  • Points on your licence
  • Possible arrest depending on the circumstance.

Can licence plates fall off?

Licence plates have the capacity to fall off the bumper of the vehicle it is attached to. However, this only occurs if the plate has been incorrectly applied, or the area has received damages that haven’t been repaired.

In any instance, if you have found your number plate is not on your front or back bumper, you must make sure that you organise a replacement immediately.

If you are replacing a number plate, ensuring it is installed by experienced and recognised platemakers such as Bespoke Plates is the best way to receive an installation that is completely secure.

Are all front licence plates the same?

Are all front licence plates the same?

No. in terms of the characters on a licence plate, they are all unique. This is to ensure each vehicle has a unique identifier, this streamlines the process of researching any relevant history of the vehicle.

Outside the characters, standard front licence plates are usually white, and are the same size, with the characters in the same font.

However, legal plate modifications can provide distinct differences to a front licence plate, this includes…

  • The size of the plate.
  • The shape of the plate.
  • The look of the characters on the plate.

Are plate modifications legal?

Yes, to a degree. Some plate modifications are allowed legally, though there is a limit to this. Anything beyond this limit will result in the plate being a show plate. Show plates are not legal to use on any vehicle that is in use on public roads. Show plates are only available for decoration.

Here are the legal requirements for number plates. As long as your custom plate complies with the following rules, it is completely legal. As per the legal guidance, the ruling on number plates is as follows…

The number plates on your vehicle must:

  • be made from a reflective material.
  • display black characters on a white background (front plate).
  • display black characters on a yellow background (rear plate).
  • not have a background pattern.
  • be marked to show who supplied the number plate.
  • be marked with a British Standard number — this is ‘BS AU 145e’ for plates fitted after 1 September 2021.

The characters must not be removable or reflective. If your number plates were fitted after 1 September 2021, they must also be a single shade of black.

Your number plates can also:

  • have 3D (raised) characters.
  • display certain flags, symbols, and identifiers.
  • display a green flash, if you have a zero-emission vehicle.

Where can I get a new plate and installation?

Whether it is a private plate or a standard plate, getting your own bespoke custom number plate is relatively simple. In most cases, you can even do it from the comfort of your own home! If you opt to use Bespoke Plates, you can order a custom number plate directly from our website.

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 the modification options you have selected.)
  4. When selecting your chosen plate, you can opt for 3D/4D options, a Hex plate, and whether you want a legal plate or a show plate.
  5. Select preferred optional accessories.
  6. Decide if you are collecting with installation, or if you want it to be delivered.
  7. Confirm your order!

Installing through Bespoke Plates ensures the best service & secure installation for your number plate, along with guidance for any questions you may have.

Purchase a plate today

Upgrade your number plate today

In this blog, we have highlighted our plate options and the information you need to obtain our stylish customisation options for your vehicle. We aim to have confidently addressed the question ‘Why do some cars not have front licence plates UK?’

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

Bespoke Plates has 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:

Email info@bespoke-plates.co.uk

Phone 0333 006 7878

Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,


M8 8NN

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