Are 3D Hex Number Plates and 4D Hex Number Plates Legal?

An MOT is vital in ensuring the safety of yourself and other road users. At Bespoke Plates, we are frequently asked if the customization we offer can be detrimental to an upcoming MOT test. In this blog, we will be answering the question ‘Will 3D Plates Fail MOT?’

Firstly, let’s address what exactly an MOT is.

What is an MOT?

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. If you have just bought a brand-new car, it does not need to be booked for an MOT until it is the 3rd Anniversary of its registration.

If buying a car 2nd hand, 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.

In regards to what is checked during an MOT, it will be:

  • Body, vehicle structure and general items
  • Towbars
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Exhaust system
  • Seatbelts
  • Seats
  • Doors
  • Mirrors
  • Load security
  • Brakes
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Registration plates
  • Lights
  • Bonnet
  • Wipers and washers
  • Windscreen
  • Horn
  • Steering and suspension
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Electricals

For a full description of what these components are checked for, please click here.

External damage to your car does not mean it will fail the MOT. It will only be the case if the external damage affects the performance or functionality of the previously highlighted components.

An MOT does not check these parts of your vehicle:

  • Clutch
  • Engine
  • Gearbox

To have these things checked and fixed on your vehicle, you must take it in for a service.

In certain instances, some vehicles are exempt from having an MOT, for a full list of exemption criteria follow this link

Now that we understand the function and process of an MOT, let us explain a little bit more about 3D plates.

What are 3D Plates?

Are Lambo Plates legal in the UK?

A 3D plate, and even a 4D plate, 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.

Our gel number plates come with the option of 3D plates and 4D plates. Our blog has a deeper delve into the distinctions between the two plates if you want insight into that.

It’s important to mention that as of September 2021 new rules have been implemented to number plating in Great Britain as a result of England’s dissociation with the European Union. Here are the new rulings directly from the UK Government. We know that seems worrying especially if you’re considering personalising your number plate, however, at Bespoke Plates, we thoroughly advise you on what plates can be put on your car legally.

Want to see how a 3D or 4D plate could look on your vehicle? head over to our website so you can visualize what your plate could look like. Do you like what you see? we have same-day collections and fittings available.

Next up, we are going to be covering the legalities of 3D/4D plates.

Are gel plates legal?

To clear up any confusion, gel plates are 100% LEGAL if you stick to the outlined rules from the DVLA.

The latest update to UK number plate rules was released in 2021. The DVLA created these outlines to improve road safety, minimise the number of illegal vehicle activities, and clear up any confusion drivers were expressing. The industry is worth £2 billion in the UK alone, so it’s not like the government wants the trade to just come to a stand-still.

The legal terms that a number 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 number 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
  • 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.

As well as these outlined conditions, custom plates must also display the following:

If the rules have been adhered to, you will be fine. Number plates must also have either ‘certain flags, symbols and identifiers or a ‘BSAU 145e’ code applied to them, which can only be completed by a legally certified licence plate vendor. These regulations all work to ensure that number plate modifications still make certain that cars are legally compliant on the road so as not to cause issues for other road users.

Will 3D plates fail MOT?

As we’ve established, 3D and 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.

We already know registration plates will be checked during an MOT, so what aspects of the plate are they actually checking?

  • condition
  • secure attachment
  • colour
  • characters correctly formed and spaced

As long as all of these conditions are met, you will pass an MOT. At Bespoke Plates, we offer installation on all of our plates, guaranteeing you will pass your MOT. Self-installation may result in you damaging the plate, or not securing correctly, which is why we offer this service to you. The only exception to this is show plates.

Show Plates


As it is a service we offer, we thought it would be appropriate to mention show plates. Show plates, also known as novelty plates.

Novelty Plates offer a variety of uses and functions including:

  • Being a thoughtful gift for a car enthusiast.
  • Can be used as a prop for a film of any production value.
  • A unique and personal decoration for a home, bedroom or office.
  • A deterrent for thieves, replacing your plate with a show plate (When on private property) can deter thieves from taking your vehicle, as the likelihood of them getting stopped whilst in the car with show plates on is very high.
  • It can be a perfect compliment to a car you or someone you know have put a lot of time into customising.

Whilst we provide show plates we must disclose clearly that show plates are illegal to use on public roads. Using a show plate on any public road could lead to a fine of £1000 and can also get points added to your license, however, using a show plate on private property is perfectly legal. We make mention of this with every purchase and/or installation of show plates.

With show plates, you have more freedom in personalising your plate, the reason it is illegal to use whilst driving on a public road is due to some designs being harder to read for other road users, whilst alternative backgrounds, spacings and character raising can make technologies such as speed cameras and ANPR’s struggle to recognise the plate. Driving a vehicle from public to private land with show plates on is also illegal.

Due to the level of customisation offered for a show plate, the colour, or character spacing and formation (and non-compliance of plate coding) will likely be the factors that contribute to it failing an MOT.

The team at Bespoke Plates will always advise you on the legal ramifications of your purchases and hold no responsibility if our advice is not heeded by our customers.

Our blog page has more details regarding show plates, you should take a read by clicking here.

Get an MOT-ready plate today

We hope for anyone still wondering ‘Will 3D plates fail MOT?’ that we provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs. If you choose to purchase and install your 3D plates and 4D plates through Bespoke Plates, we can guarantee your registration plate will be MOT compliant.

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.

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:

36A Broughton Street,
M8 8NN

discount popup bespoke-plates

Great! Use coupon code below at checkout for 5% discount