If you’ve bought a private registration number for your car it’s important to understand how it can be used.

Using a registration number or number plate incorrectly could land you in trouble with the DVLA, so make sure you know what you legally can and cannot do with one.

Many households now own multiple cars. You may use one car to commute to work daily and another to take the whole family out at the weekend. If you have bought a private registration number for your car, then you may be wondering how it can be used in these circumstances.

If you have considered switching your private number plate between the cars you own, then stop right there!

Doing so is against the law in the UK and could land you with a fine of up to £1,000, let’s find out a little bit more about why.

Can you swap a number plate between two cars?

The short answer to this question is no. You cannot swap a number plate between two cars you own. However, if you wish to permanently transfer your private number plate from one car that you own to another car that you own, this is something you can do if you legally transfer the registration of the plate across to the other car.

Why is it not allowed?

In the UK, we use vehicle registration numbers to identify different vehicles rather than their owners. Every vehicle must have a unique number plate to show that it has been officially registered, taxed, insured, has a valid MOT, and is legal to be on the road.

According to the law, the registration number must stay with the vehicle until one of the following happens:

  • The vehicle is destroyed or permanently exported to another country.
  • The registered keeper transfers the registration number to a different vehicle.
  • The registered keeper retains the registration number (but it is no longer registered to a vehicle).

According to the government’s website, if you drive a vehicle that is displaying an incorrect number plate you could be fined up to £1,000 and your car will fail its MOT.

This means that each car that you own must have a unique number plate registered to it and must only display a number plate with its registered number on it. Therefore, you cannot swap number plates backwards and forwards between the cars that you own.

Transferring a number plate to a different car

If you wish to transfer a number plate registered to one car that you own to another car that you own permanently, then this is something that you can do, providing you go down the official route.

To do so, you will need to apply to the DVLA. You can find out more about how to transfer a private number plate from one car to another on the government’s website here.

For further help or advice with vehicle registration number plates, get in touch with our team here at the Number Plate Clinic by calling us on 01204 534 333 or emailing [email protected]