A 4D number plate is a fantastic addition to a car or motorbike that you’re particularly proud of. They’re stylish, can be made custom to your specs, and the sheen of the gel resin gives them a premium quality that really stands out.
The special designs come with some extra considerations for 4D plates for vehicles, so it’s worth knowing exactly what you’re doing before you fit a 4D number plate.
Are 4D plates legal?
Despite conflicting information on the subject, 4D plates are legal for UK road use as long as they adhere to British Standards (BS AU 145e). If you’re getting your plate made with Number Plate Clinic then don’t worry– we’d never make you a non-road legal plate without your knowledge or permission.
What you do need to ensure, however, is that the plate stays perfectly legible and visible. This means that if you ever need to fit or refit a plate, it needs to be in a state that won’t make it hard or impossible to read.
Recent changes made things slightly more complicated, too. New plates after September 2021 run on the BSAU 145e code, whereas physical plates made before this were on the BSAU 145d code. These plates are still legal to use as long as they display this ‘old’ code on the plate.
The changes from September 2021 can be found under INF104 information, but the main takeaway is that 4D plates are legal.
Faux 3D plates, which use drop shadow graphics to give the impression of 3D lettering, are not.
Ways to fit a plate to a car
There are a few ways you can fit a 4D plate to your car. Plates made by NPC use the strongest glue on the market, so you shouldn’t need to worry about letters falling off as you work.
1. Sticky fixing
Sticky fixing kits can be purchased from several places online, and they’re a nice simple way to attach a plate to your car. They use double-sided pads to firmly stick and hold the plate against the car, but it’s not a simple case of just sticking them straight on with no prep.
You’ll want to ensure the contact surface on the car is nice and clear of any muck and grime you’ve accumulated on your journeys. A good clean with hot soapy water or, better, isopropyl alcohol will remove any dirt and oil that might negatively affect the sticky pads. You don’t want your plate falling off as you go over a speed bump.
2. Number plate holder
A holder might not be the best option if your plate has been shortened, but they can be a secure way of fixing your reg to your car with an added aesthetic bonus. For drivers who don’t trust the idea of sticky pads, the screw fixed security of a plate holder may be more appealing.
Just ensure that the holder you’re buying is made of good enough quality plastic that it won’t easily crack and split.
3. Screw fixing
This option is probably the least ‘safe’ in terms of potential damage to the plate, so it should be done with caution and a steady hand. If your plate already has holes then it should be a simple case of attaching it to the car using a pair of screws. If there aren’t readymade holes and you plan to drill a pair into the plate, be careful.
Drilling risks damaging the letters if done too closely, which could make your plate illegible or leave cracks that water can get into. Use a screw fixing kit in the knowledge that there are other methods of attaching a plate, and be sure that those aren’t better for you.
Ways to fit a plate to a motorbike
Many motorcycles will have a holder already attached for your plate to be screwed into. If your bike doesn’t have one, finding and buying a new bracket shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
It would be best to use a holder to attach a plate to a motorbike, rather than simply zip-typing it to the vehicle. A free-swinging plate may be too hard to read. Luckily, you just need one on the rear for a bike.
Get 4D plates from Number Plate Clinic
Design your new 4D license plate from Number Plate Clinic. We can talk you through our options and give advice on what might work best for you.