Custom 4D number plates are fast becoming a phenomenon among Britain’s drivers and motorcyclists.
Why? They send out clear signals about your individuality and your pride in your vehicle.
They look good and they make a statement. Here are our top tips on choosing and fitting custom 4D plates.
What are 4D Number Plates?
You can think of 4D number plates as the next generation of plates, taking the concept of 3D plates further.
3D plates are made up of raised gel numbers, but 4D plates are manufactured from acrylic. 4D characters are more raised and more angular in shape.
Each character is laser-cut and hand-placed on the number plate, bringing design values and craftsmanship to your number plate.
If you want your vehicle to stand out and look truly personalised, then 4D number plates are a great way of achieving this.
How to Style Custom 4D Plates
This is where things get really interesting. 4D plates are available in different styles for cars and motorbikes.
Whereas the numbers and letters must always be black, you can vary the raised background with different effects and colours.
Colours include blue, carbon, green, orange, pink and red. You can choose glowing neon raised backgrounds for your numbers or clear crystal.
Adding a gel coating to the numbers gives them a glossy finish and there are customisations available for the plate backgrounds, including mirror finishes and borders.
It’s a question of contrast. Consider the design of the plate itself and how it will work with the colour and style of your vehicle.
Bolder designs may work better with more dynamic-styled vehicles, but even the most sober-looking car can benefit from a subtle touch of glamour to its number plate.
It’s the equivalent of wearing a pair of stylish, high fashion cufflinks with a business suit or twinning your outfit with a flashy pair of heels and a matching handbag.
4D Personalised Number Plates
Personalised number plates are the perfect match for distinctive 4d plate designs.
There are different types of personalised number plates. All of them are on the DVLA database.
There are four different personalised plate formats:
Current number plates date from 2001 onwards and are the plates you’re probably most familiar with. They consist of two location code letters, the numbers showing the year of manufacture and a random set of digits.
Dateless number plates are the oldest type, from before 1963. They have one or more numbers followed by letters.
Suffix plates date from between 1963 and 1983 and comprise a group of letters followed by a sequence of numbers.
Prefix plates, dating from 1983 to 2001 have a prefix letter followed by numbers and letters.
The more individual and distinctive your number plate is, the more likely it will be an older and pricier plate.
Basically, you can’t simply put together your own sequence of letters and numbers, but you can shop around for an existing pattern of characters that suits your tastes and means something to you.
Fitting 4D Plates to your vehicle
There are several different options for fitting custom 4D plates to your vehicle or bike.
The best option will depend on the type of plate you choose and your confidence in fitting it.
The most straightforward way of fitting a personalised 4D number plate is the self-adhesive option.
Here, you carefully apply double-sided sticky pads to the back of your new number plate and then use these to fix the plate to the body of your vehicle.
You need to ensure you get an even contact for all the sticky pads, to ensure the plate sticks firmly to the vehicle.
Clean the surface thoroughly before applying the plate, as any dirt, grime or grease will affect the adhesive properties of the sticky pads. You certainly don’t want your new 4D plates falling off your car or bike when you’re on the road.
A second option is to screw the new plate onto your car. This will ensure you fix the plate firmly, but it does require accuracy and care.
You mustn’t drill through the plate characters as this can damage them and affect how well they’re bonded to the plate background.
A third but less common option is to fix a number plate holder to your vehicle. These provide a background and surrounding frame into which you slot the number plate.
Character Spacing on Number Plates
Whichever type of personalised plate you choose, including its style and layout, you need to make sure that you space the characters on it according to the law.
The Department of Transport (DoT) has regulations for number plates. You must follow these to be sure your custom 4D plates are legal.
There must be 11mm between each of the characters and 33mm between the main blocks of characters. This applies to all number plates registered after 1 September 2001 or before January 1973.
If your plates were registered before 1 September 2001 but after January 1973, the spacing rule is 13mm between characters and a 38mm gap between blocks of numbers and letters.
Your customised 4D plate provider will be able to advise you.
4D Custom Plates Made Easy
Buying your own designer number plate has never been easier with our online system. You simply choose your 4D plate design, enter your registration and plate size and we can supply you with a brand-new number plate.