When do ’71 number plates come out?

New reg plates drop twice a year, once in March and once in September, and whether you know it or not, they can affect the value of your car.

What year is ’71 plate?

The ’71 plate is for cars registered after September 2021. Other cars may have been registered in 2021, but if this was before September they will have a March registration plate. These show 21 instead. 

When is the DVLA ’71 plate release date?

The ’71 plate will launch on September 1st 2021. The September plates are released this time every year and are based on the last two figures of the year, plus fifty. So, for 2021, it’s 71, for next year, the September plate will be 72. 

How do the DVLA ’71 number plates work?

Any car purchased after 2001 will have a plate that follows a certain format:

  • Two numbers representing when the car was registered 
  • Two letters representing the region where the car was registered (one for the general area, the second for the specific office)
  • Three more random letters

In March, the numbers that represent the ‘when’ of the registration of the car will just be the numbers of the year, e.g. in March 2020, a reg will feature the number 20. In September, it’s the year plus 50, so the same car registered six months later would have 70 in the reg. Here’s a few more examples for a car registered in London (L) at Borehamwood (represented by K, L, M, N ,O, P, R, S, and T) :

Year of purchasePurchased after MarchPurchased after September
2002LK02 MTWLK52 MTW
2003LK03 MTWLK53 MTW
2015LK15 MTWLK65 MTW
2021LK21 MTWLK71 MTW

Notably, regional identifiers don’t use I, Q, and Z. Z will only appear on a reg if it was selected as one of the three random letters at the end. 

71 reg plate UK
The new ’71 plate launches in September 2021.

’71 plate rules

The general rules around car registration plates won’t change with the arrival of the ’71 plate. Both the back and front of a vehicle need to show reg plates. Some other key rules include:

  • White plates on the front, yellow on the back (unless a car was registered before 1973)
  • Numbers and letters must be 79 millimetres tall
  • There must be a space between the numbers that mark the year and the three random letters
  • All registration plates must be in a specific font which has been in use since 2001

For car owners, you are not allowed to change or purposefully obscure your reg number. You can be fined up to £1,000 for doing so, and any car without clear reg plates will also fail its MOT.

Other additions to new ’71 plates

Depending on where you plan to drive your car and what sort of car it is, there are some things that can (or must) be added to a registration plate.

UK cars that will be driven abroad must have nationality identifiers on their plates too, namely the Union Jack flag and, previously, “GB”. From September 2021, this will change to “UK”. 

For drivers of electric vehicles and cars with zero CO2 emissions, you can use plates that have a green tab, either as the colour background to the nationality identification or simply as a block colour tab. It’s an optional addition, though, so not all zero-emissions cars will automatically be given a green tab. 

71 plate
Cars with unclear reg plates will fail their MOT.

Why do ’71 plates affect my car value? 

It’s not the ’71 plates themselves that impact value so much as the fact that they represent the newest cars on the market. With that in mind, if you’re looking to sell your car then getting in before September might be a good idea. Your car may be worth more now than it will after the new plates simply because it will have newer models to compete against. However, there are some exceptions…

Where can you buy ’71 plates?

You don’t actually need to have a new car (or a car at all!) in order to get a ’71 plate. You can buy a ’71 plate online and hold it on what’s known as a retaining certificate. With this, you can then use it on a vehicle in the future. This is usually used for personalised private number plates, though, so it’s relatively unlikely that you’ll come across a ’71 plate that isn’t denoting the actual age of the vehicle. 

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