In the vast world of current number plates and UK car registrations, understanding the nuances between different types of number plates can be daunting. From the vintage allure of suffix and prefix plates to the modern-day charm of current and private plates, there’s much to consider. In this guide, we’ll unpack:

  • What current number plates are
  • What private number plates entail
  • The key differences with suffix and prefix number plates
  • How JDM Plates can assist in your search

Understanding Current Number Plates

Current number plates, also known as ‘new style registrations,’ are the most recent numbering system adopted in the UK. They were introduced in September 2001 to replace the prefix number plate system. A typical current number plate consists of:

current number plate style example available at JDM Plates

  • Two letters indicating the region of registration
  • Two numbers representing the car’s age
  • Three random letters at the end


For example, a plate like “AB51 XYZ” indicates that the car was registered in Anglia (AB), in the latter half of 2001 (51) whereas a registration such as “MA12 CUS” was registered in Manchester (MA) in 2012.

What are Private Number Plates?

Private number plates, or ‘personalised’ number plates, are customised registration marks that you can buy to make your vehicle stand out. They can be in the form of current number plates, prefix, suffix, or even dateless plates.

Comparing Current Number Plates with Suffix and Prefix Number Plates

Suffix Number Plates

Suffix number plates were used between 1963 and 1983 and feature a final letter at the end of the plate, which serves as an age identifier. For example, a plate like “ABC 1A” would suggest the car was registered in 1963. Unlike current plates, the age identifier here is a single letter at the end, not two numbers in the middle.

Prefix Number Plates

These were used from 1983 to 2001 and have their age identifier at the beginning. A plate such as “A1 ABC” would indicate the vehicle’s age as being from 1983. Like suffix plates, prefix plates use a single letter for the age identifier but place it at the beginning, not the end.

The current number plate system allows for a more straightforward interpretation of a vehicle’s age through the two-number age identifier, and it doesn’t limit the placement of this age identifier to either the beginning or end of the plate.

Why Choose JDM Plates?

When it comes to choosing a current or private number plate, JDM Plates offers a wide range of options. Whether you’re looking for the latest new style plate or a unique personalised one, JDM Plates can simplify the process for you. We provide a comprehensive database, enabling you to find the perfect plate that suits both your personality and legal requirements. JDM Plates also offer physical number plates such as 4D number plates and 3D gel number plates

Why Use JDM Plates For Your New Number Plates?

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