Are 4D Number Plates MOT Friendly?

MOT testing sign | JDM Plates | 29th June 2024

MOT & Number Plate Requirements?

Before we get into the topic  of, ‘Are 4D Number Plates MOT Friendly?’, we must begin this by stating that MOT and number plate guidelines are completely different entities and governed by different bodies.

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) inspection guidelines are governed by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – this used to the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) which ‘shut shop’ on 31st March 2014 – whereas vehicle registration plates, also known as number plates, are governed by the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). 

However, with regards to these governing bodies, they only give guidance with respect to the relevant legislation they try to enforce. This therefore means that what they preach is not explicitely law – it is only guidance which is essentially paraphrased legislation – laymans terms if you will.

With this being said, there could be a conflict of interest between the DVSA and DVLA requirements for number plates, and in particular, whether or not 4D number plates are MOT friendly…

What does the DVLA state with regards to raised 4D Number Plates?

The DVLA is a governing body which is there to essentially guide individuals and companies the correct methodologies and practices of the The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 and relevant ammendments. 

The DVLA are there to enforce the regulations and practices that need to be complied with in order to produce and sell a number plate, or how to actually go about purchasing a number plate. However, the shorthand guidance on the display of number plates can be found on the website which states the following:-

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Considering the above, it can clearly be noticed that 3D raised characters – essentially 4D acrylic number plates and 3d gel number plates – can be used and would be technically legal as per the DVLA guidance notes. More in depth guidance notes can be found on the INF104 DVLA document

These guidance notes are derived from the aforementioned Regulations and therefore would be completely road legal to be displayed on a vehicle so long as all the other requirements mentioned above are met. 

However, as of January 2023, the INF104 guidance don’t explicitly state that raised 3D characters can legally be used on UK number plates although the Gov website does; here lies an initial conflict but we could assume that the INF104 guidance notes haven’t been updated to reflect that raised 3D characters in fact are allowed to be used to create a 4D number plate.

There are plenty of the other regulations that need to be complied with in order to produce a full road legal number plate. Here at JDM Plates, we have extensively covered this in another article explaining ‘are 4D number plates legal?’. The above regulation and guidance notes only informs on what can legally be displayed.

Does the DVSA state whether raised acrylic number plates will pass an MOT?

So, now that we have cleared up that 3D characters can be displayed on UK number plates, what does the DVSA state with regards to 4D number plates and MOT’s?

JDM Plates have researched the MOT inspection guidelines for cars, passenger vehicles and motorcycles and have found the following useful information.

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The MOT inspection guidelines, derived by the DVSA requirements, show what UK number plates and number plate characters ‘may have’

These guidelines highlight a distinction between number plates that are manufactured before and after September 2021 which mainly relate to how close a border can be to the number plate characters and whether or not the lettering can contain any greyscale within the print. The latter also reinforces that letters must ‘display black characters’ as stated on the DVLA guidelines which therefore indicates cannot be 3D printed as that contains greyscale.

However, as of January 2023, the MOT inspection guidelines were last updated on 2nd March 2022 and clearly states that number plate characters ‘may be raised or 3D’ which can cause a little confusion with regards to the previously mentioned 3D printed number plate characters…

Are 4D Number Plates actually MOT friendly?

So are 4D number plates actually MOT Friendly? The answer is an absolute yes so long as other important aspects of the number plate comply.

The DVLA guidance on the website clearly states that raised 3D characters can be used and the DVSA MOT inspection guidelines supports this too.

3D raised characters can be interpreted as 4D acrylic number plates as well as 3D gel number plates; 4D number plates are only an industry name given to differentiate between the raised acrylic and raise gel type lettering. With this in mind, feel free to share this article if you ever get told that your 4D number plate won’t pass an MOT or are not road legal and cannot be used on the public highway.

Order your MOT Friendly 4D Number Plates from JDM Plates

Although 4D number plates should pass an MOT, so long as the spacings, margins and other relevant areas are complied with, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be legal on the road.

However you can be assured that JDM Plates 4D number plates will be road legal on your pride and joy as we adhere to all legal aspects of number plate manufacturing. This includes the correct spacing, margins, legal markings and font used. Some sellers within the UK don’t comply with these additional requirements but thankfully the majority do!

So, if you’re in need of your new MOT Friendly 4D number plates, feel free to use our interactive visual number plate builder to design and purchase your next set of number plates today! Alternatively, if you have any questions then feel free to call us or leave us a message using our contact forms across the website.

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