What Happens To Your Old Number Plate When You Change It?

A common question that often gets asked with regards to private plates is what happens to your old number plate when you change it? Within this article, we discuss everything you need to know about your original plates after you’ve put a private plate on your car.

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What Happens To Your Old Number Plate When You Change It
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Treating yourself to a private plate is a great way to add a personal touch to your car but what happens to your old number plate when you change it? Luckily the answer is very simple as discussed in detail below.

What Happens To Your Old Number Plate When You Put A Private Plate On?

After you’ve put your private plate on your car, your old number plate will more than likely be reassigned to the same car if you decide to remove your private plate at a later date.

Therefore, the original number plate will remain dormant until required in the future. It’s very unlikely that the car won’t be assigned its original plate after the private plate has been removed.

What Happens To Your Private Plate When You Sell Your Car?

If you are about to sell your car and your private plate is still assigned to it, you will no longer be the owner of the plate after the sale. Therefore, it’s advised that you put the private plate on retention or assign it to another car a few weeks in advance of selling the car. We recommend a few weeks beforehand because you’ll need to wait for the new log book to arrive, which will be valid for the original registration and also required for the sale of your car.

Even if you don’t want to keep the private plate, we highly recommend taking it off anyway. This is because you can easily sell your private plate and profit additional money when compared to leaving the plate on the car. Depending upon the combination/numbers, you may be quite surprised to how much your private number plate is worth.

What About Your MOT & Tax Records?

As part of the DVLA’s process of assigning a private plate, your car’s MOT and tax records will automatically update to reflect the newly assigned registration. It’ll also automatically update when you put the original plates back on the car too. Therefore, this is something that you don’t need to worry about because it’s all done automatically by the DVLA.

How Do You Put The Original Plates Back On Your Car

Whether you want to sell your private plate, sell your car, scrap your car or you simply no longer want the private plate assigned to your car anymore, you’ll need to make an application to put the original plates back on.

The process of removing a private plate from your car is relatively straightforward and it can be completed in a matter of minutes online. The assignment of your original number plate is also instant, which means you can fit the number plates straightaway and inform your insurance company of the registration change.

It’s important to note that putting your original plates back on the car will cost £80 (payable to the DVLA). After paying this fee, you’ll be provided with a retention certificate (for your private plate) which is valid for 10 years (unless you’ve put the private registration on another car) as well as a new V5C log book that corresponds with your original number plate.


If it’s your first time dealing with private number plates, it can certainly be quite confusing to understand. However, hopefully our guide has walked you through everything you need to know regarding what happens to your old number plate when you change it. If it hasn’t, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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