Car Personalization - Don't Break The Law

Published: 16th September 2008
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People, especially the young like to personalize their cars. One of the most common personalization is the car number plate. Although the easiest way to go about this is to buy a private plate some drivers choose to make alterations to their existing number plate. However, this can lead to conflict with the law and even a fine of up to £1000.

The law governing car number plates is straightforward. From September 2001 a number plate must be displayed front and rear (they are a few exceptions). There must be black letters on a white plate at the front and a yellow plate with black letters at the rear. The background of both number plates must be reflex reflecting but not the numbers and must also comply with sizing and layout regulations. These state that number plates must use a common font and be spaced as follows: A two letter regional identifier followed by a two figure age identifier and three random letters. The space between each character must be 11mm and the space between groups must be 33mm. The height of each character must be 79mm and the width 50mm (except for the number 1 or letter I).

To disregard these format regulations could lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1000. The vehicle will also fail its MOT and the registration may even be withdrawn. For number plates that came into existence before 2001 the sizing requirements are slightly different and they will only have to be changed if they have been customized with stylized letters or figures such as italics or fixing screws to alter the appearance.

Another common customization is tinted windows. However here, again exist regulations that anyone driving on UK roads afer tinting their car windows must comply with or face possible prosecution. Since March 2004 regulations have existed that effectively ban any heavy tinting of the windscreen and front windows. The front side windows need to let in 70% of the available light in order for the tint to be legal. The windscreen must let in 75% of the available light in in order for the tint to be legal. For the rear windows no limitations apply.

If you car is found to have illegal tints then you can be given a penalty notice to ensure you remove it. Your car will also fail its MOT and crucially your car insurance cover could be deemed invalid.

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