What Happens to My Old Number Plate When I Change It?

What Happens to My Old Number Plate When I Change It?

Changing your number plate can lead to various questions about what happens to your old plate and your available options after that. Understanding the process can reduce any concerns you might have and help you make more informed decisions. 

In this blog, we'll explain what happens to your old number plate when you change it to a new one. We’ll discuss whether you can keep it or reassign it to your vehicle, and the reasons why individuals choose to retain their old plates. We’ll also provide step-by-step instructions for putting your number plate on retention.

What Happens to My Old Number Plate If I Buy a New One?

When you purchase a new number plate, the DVLA usually requires you to return the old plate to them. This ensures that your old plate is taken out of circulation and can’t be used by anyone else. This is done to prevent confusion and misuse of your plate.

However, the registration mark will still remain linked to your vehicle. If you decide to take off the new private plate, it will automatically be re-assigned to your vehicle.

Can I Keep My Old Number Plate?

Yes, you have the option to keep your old number plate by putting it on retention. This way, you can retain the rights to use the plate if you want to assign it to another vehicle in the future or to sell it. However, you will not be able to retain it if the registration mark is non-transferable. These are typically plates that have ‘Q’ on them. When you receive your V5c form, it will be written on the notes section ‘non-transferable’ if your plate cannot be transferred to another vehicle.

Can I Put My Original Number Plate Back On My Car?

Yes, if you’ve previously put your original number plate on retention, you can then reassign it to your car. This allows you to restore your vehicle to its original state, and still use the plate if it holds any sentimental value to you. 

To reassign your original number plate to your car, you’ll need to contact the DVLA and submit a form along with relevant documentation to confirm your ownership of the plate. If approved, you’ll receive a new registration certificate showing the reassignment of your original number plate back to your vehicle.

In case you didn’t put your plate on retention, DVLA will automatically reassign a new plate to your car which could be the original one, but it’s not guaranteed.

What Happens to My Private Number Plate If I Buy a New Car?

You have the option to either retain your private number or transfer it to the new car. If you choose to retain it, you can apply for a retention certificate, which costs £80. If successful, you’ll be able to keep the private number for 10 years and renew it after. In case you want to transfer it to your new car, you’ll have to complete a V317 form, which allows you to keep the registration number and transfer it easily.

Why Do People Retain Their Old Number Plates?

There are many reasons why people decide to retain their old number plates. For many individuals, the number plate could hold some form of sentimental value. This could be because of the car itself or any significant memories or events associated to it. Others may choose to retain their plates as an investment, especially if the plate has the potential to increase in value over time. This is very common among dateless plates.

How to Retain Your Old Number Plate

To retain your old number plate, you can to fill out a V778 or V750 form online on the DVLA website or send it to them by post. This will cost you £85 and, if the application is successful, you’ll receive a retention certificate confirming your ownership. You will, however, need to meet the requirements set out by DVLA. For more detailed information, read our extensive guide to number plate retention.

Buy and Sell Private Number Plates from Absolute Reg

Did you know that, at Absolute Reg, we stock more than 50 million private plates? This is even more than the DVLA!

Regardless of your preference, you’ll easily find the right number plate that fits all your needs. We sell all types of number plate formats, so you can personalise your vehicle the way you want it. With Absolute Reg, you can do that for yourself or as a gift for someone special. 

Start your number plate search today!

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Review or replace your private number, DVLA

Apply to keep a vehicle registration (V317 Form)