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What year is my car?
Interested in knowing how old your car is before selling? You’re not the only one.
Many people look online to ask “How old is my car?” before they go to sell it, largely because it’s mandatory to tell prospective buyers. But it’s also important to know the year of your car if you’re looking for replacement parts.
Regardless of the reason, there’s never been an easier time to check how old your car is before selling with Sell 2 Swansway. In this guide, we will cover what your number plate means depending on the various styles that have come and gone over the years.
The different registration styles
There are a few different types of registration styles to consider when understanding what year your car was manufactured, and they all differ based on when they were introduced:
Infix format (2001 - present)
Prefix format (1983 - 2001)
Suffix format (1963 - 1983)
Let’s take a look at each of the formats and how they differ from each other.
1. Infix format
Any vehicles registered after 1st September 2001 use this format of number plate to indicate the car’s age, so unless your car is a good two decades old it’s likely that you’ll be using this style of reg plate to understand your car’s age.
The infix format looks like this, with 4 letters/numbers followed by 3 letters. But what do all these letters and numbers mean? Using this example of an infix reg plate, we can dissect it a little easier.
The first part of the reg plate [BD51] is the DVLA memory tag/area code. This serves several functions:
Allows buyers to know the history of the vehicle, and where/when it was first registered
Helps with police witness testimonies if there was an incident with a car that has fled the scene. If even these first two letters of the car can be identified, it greatly helps with tracking down potential options from the DVLA database.
The area code is a mnemonic based on whereabouts in the UK your car was first registered:
Forest And Fens
Garden Of England
Hampshire And Dorset
No official mnemonic
Manchester and Merseyside
The second part of the reg plate [SMR] is just a combination of random letters to differentiate it from other vehicles.
2. Prefix System (1983-2001)
Vehicles registered between 1 August 1983 and 31 August 2001 have the prefix format registration. With this style, the age identifier is the first character of the plate, followed by three sequential numbers, and then the area code.
Refer to the following chart to understand the registration year of your prefix-registered vehicle:
3. Suffix car registration (1963-1983)
This oldest style of reg plate looks very different to that of the modern infix style that we’ve seen since 2001, and includes three letters (area code) followed by three sequential numbers and a letter (age identifier). To determine the age of your suffix-plated vehicle, refer to the chart below:
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