Check my car year by reg plate

Want to know the year of any UK-registered car? Just enter the reg number into the box below.

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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. 

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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: 

  1. Infix format (2001 - present)
  2. Prefix format (1983 - 2001)
  3. 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:

Local Mnemonic Local Area
A Anglia
B Birmingham
C Cymru (Wales)
D Deeside
E Essex
F Forest And Fens
G Garden Of England
H Hampshire And Dorset
K No official mnemonic
L London
M Manchester and Merseyside
N North
O Oxford
P Preston
R Reading
S Scotland
V Severn Valley
W Anglia
X Personal Export
Y Yorkshire

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)

Prefix System

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:

Prefix From To
A August 1983 July 1984
B August 1984 July 1985
C August 1985 July 1986
D August 1986 July 1987
E August 1987 July 1988
F August 1988 July 1989
G August 1989 July 1990
H August 1990 July 1991
J August 1991 July 1992
K August 1992 July 1993
L August 1993 July 1994
M August 1994 July 1995
N August 1995 July 1996
P August 1996 July 1997
R August 1997 July 1998
S August 1998 February 1999
T March 1999 July 1999
V August 1999 February 2000
W March 2000 July 2000
X August 2000 February 2001
Y March 2001 July 2001

3. Suffix car registration (1963-1983)

Prefix System

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:

Suffix From To
A 1963  
B 1964  
C 1965  
D 1966  
E January 1967 July 1967
F August 1967 July 1968
G August 1968 July 1969
H August 1969 July 1970
J August 1970 July 1971
K August 1971 July 1972
L August 1972 July 1973
M August 1973 July 1974
N August 1974 July 1975
P August 1975 July 1976
R August 1976 July 1977
S August 1977 July 1978
T August 1978 July 1979
V August 1979 July 1980
W August 1980 July 1981
X August 1981 July 1982
Y August 1982 July 1983

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Peter Hulme

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Our goal is to offer Swansway customers an honest and transparent car selling process and a fair price, no matter if it's their first car or their hundredth

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