Learn How to Space a Private Plate: Easy Guide for UK Drivers

Learn How to Space a Private Plate: Easy Guide for UK Drivers
Photo by John Cameron / Unsplash

In the UK, many drivers choose to personalize their vehicles by adding private plates. Spacing these plates correctly is essential to ensure they meet legal requirements and are easily readable. This easy guide provides UK drivers with the necessary steps to properly space their private plates.

Firstly, it is important to know the legal requirements for private plate spacing in the UK. Private plates must adhere to the British standard font which requires a specific space between characters. The correct spacing should be approximately half the width of a character. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in legal consequences or rejection of the private plate application.

To begin spacing a private plate, the first step is to measure the characters. Take a ruler or measuring tape to accurately measure the width of each character on the plate. Once this is done, divide the width by two to determine the spacing needed between characters. For example, if a character is 10 centimetres wide, the spacing required would be 5 centimetres.

Next, it is crucial to ensure equal spacing between each character. To achieve this, mark the desired spacing on a piece of tape or sticker and place it between each character. This will serve as a guide when attaching the plate to the vehicle. Be precise and diligent in placing the tape to ensure uniformity and readability.

When affixing the private plate to the vehicle, pay close attention to alignment and positioning. It is recommended to use the appropriate fixtures and fittings provided by the plate manufacturer. These will help secure the plate and prevent it from shifting or becoming illegible while driving. Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for correct installation.

Lastly, regularly inspect the private plate to ensure it remains in compliance with legal requirements. Over time, plates may become damaged or misaligned, affecting their readability. If any issues are identified, promptly replace or reposition the plate to maintain its legality and visibility.

In conclusion, properly spacing a private plate is a crucial step for UK drivers who want to personalize their vehicles. By following the legal requirements and using the steps outlined in this easy guide, drivers can ensure their private plates are correctly spaced, aligned, and visible. Personalizing a vehicle with a private plate can add a touch of individuality, but it is crucial to prioritize safety and adhere to regulations while doing so.

Key Takeaways

  • Private plates must adhere to British standard font and spacing regulations.
  • Measuring the characters and placing a guide for equal spacing is a crucial step in proper plate spacing.
  • Using appropriate fixtures and fittings during installation is recommended.
  • Regularly inspect the plate to ensure it remains in compliance with legal requirements.

Understand the DVLA regulations

Before you start spacing your private plate, it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations set by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK. These regulations ensure that all private plates adhere to specific requirements, including font style, spacing, and pattern, to maintain road safety and proper vehicle registration.

Driving License Regulations

The DVLA issues different types of driving licenses which require compliance with certain regulations. For instance, to apply for a driving license, you must meet specific requirements such as minimum age, visual acuity, and knowledge of the Highway Code. The DVLA also keeps a record of your driving convictions, penalty points, and disqualifications. Therefore, it is important to abide by traffic laws to maintain a clean driving record.

Vehicle Registration Regulations

When you purchase a vehicle, it must be registered with the DVLA, and you will be issued with a V5C registration certificate. It is mandatory to display valid number plates on the front and rear of your vehicle, which must meet the specific regulations set by the DVLA regarding font, layout, and size. These regulations ensure that the vehicle is legally recognized and taxed.

MOT Testing

The DVLA oversees the MOT testing system, which assesses the roadworthiness of vehicles that are three years old or more. Registered MOT testing stations conduct inspections to check various components, including brakes, lights, tires, and emissions. It is a legal requirement to have a valid MOT certificate for your vehicle, renewed annually, to ensure its safety and compliance with environmental standards.

Vehicle Taxation

Every vehicle in the UK must be taxed, unless it is declared off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Vehicle tax rates depend on factors such as fuel type, CO2 emissions, and vehicle age. Failure to pay or display a valid tax disc can result in penalties and fines.

Driving and Medical Conditions

The DVLA has specific regulations regarding driving with certain medical conditions, disabilities, or visual impairments. It is important to inform the DVLA if you develop a medical condition that could affect your ability to drive safely, as this may require a medical assessment and potential license restrictions.

Familiarizing yourself with the DVLA regulations is essential when spacing a private plate. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to penalties and fines. Stay updated with any changes or additions to these regulations through the official DVLA website or authorized sources.

Choose the Right Font

When spacing your private plate, it is crucial to use the correct font as specified by the DVLA. The standard font for private plates is Charles Wright font, which is a clear and easy-to-read font that meets all the necessary legal requirements. It is important to ensure that the font you choose is legible and meets the minimum height (79mm) and width (50mm) requirements set by the DVLA.

Aside from meeting legal requirements, the style of the font you choose can also greatly impact the overall aesthetic and emotional response of your plate. Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman, convey a sense of tradition and formality, making them a good choice for classic or high-end vehicles. Sans-serif fonts, such as Arial, are more modern and sleek, making them a good choice for contemporary or sporty vehicles.

When choosing a font, consider the purpose of your plate and the audience you are targeting. If your plate is for business purposes, a more formal font may be appropriate. If it is for personal use, a more playful or unique font may be suitable. Keep in mind that the font you choose can greatly influence how your message is perceived.

It is also important to keep in mind the medium in which your plate will be presented. Some fonts may not translate well onto certain materials or at certain sizes. It is recommended to experiment with different options and ask for feedback to help you make the best choice.

Use Correct Spacing

To space your private plate correctly, each group of characters must be spaced with a 33mm gap. This includes the space between the letters and numbers, as well as any spaces between groups of characters. It is important to note that the spacing must be consistent throughout the entire plate.

There are specific requirements set by the DVLA regarding the correct spacing for private plates. Failure to adhere to these regulations can result in fines or even the revocation of the registration.

When spacing your private plate, it is important to use a measuring tool to ensure accuracy. You can use a ruler or a specially designed plate spacing tool to measure the gap between each group of characters. This will ensure that your plate is correctly spaced and meets all necessary requirements.

It is also worth noting that there are specific font requirements for private plates, including the use of the Charles Wright font. It is important to choose the correct font when spacing your private plate to ensure that it is easily readable and meets all necessary regulations.

Spacing Requirements for Private Plates

Character groupSpaceCharacter groupSpaceCharacter group
(letter I or number 1)33mm
(letter Z or number 2)33mm

It is important to follow these spacing requirements to ensure that your private plate is correctly spaced and meets all necessary regulations. Failure to do so can result in penalties or the rejection of your plate.

Follow the Correct Pattern

When spacing your private plate, it is essential to follow the correct pattern provided by the DVLA. The standard pattern for private plates in the UK is two letters, followed by two numbers, and ending with three letters. It is important to ensure that the correct letters and numbers are used and that they are spaced in the correct way.

Following the correct pattern not only ensures that your private plate looks professional and is easy to read, but it also ensures that it complies with the DVLA regulations. If your private plate does not follow the correct pattern, you may face penalties or legal consequences.

You can find more information on the standard pattern for private plates and the correct spacing requirements on the DVLA website or by consulting with a certified number plate supplier. It is important to ensure that you have the correct information and guidance before spacing your private plate.

Use the Right Materials

When spacing your private plate, it is important to use the correct materials to ensure a long-lasting and legally compliant result. The materials requirements for private plates set by the DVLA mandate that the plate should be made of reflective material that meets British Standards. A suitable material is acrylic, which is durable, weather-resistant, and easy to clean.

In addition to the plate itself, you also need to consider the materials you use for fixing it to your vehicle. The spacing regulations for private plates specify that the plate should be fixed with tamper-resistant screws that are made of non-corrosive material. Often, the supplier of the plate will provide the correct screws and fittings you need to mount the plate securely.

Using the right materials is crucial for ensuring that your private plate remains securely mounted and legally compliant. When sourcing materials, ensure that they meet the requirements set out by the DVLA and are of high quality to guarantee a long-lasting and visually appealing result.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you are unsure about how to space your private plate correctly, it is always advisable to seek professional help. Certified number plate suppliers and expert assistance are available to ensure that your plate is spaced correctly and meets the DVLA regulations.

Professional assistance for private plates includes providing guidance on the correct font, spacing, and pattern as well as ensuring that the correct materials are used. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to help you avoid potential legal consequences of improper plate spacing.

It is important to choose a certified number plate supplier who is registered with the DVLA to ensure you receive a genuine and legal plate. These suppliers have the expertise to guide you through the process, answer your questions, and ensure that your plate meets the required standard.

Expert help for private plates can be found through the British Number Plate Manufacturers Association (BNMA). This association represents a network of companies that manufacture and supply number plates and can provide you with a list of approved suppliers.

By seeking professional help, you can have peace of mind knowing that your private plate is correctly spaced and meets all regulations. This can also save you time and potential legal fees in the long run.

Additional Tips for Spacing a Private Plate

In addition to following the DVLA regulations, there are a few extra tips to keep in mind when spacing your private plate.

  1. Consider the font: The font style you choose for your private plate can impact how the characters are spaced. Opt for fonts that have clear space between each character for an aesthetically pleasing look.
  2. Use spacers: If you want to create more space between the characters, you can use spacers. These are small plastic or metal inserts that can be placed between the characters to increase the gap. Be sure to check the regulations in your area as some jurisdictions may have restrictions on the use of spacers.
  3. Avoid unnecessary gaps: While adding spaces between the characters can enhance the appearance of your private plate, be cautious not to create excessive gaps. These gaps can make it difficult for others to read your plate and may even violate the rules set by the licensing authority.
  4. Be consistent: When spacing the characters, try to maintain consistency throughout the entire plate. Ensure that the gaps between the letters and numbers are uniform, creating a balanced and professional look.
  5. Consider symmetry: If your private plate consists of multiple words or numbers, make sure to pay attention to the spacing between each section. Aim for symmetry to create a harmonious arrangement of characters.
  6. Double-check for readability: Before finalizing the spacing of your private plate, be sure to step back and evaluate its readability. Ensure that the characters are clearly distinguishable without any confusion or ambiguity.
  7. Seek professional advice: If you're unsure about how to properly space your private plate, it's advisable to seek advice from a specialist or consult with a reputable license plate supplier. They can provide expert guidance and help you achieve the desired spacing while adhering to legal requirements.

By following these additional tips, you can enhance the visual appeal of your private plate while maintaining readability and compliance with the law.

Benefits of Properly Spaced Private Plates

By spacing your private plate correctly, you can enjoy several benefits and advantages. Properly spaced personalized number plates offer countless opportunities for personalization and individuality, making them a popular choice for vehicle owners. Below are some of the benefits of having properly spaced private plates:

  1. Personalisation: Personalised number plates are a way to make a vehicle unique and stand out from the crowd. By choosing a combination of letters and numbers that have personal significance, a vehicle owner can express their individuality and personal style. This personalisation can create a sense of ownership and identity.
  2. Exclusivity: Properly spaced private plates are a way to make a vehicle exclusive and one-of-a-kind. The limited availability of certain combinations makes private plates a status symbol and a way to demonstrate luxury or success.
  3. Memorability: A properly spaced private plate can make a vehicle more memorable and easily recognizable. This can be particularly useful in situations where there are multiple vehicles parked together or in crowded parking lots. It can also be helpful for businesses that want to enhance brand visibility by using private plates featuring their company name or logo.
  4. Investment potential: Certain properly spaced private plates are considered valuable assets and can appreciate in value over time. Some combinations, such as those that spell out names or words, can be highly sought after and command a premium price in the private plate market. This makes investing in a private plate an opportunity for potential financial gain.
  5. Covering age of the vehicle: Private plates can be used to disguise the age of a vehicle. By selecting a registration that does not directly reveal the year of manufacture, vehicle owners can maintain a sense of modernity and avoid their vehicle appearing outdated.

In conclusion, properly spaced private plates offer vehicle owners several advantages, including personalisation, exclusivity, memorability, investment potential, and the ability to cover the age of the vehicle. Whether for individual expression or as a way to enhance the value and appeal of a vehicle, private plates can be a worthwhile investment.

It is important to be aware of the legal consequences that may arise from spacing a private plate incorrectly. Improper plate spacing can have legal consequences, particularly when it comes to compliance with the law and vehicle registration in the United Kingdom.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) sets out strict guidelines regarding number plates, and failure to adhere to these guidelines can lead to legal consequences. Under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, it is an offence to display a number plate that does not comply with the DVLA specifications. This offence carries penalties, such as fines and possible points on a driver's license. The exact penalties may vary depending on the severity of the non-compliance.

The DVLA provides detailed guidelines on plate spacing, including the minimum and maximum permissible distances between the characters. It is important to note that these guidelines have been put in place to ensure the readability and clarity of number plates, as well as to aid in the identification of vehicles for law enforcement purposes.

If a vehicle is found to have an improper plate spacing, it can be deemed as non-compliant with the law. This can result in the vehicle being issued with a fixed penalty notice or even being immobilized until the issue is rectified. Additionally, the registered keeper of the vehicle may be held responsible and face legal consequences.

It is worth noting that improper plate spacing can also lead to potential safety issues. Illegible number plates may make it difficult for other road users and law enforcement to identify a vehicle, especially in the case of an accident or a hit-and-run situation.

To avoid legal consequences related to improper plate spacing, vehicle owners should ensure that their number plates comply with the DVLA guidelines. This includes using the correct font, size, and spacing as specified. Regular checks and maintenance of number plates can help to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal troubles.

In conclusion, improper plate spacing can have legal consequences, ranging from fines to penalties on a driver's license. It is essential for vehicle owners to be aware of the DVLA guidelines and to ensure that their number plates comply with the specified requirements. By doing so, they can avoid potential legal troubles and contribute to road safety.

Maintenance and Care of Spaced Private Plates

After spacing your private plate correctly, it is important to maintain it properly for long-lasting results. When it comes to maintaining and caring for spaced private plates, there are a few important factors to keep in mind. Spaced private plates, also known as personalized or custom plates, require special attention to ensure their longevity and functionality.

First and foremost, it's essential to clean spaced private plates regularly. This helps to remove any dirt, debris, or grime that may accumulate over time. To clean the plates, use a mild soap or detergent and warm water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can damage the plates' surface. Gently scrub the plates with a soft sponge or cloth, paying attention to any crevices where dirt may be trapped. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean, lint-free cloth to prevent water spots.

In addition to regular cleaning, it's important to protect spaced private plates from potential damage. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures, as this can cause warping or cracking. If parking your vehicle in direct sunlight for extended periods, consider using a sunshade or parking in a shaded area to minimize exposure. Similarly, protect the plates from excessive moisture or rain by parking your vehicle in a covered area or using waterproof covers.

When it comes to mounting spaced private plates, proper installation is key. Ensure that the plates are securely attached using the appropriate fixings and brackets. Regularly check for any signs of loose or damaged screws, and tighten or replace them as needed. If the plates become loose while driving, it's important to address the issue promptly to prevent loss or damage.

Furthermore, it's advisable to regularly inspect spaced private plates for any signs of wear or fading. Over time, the plates' design and letters may start to fade due to exposure to UV rays. If significant fading occurs, it may be necessary to replace the plates to maintain their legibility and aesthetic appeal. Keep in mind that it is a legal requirement to have clear and visible registration plates, so timely replacement is essential.

Lastly, it's worth noting that maintaining the legality of spaced private plates is vital. Make sure that the plates comply with legal specifications regarding letter size, spacing, and font style. Any alterations to the plates that render them illegible can result in fines or legal penalties. Regularly check for any damage or modifications that may impact the plates' legality, and address them promptly to ensure compliance.

In conclusion, maintenance and care of spaced private plates involve regular cleaning, protection from damage, proper mounting, and ensuring legal compliance. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your spaced private plates remain in optimal condition and continue to enhance your vehicle's aesthetics.


In conclusion, spacing a private plate correctly is essential for UK drivers. It is important to understand the regulations set by the DVLA, choose the right font, use correct spacing, follow the correct pattern, use the right materials and seek professional help if needed. Additional tips and recommendations include ensuring proper care and maintenance of spaced private plates. The benefits and advantages of properly spaced private plates are many, while the legal consequences of improper spacing can result in penalties.

The guide has highlighted the key factors to consider when spacing a private plate, providing a step-by-step approach to ensure that the plate meets the DVLA regulations. As a final note, it is essential to invest time and effort in accurate spacing and adhering to the rules and guidelines. Doing so will not only keep drivers on the right side of the law but also enhance their vehicle's appearance and value.