What year is my car?

Whether you’re looking for parts, getting an insurance quote or selling your car, it’s important to know how old it is.

If you’re not sure what year your car is, our guide will help you find out.

Whether you’re looking for parts, getting an insurance quote or selling your car, it’s important to know how old it is.

If you’re not sure what year your car is, our guide will help you find out.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
4
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 30 DECEMBER 2020

How can I find out what year my car is?

It’s actually pretty simple to find out how old your car is. Read the number plate.

Those letters and numbers aren’t just random. They can tell you how old your car is and where it was first registered. This can be very helpful information if you’re looking to insure your car, get parts for it or if you want to sell it.

Current number plate series

The current number plate series we use in the UK is called ‘Millennium registration’. These plates have been issued since 2001.

Millennium plates follow a specific format which is:

  • 2 letters (local memory tag) – the first two letters on your plate show where your car was first registered. The first letter is a postcode area, the second identifies the DVLA office where your car was first registered
  • 2 numbers (age identifier) – the middle numbers represent the year of your car and the six-month period it was registered in – either March to August or September to February
  • 3 letters (random letters) – this is the random part of your number plate, three letters that give your car its distinctive identity

How old is my car?

If your car was registered after 2001, it will have one of the following two number formats in the middle of the number plate. These will tell you the year and the time of year it was first registered:

Age identifiers 2001-2030

Date Code Date Code
    Sept 2001 – Feb 2002 51
March 2002 – Aug 2002 02 Sept 2002 – Feb 2003 52
March 2003 – Aug 2003 03 Sept 2003 – Feb 2004 53
March 2004 – Aug 2004 04 Sept 2004 – Feb 2005 54
March 2005 – Aug 2005 05 Sept 2005 – Feb 2006 55
March 2006 – Aug 2006 06 Sept 2006 – Feb 2007 56
March 2007 – Aug 2007 07 Sept 2007 – Feb 2008 57
March 2008 – Aug 2008 08 Sept 2008 – Feb 2009 58
March 2009 – Aug 2009 09 Sept 2009 – Feb 2010 59
March 2010 – Aug 2010 10 Sept 2010 – Feb 2011 60
March 2011 – Aug 2011 11 Sept 2011 – Feb 2012 61
March 2012 – Aug 2012 12 Sept 2012 – Feb 2013 62
March 2013 – Aug 2013 13 Sept 2013 – Feb 2014 63
March 2014 – Aug 2014 14 Sept 2014 – Feb 2015 64
March 2015 – Aug 2015 15 Sept 2015 – Feb 2016 65
March 2016 – Aug 2016 16 Sept 2016 – Feb 2017 66
March 2017 – Aug 2017 17 Sept 2017 – Feb 2018 67
March 2018 – Aug 2018 18 Sept 2018 – Feb 2019 68
March 2019 – Aug 2019 19 Sept 2019 – Feb 2020 69
March 2020 – Aug 2020 20 Sept 2020 – Feb 2021 70
March 2021 – Aug 2021 21 Sept 2021 – Feb 2022 71
March 2022 – Aug 2022 22 Sept 2022 – Feb 2023 72
March 2023 – Aug 2023 23 Sept 2023 – Feb 2024 73
March 2024 – Aug 2024 24 Sept 2024 – Feb 2025 74
March 2025 – Aug 2025 25 Sept 2025 – Feb 2026 75
March 2026 – Aug 2026 26 Sept 2026 – Feb 2027 76
March 2027 – Aug 2027 27 Sept 2027 – Feb 2028 77
March 2028 – Aug 2028 28 Sept 2028 – Feb 2029 78
March 2029 – Aug 2029 29 Sept 2029 – Feb 2030 79

Find out the year of a pre-2001 car

Before 1 September 2001, the number plate system was different to how it is now. Cars registered between 1983 - 1 September 2001 used a ‘prefix registration’ format in this sequence:

  • 1 letter (age identifier) – symbolising the year the car was first registered
  • Random numbers
  • 3 letters (area code)

Cars registered between 1963 – 1982 used a ‘suffix registration format’ in this sequence:

  • 3 letters (area code)
  • Random numbers
  • 1 letter (age identifier) – the year the car was first registered

The car registration years chart below shows how old a car is depending on the suffix (1963-1982) or prefix (1983-2001) formats.

Age identifier Suffix Prefix
A reg year 1963 1983
B reg year 1964 1984
C reg year 1965 1985
D reg year 1966 1986
E reg year 1967 1987
F reg year 1967 1988
G reg year 1968 1989
H reg year 1969 1990
J reg year 1970 1991
K reg year 1971 1992
L reg year 1972 1993
M reg year 1973 1994
N reg year 1974 1995
P reg year 1975 1996
R reg year 1976 1997
S reg year 1977 1998
T reg year 1978 1999
V reg year 1979 1999
W reg year 1980 2000
X reg year 1981 2000
Y reg year 1982 2001

Did you know?

In both the suffix and prefix formats, the letters I, O, Q, U and Z weren’t used. This was partly because, in the case of I and O, they could be confused with numbers, and U looked too much like V.

However, Q plates are used for cars when their age can’t be determined, for example, kit cars, classic cars and imported cars.

Other ways to check the age of your car

If you don’t fancy decoding your number plate, there are other ways to find out when your car was first registered - and therefore how old it is.

Look in your V5C logbook
The V5C logbook will tell you when the car was first registered, who the current registered keeper is, as well as MOT, service history and tax details.

To find out when your car was first registered, go to the ‘Vehicle Details’ section of your logbook.

Get info on your car directly from DVLA
You can find out a whole heap of interesting information about your car on the DVLA website.

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