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Home » Top Tips for Making Your 4D Number Plate Compliant with DVLA Regulations

Top Tips for Making Your 4D Number Plate Compliant with DVLA Regulations

In recent years, there has been an increase in the popularity of 4D number plates among vehicle owners who wish to enhance the sophistication and individuality of their vehicles. The raised, three-dimensional effect of these number plates is unparalleled by traditional 2D plates, as they are characterised by characters that are laser-cut from acrylic. Nevertheless, the primary concern is legality, as is the case with any vehicle modification. This exhaustive guide has been compiled to assist you in understanding the rules and regulations that pertain to 4D number plates.

Understanding Four-dimensional number plates

It is imperative to comprehend the definition of 4D number plates prior to delving into the specifics of legal requirements. In essence, these plates are composed of numerals and letters that are elevated above the base plate, providing a more pronounced and distinctive three-dimensional appearance than 2D plates. Their distinctive appearance has rendered them a favoured option among automobile enthusiasts.

Regulations that govern

The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) in the United Kingdom regulates the legality of number plates, including 4D designs. The regulations emphasise the correct display of characters, readability, and visibility. The consequences of violating these regulations may include fines, MOT failure, or, in the worst-case scenario, the determination that your vehicle is unsuitable for the road.

Key Legal Requirements for 4D Number Plates

In order to be road lawful, your 4D number plates must satisfy the following fundamental criteria:


Character Height: Each character must be 79 mm in height.

Character Width: Each character (excluding the number ‘1’ and the letter ‘I’) should be 50 mm in width.

Stroke Width: The character’s thickness should be 14 mm.

Character spacing: A minimum of 11 millimetres is required between characters.

Margin Spacing: A minimum of 11 mm of margin is required from the top, bottom, and sides of the plate.

Vertical Spacing: The spacing between the clusters of characters is 33 mm.

Construction and Materials:

Number plates must be constructed from reflective material.

The characters must be non-reflective and solid black.

There should be no additional background patterns on the plates.

BS AU 145e Standard:

All number plates are required to comply with the BS AU 145e standard as of September 2021. This standard guarantees that the plates are durable and can withstand a variety of weather conditions without compromising their legibility or reflectivity.

Font Style:

The Charles Wright font, which has been specifically engineered to be both readable and compliant with road safety standards, is the required font for all number plates.


The front plate must feature black characters on a white background.

The rear plate must feature black characters on a yellow background.

Legal identifier:

The British Standard mark (BS AU 145e) and the manufacturer’s name or trademark must be included on the plates.

Absence of Background Patterns:

Backgrounds should be consistent in colour, devoid of any supplementary patterns, designs, or nuances that could potentially impede readability.

Plate placement:

Plates must be placed in a position that is readily visible and readable from the front and rear of the vehicle, and they must be fixed vertically or nearly vertically.

Further Considerations

Although the preceding points address the fundamental legal requirements, there are supplementary factors to take into account:

Motor Vehicle Inspection:

Ensure that your number plates are clean and readily legible. An MOT failure may result from soiled or damaged plates.

Application of 4D Characters:

Ensure that the 4D characters are securely fastened. The plate may become indistinct and non-compliant as a result of loose characters falling off.

Spacing and Alignment:

Avoid any non-standard spacing or misalignment, as it can render the plate challenging to read and, as a result, illegal.

Frames and Accessories:

Ensure that the number plate frames or covers do not obscure any portion of the plate if you opt to use them.

Practical Measures to Guarantee Compliance

Purchase from Reputable Suppliers:

Purchase 4D number plates from suppliers that are recognised for their compliance with DVLA regulations. Plates that adhere to the BS AU 145e standard will be supplied by reputable merchants.

Verify certification:

Certification of compliance is frequently furnished by a legitimate number plate supplier. This can be beneficial in the event that you ever need to demonstrate the legality of your plates.

Consistent Upkeep:

Ensure that your plates are kept spotless and inspect them periodically for any signs of wear and tear that could potentially impact their readability.

Remain Up-to-Date

Keep yourself informed about any changes in number plate laws to ensure ongoing compliance, as regulations are subject to change.

Installation by a professional:

To guarantee that your plates are installed accurately, it is advisable to have them professionally installed. This prevents any potential issues with characters becoming slack over time or misalignment.

Misconceptions and Common Myths

Some common falsehoods and misconceptions may mislead vehicle owners as 4D plates become more prevalent:

Myth: All 3D and 4D number plates are unlawful.

Fact: Although not all 3D and 4D plates may satisfy the legal requirements, those that comply with the aforementioned standards are capable of being wholly road legal. It is imperative that your particular plates adhere to the regulations of the DVLA.

Myth: It is always permissible to use personalised plates with distinctive fonts and designs.

Fact: The font, size, spacing, and material must adhere to the legal requirements, irrespective of personalisation. Fonts or styles that are distinctive and inconsistent with the established standards are not permitted.

Myth: The appearance and legibility of the plate can be improved by reflective backgrounds.

Fact: The characters must be black and non-reflective, while the background must be reflective. Reflective characters are unlawful and can impede readability.

Penalties and Legal Enforcement

Several penalties may be imposed for noncompliance with road legal requirements for number plates:

Fines that are assessed immediately:

Police officers have the authority to impose on-the-spot fines for number plates that do not adhere to the regulations.

MOT Failure:

An MOT failure will occur if the number plates are non-compliant, rendering the vehicle illegal to operate until the issue is resolved.

Seizure of a Motor Vehicle:

Enforcement agencies have the authority to seize the vehicle in severe cases where the number plate is regarded to significantly impede vehicle identification.

Licence Points:

Penalty points may be imposed on your driving licence as a result of persistent violations, which may affect your insurance premiums and driving record.

In conclusion,

In conclusion, the process of ensuring that your 4D number plates are road legal entails adhering to the DVLA’s regulations with respect to the overall design, font, reflectivity, material, and character dimensions. You can experience the aesthetic and distinctive appeal of 4D number plates without any concerns regarding legality by purchasing from reputable suppliers, verifying compliance certification, maintaining your plates routinely, and remaining informed about legal updates.

It is important to bear in mind that, although personalisation can provide a distinctive accent to your vehicle, road safety and legal compliance are priorities. By adhering to the designated guidelines, you can guarantee that your vehicle is distinctive for the appropriate reasons, which will enable you to experience both style and tranquilly while operating it on the roadways. In addition to ensuring that your number plates are functional and readily readable, adhering to these standards also helps you stay on the right side of the law, thereby contributing to the safety of the road.

It is imperative that vehicle proprietors maintain a vigilant and responsible attitude, ensuring that aesthetics are balanced with regulatory compliance, as the prevalence of the 4D plate continues to increase. You can confidently display your personalised plates, knowing that they comply with all legal requirements and enhance the driving experience, by adhering to the enumerated guidelines and remaining informed.