Everyone loves a private plate, whether you have your name, your initials, a funny word or just have one to hide the age of a vehicle. Private plates can be an investment and also hold significant sentimental value. But if it’s time to sell your car, removing a private plate can delay the process and complicate what is already a daunting task.

Fear not – Sell My Classic are here to help!

How do I keep my private plate?

If you are selling your car privately we recommend taking your private plate off before you advertise the car, it usually takes about 4 – 6 weeks to get the V5 back. If you are selling with Sell My Classic you can advertise immediately as our buyers understand the process and are happy to wait for the V5 to arrive.

To put your plate on retention you will need to fit the following criteria:

  • Your vehicle must be registered with the DVLA in the UK
  • Registered with a V5C
  • Up-to-date on road tax or SORN
  • Available to be inspected if required
  • Can move under its own power
  • Eligible for an MOT

If you have a historic (classic) vehicle, you’ll also need a current MOT certificate, even if your vehicle is exempt from MOTs.

(According to data from the DVLA (https://www.gov.uk/personalised-vehicle-registration-numbers/take-private-number-off )

You can apply to put your private plate on retention online ( https://www.gov.uk/personalised-vehicle-registration-numbers/take-private-number-off ) or you can do this by post. It costs £80 to put your private plate on retention. Once this is completed, your private plates will no longer be associated with the car. You will receive a V778 (Retention document). Your plate will then be on retention for 10 years. When you are ready, you can apply it to a new vehicle. Ensure you don’t sell or scrap your car before the V778 in hand or you will lose your right to claim the registration number.

What if I still want to drive my car?

Your original number plate will usually be assigned to your vehicle automatically, by the DVLA straight away. This means all you will have to do is attach the original number plates before you can drive as well as inform your insurance company of your new registration number. You will receive a new logbook V5C showing the vehicle’s replacement registration number, which can take 4-6 weeks to arrive.

You may also need to inform your online accounts, such as your:

  • Congestion charges
  • LEZ / ULEZ payments
  • Dart charges
  • Clean Air Zone payments

How to remove your plates from your car

For classic and performance cars alike, removing your private plates is essential if you’re looking to sell your car and keep the plates with you. Depending on the method that was used to attach your plate initially, there are a few ways you may have to remove them. The following are all common methods for attaching plates: screws, pop rivets, tape, and sticky pads.

  •  Screws – These will commonly be covered with plastic caps that usually come off with ease. Once removed, this will reveal the screws which you can undo with a screwdriver. Just ensure you keep hold of the plate while unscrewing to avoid damage to the plate or the car.
  • Pop rivets – Maybe the most challenging to remove, as these have to be secured with special tools. This may mean you have to take your car to the nearest garage to remove these fittings.
  • Tape – The ease of removal depends on the strength of the tape used on the application. Ensure you hold your plate firmly when removing so you don’t snap it during the process. If the adhesive is too strong, you can use string to cut through the glue. Alternatively, you can use a little heat to loosen the glue.
  • Sticky pads – These can be removed a bit like tape with a little heat or string

Selling your private plates

If you no longer require your plate, you can either sell your plate with the car or remove it and sell it separately.

If you would like to sell it separately from your car, you would need your plate on retention and then you can either choose to:

  • Use a private number plate dealer
  • Sell or gift your number plate yourself

It is easy to assign your plate to someone else if you choose this method.

But if you want to part ways with your private plates and sell them with your car, this is also possible. This would be the same as a normal car sale. You would simply move over the ownership of both the car and plate to the new buyer by updating the V5C. This is a cheaper way to get rid of your plates if you decide you no longer want them as it saves you time, admin and the cost of putting your plate on retention.

How long does it take to take a private plate off a car?

It doesn’t take long at all to take off your private plate off the car. If you do it online, it is an instant process and your car will automatically revert to its original plates. If you do it by post, it may take a few more days just until the DVLA receives the change of information. You will receive a new log book outlining the vehicle’s replacement registration number which can take 4-6 weeks to arrive in the post.

Who do I need to inform when I change my number plate?

If you decide to change your registration number, it’s important to inform the DVLA as soon as possible. This will ensure that you don’t miss any important documents from them or face a hefty fine for driving with an incorrect plate. You should also contact:

  • Your insurance provider and notify them of the new plate so that your policy remains valid.

Ensure you all let any auto-pay accounts know you have changed your plate!

Does my private plate have to be attached to a new vehicle?

Once removing your private plate from your car, it doesn’t need to be assigned to a new vehicle. Your plate will be on retention for 10 years, meaning you can leave this plate off a car for this period or choose to reassign it to a new vehicle as and when you are ready.

Ready to sell?

Start the process with a FREE valuation by entering your reg www.sellmyclassic.co.uk