MOT Test of Registration plates and Vehicle Identification Number* (VIN) | What is checked

Number Plate Registration No

Identification of the vehicle (0)

(Formerly MOT Test of registration plates and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN))

MOT Test of registration plates (number plate)

  • Required on all vehicles unless they are unregistered, foreign, diplomatic or military
  • May be white, grey or silver characters on black background if vehicle made before 1st January 1978

NOTE: Revised Registration Plate (number plate) Testing and Tow Bar Testing (see below) were effective from April 09.

Registration plate characters:

  • may contain grey, possibly to achieve a 3D effect
  • must be the correct size, stroke width and spacing
  • mustn’t be italic, sloping or formed using broken or multiple strokes
  • must be laid out in the correct format for the age of vehicle
  • must be formed using the prescribed font or be substantially similar to the prescribed font – as shown below:

New MOT number plate regs style graphic

Registration plates fitted to vehicles manufactured on or after 1 January 1978 must:

  • have black characters on a white background when fitted to the front
  • have black characters on a yellow background when fitted to the rear
  • be fitted vertically, or as close to vertical as is reasonably practicable

Registration plates may be in a single or two line formats. Additionally, a three line format is permitted on vehicles first used before 1 September 2001.

New MOT number plate layout regs

Registration plates must meet the dimensional requirements shown in the example below. However, the space between a number ‘1’ or a letter ‘I’ and another character is permitted to be proportionately greater.

Vehicles with non-date related plates, such as those issued before 1963 and Northern Ireland plates must still meet the separation requirement between groups of characters where relevant.

New MOT Rules number plate graphic

Vehicles registered before 1 September 2001 can have larger plates fitted with characters 89mm high and other relevant dimensions that are subsequently larger.

Imported vehicles that don’t have the space for standard sized registration plates can have smaller registration plates.

MOT Registration Plate Specifications

Relevant Dimension

Tricycles & quadricycles

All other vehicles

Character height

64mm

79mm

Character width (except for the figure 1 or letter I)

44mm

50mm

Stroke width

10mm

14mm

Space between two characters in group

10mm

11mm

Vertical space between groups of characters

13mm

19mm

Horizontal space between groups of characters30mm33mm

Margins (Minimum)

11mm

11mm

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. Number plate missing or so insecure that it is likely to fall off
Major
b. Number plate inscription missing or illegibleMajor
c. Number plate showing an incorrect registration
Major
d. Number plate does not conform to the specified requirements
Major

Vehicle Identification Number* (VIN)

All vehicles first used on or after 1st August 1980 require a VIN number. For kit cars and amateur built vehicles that applies if first used after 1st September 2001

The following categories apply to defects in this section:

DefectCategory
a. VIN missing or cannot be found
Major
b. VIN incomplete, illegible or obviously falsified
Major

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