How to read Number Plates

I am going to start paying attention to try and understand number plates. Yahoo Cars have printed out a rough guide.

I am just looking at a Car Reg that begins with W and the last 3 letters are ADS, and I’ve got to try and decipher what this means:

Area code:

The current number plate format is a seven-figure system using two letters, two numbers, and then three further letters. The first two letters denote the locale of the DVLA office where the car was first registered. The idea is that you’ll largely drive in the same locality among cars from the same area, thus becoming familiar with the letters representing your area. It also means those from other areas stand out more, and are therefore easier to remember.

It’s mostly obvious what the letters represent, though not always. The first letter denotes a wider county or area – so N is North and L is London – and the second is the ‘local office identifier’. Less obvious letters include the Kent and Sussex area, which begins with G, for ‘Garden of England’, and V for the Severn Valley.

Age identifier:

The two numbers are again based on the same principle of shortness and familiarity making them easier to learn – a technique called mnemonics. They identify the age of the car, and change twice per year: March and September.

March plates show the year itself, so 2002 becomes 02, 2003 becomes 03, and 2010 becomes 10 and so on. September plates are slightly more confusing. Until September 2009 they had 50 added to the year, so September 2002 was 52, September 2003 was 53, etc. From September this year (2010), they’ll have 60 added. That means the next registration will be 60, followed by 61 in 2011.

Random letters:

These three random letters distinguish individual cars registered at the same DVLA office. Rude or offensive sequences are, of course, banned. And letters I and Q aren’t ever used due to potential confusion with the numbers 1 and 0.”

Well, all that I have established is that ‘W’ could be West but the letters at the end just identify the vehicle. I also have a 6 in it too, which doesn’t make any sense.


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