Are 3D and 4D plates legal in 2023?
That’s one of the biggest questions we get asked. In a simplest of terms, YES.
The legality of 3D and 4D plates came about when the DVLA, along with number plates component manufacturers revisited the standards of number plates in March 2021. They had revised the standards, under the new code of BSAU145e.
These are reflected on the DVLA website:
A brief highlight of the changes
- Banning of 2 tone fonts (eg. Carbon print)
- The official recognition of 3D (raised) gel letters being allowed
- More durable acrylic plates, made to withstand grit etc.
- Mandatory requirement for newly registered vehicles to display supplier information and BSAU145e
Where is the confusion?
The confusion lies primarily where the DVLA have banned the use of a 2 tone fonts. There is a font which is referred to as 3D.
The DVLA specifically clarified the "raised letters" are allowed but as long as they're a solid black colour.
Other factors to consider
Having 3D raised gel characters isn't the only thing that makes a plate legal. The reg, of course has to be spaced correctly and the plates can't be tinted. This also extends to the legality of 4D plates.
What about 4D plates?
"4D" is a term using in the industry to differentiate between the different style of lettering. 4D letters are made from acrylic, whilst 3D letters are made from gel. BOTH have raised letters, meaning they are legal as stated by the DVLA. They certainly don't add an extra dimension!
Will they pass and MOT?
These will pass MOT like any printed plate, provided they satisfy all the other standards a plate has to meet highlighted at the starting. By that we mean if the plate doesn't carry supplier details and fails MOT on the plates, they failed because they were missing the details and not because of the lettering.
It is also worth noting that if a set of printed plates had supplier details missing, they would also fail in the same manner and bare no sole link with 3D and 4D plates.
Please contact us if unsure what styles are legal for road use and which are for off-road use.