License plate: when should you change it on your car (and how much does it cost)?

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Because it’s broken, or just for pure pleasure, It is possible to change the license plate of your vehicle., especially your car. But be careful not to do anything, it is better to respect the regulations in this area.

We help you see more clearly if you are worried.

In which cases should you change your registration?

A few years ago, you had to change your license plate every time you changed vehicle ownership. But with the transition in 2009 to the new Vehicle Registration System (SIV), it is no longer necessary to make this modification.

The number in format AA-123-AA is now in fact assigned for life for the vehicle, until its destruction or export, as recalled by the National Insurance Title Agency (ANTS), in charge (among other things) of vehicle registration certificates. Please note that it is still necessary to change your registration document.

Changing the plate is still essential in certain cases:

  • You have bought a used vehicle with the old registration system (FNI). With the change of owner on the registration card, the registration passes to the current SIV system, which will assign a new registration number, for life. You will need to change the board accordingly.
  • Theft, loss or damage to the plate.. If your license plate has been “stolen or damaged, you must replace it and install a new one,” explains the specialized site on its blog.
  • Damaged, illegible plates.non-conforming or distorted.
  • Plate number theft. In the event that you receive fines for a vehicle that fraudulently uses your license plate, you can request a license plate change. It’s not mandatory.

Change plates: be careful with the stickers

You can also choose to change the plate simply for aesthetics, to have new standardized plates with eurobands in the colors of the region and the territorial identifier of your choice, if the model of your plate is old and has not been changed since the Appearance of the new models.

We remind you that you can freely choose the department number displayed on your new license plate. On the other hand, it is prohibited by law to place a sticker to modify the apartment number (without changing the plate), although in reality this has more nuances, as we explained in a previous article.

How much does it cost to change your license plate?

If you want to change your license plate, you can go to an approved professional, whether a “workshop mechanic or license plate maker”, reminds

The plate must fit an approved model. The approval number must be written there. The plate must respect the size and arrangement standards of the elements that constitute it. These standards concern in particular the height, spacing of letters and numbers and the shape of hyphens. The registration number can be arranged in 1 or 2 lines.

In this case, you may be asked for a registration document.

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On the other hand, if you must change registration number (to move from the old FNI system to the new SIV), you must present supporting documents proving that you are the owner of the vehicle, namely:

  • original vehicle registration document
  • valid identity document
  • proof of address
  • valid technical inspection (not always requested)

Changing the plate with a professional will cost you at least ten eurosdepending on the garage you use.

On average, including front and rear plate assembly, It will cost you between 40 and 60 euros.

But there are factors that are raising the price.

However, the price of plates can increase for several reasons. The first is the material used: aluminum costs less than plexiglass, but it is also less resistant. Opting for plexiglass means paying more.

In general, the larger the size, the higher the price of the plate. In France, three plate formats are approved:

  • 520 x 110 mm, for cars, motorhomes, caravans;
  • 210 x 130 mm, for motorcycles, mopeds, scooters and quads;
  • 275 x 200 mm, for trailers, 4×4, tractors and trucks.

Then the price may increase if you decide to apply special finishes, such as embossed printing, or choose unbreakable or wear-resistant models. The rivets used can also modify the final price.

Please note that ordering your license plates online is sometimes cheaper than at a workshop or auto center, but shipping costs may be added to the bill.

It is possible to change the license plate yourself, but not at any time. (©Gilles Paire / Adobestock)

You can do it yourself, but be careful.

You can also place an order online, on a website, respecting current legislation (if you do not want to risk a fine).

Once you have received your compliant plate, you can have it professionally installed or install it yourself, but not in any way.

You will need a drill, rivet pliers, and rivets. Next, follow these steps, recommended by the En Voiture Simone driving school and by the website:

  • Drill out the rivets on the old license plate to remove it from the body;
  • Use your old plate as a template to drill the holes;
  • Place the new plate on the bracket, making sure it is straight;
  • Insert a rivet into each hole;
  • Use the riveting pliers to secure the rivets.

Possible fine if not in order.

If you are ever stopped by the police and do not comply with the regulations, you risk a fourth class fine of 135 euroswhich can reach up to 750 euros.

Additionally, any license plate change does not need to be reported to your insurance, unlike a license plate number change, which does need to be reported. This will result in your contract being updated and you obtaining a new residency card.

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