If a license plate disappears, so does its number — for good – Orange County Register


Q. Does the Department of Motor Vehicles recycle old license-plate numbers from junked cars or vehicles that switched to personalized plates?

– Tom Rapport, Orange

A. No.

“Once a plate number becomes inactive, for whatever reason, the DMV does not reuse those numbers again, because they may still be in the department’s database and may still be associated with a vehicle,” Ronald Ongtoaboc, a DMV spokesman, told Honk in an email.

So Honk can’t even get a new personalized license plate with the old number from his beloved first car, a long-gone 1971 Volkswagen, that a brother once put rocks in the hubcaps of so he could rattle his amazing sibling?


But there is a bit of an exception.

The DMV is OK with vehicle owners going vintage, if guidelines are met.

“If a customer purchases old plates that are no longer registered, such as at a garage sale, they could register them, but only under the Year of Manufacture program,” Ongtoaboc said. “This program requires the vehicle’s model year to align with the year the plate was originally issued.”

If interested, Google “REG 352” to get the proper DMV form.



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