Should You Choose a Customized License Plate? A Quick Guide and Some Ideas


When you think of a vanity license plate, you probably think about expressing your individuality. But 9.3 million Americans also had the same idea, and are currently driving around with their nicknames and funny sayings on the back of their cars, too. 

If you’re considering choosing a customized license plate, check out our quick guide. We also have a few ideas for you!

A Customized License Plate Guide

Have you got a great nickname? Or maybe you want to give a shout out to your wife or kids? We’ve made it easy for you.

Here’s a step-by-step process of getting a customized license plate to help get you started. Just remember that each state is a little different!

1. Know Your Requirements

Every state has their own set of rules about customized license plates.

Some states, such as Texas and Virginia, have a seven to eight character limit. Other states don’t allow spaces in your plate choices.

Make sure you look up the requirements your state or locality has for customized license plates. In Virginia, for example, they only cost $10 — but the state has some specific rules about obscenity and curse words.

In the United Kingdom, different phrases have varying prices. Check out this guide by Primo Registrations to determine the worth of your U.K. customized license plate.

It’s your responsibility to know the process in your state!

2. Know Your Plate

You know what you want to put on your customized license plate, don’t you? Think about a special word or phrase you know you want. Then think about ways to shorten words.

“Doctor,” for example, can become just two letters — “DR.” And if you want to denote your gender, you can use “GUY” and “GAL,” instead of “dude,” “male,” “woman,” or “lady.” The abbreviations “Mr.” or “Ms.” are even shorter and are seen often on vanity plates.

The sky is the limit here. Get creative!

3. Check Your Plate

Once you know your state’s requirements and understand there will be a nominal fee, it’s time to decide what you want on your personalized license plate, you are ready to claim it!

Go to your state’s license plate lookup to see if your chosen phrase is taken. This takes a quick online search. If you’re in Georgia, you can search “Georgia license plate lookup,” for example. 

See if your plate preference is taken. If it is, don’t worry. Remember: You have options!

When searching for your vanity plate you are bound to see redundancies. “JAMIE2,” for example, could mean you’re looking at Jamie’s second car, or the car of a person named Jamie, Jr. 

More likely, however, you’re looking at a car whose driver wanted the license plate “JAMIE,” but wasn’t first in line in his state to have the same idea.

4. Making Your Final Choices

Picking your customized license plate isn’t easy. You might be shortening words, and your state may make you have numbers on your plate. You also need to choose what order you want the letters and numbers to go in.

If you’re really striking out on the personalized license plate front, consider changing letters to numbers. Instead of “BEST MOM,” you can try “B3ST M0M.” 

5. Keep It Light

No one likes a downer, and especially when driving on the open road. Keep your customized license plates fun and positive. Most states won’t allow profanity on their plates, but you’d be surprised at what can slip through.

Celebrate something you love or describe yourself to make the perfect customized license plate. “BIKE RIDER” has been shortened in Texas to “BIKRDR,” and lots of dentists have some variation of “TOOTHDR” or “2THDOC” on their cars. Let your personality shine!

6. Wait for Your Plate

After you have researched the specific requirements in your state and purchased your catchy phrase, you may have to wait up to two months to receive your new customized license plate. After you get it in the mail, just fasten it on your car and go!

Make sure to have updated paperwork from insurance and registration companies as you see fit. You don’t want to get caught empty-handed.

While you’re waiting on your new plates, we know you’ll be a nervous ninny. Try changing out your wiper fluid or another car upgrade to make the time pass faster.

Customized License Plate Idea Guide

Still searching for the perfect plate? We’ve got some great ideas to help.

First, remember that you can abbreviate lots of words. Get a notepad and pen and work on what you want. One of the easiest ways to shorten words is by deleting vowels.

Starting with your first name is a great idea for a customized license plate. But there are other ways to select your new plates.

If you’re selecting based on your profession, be brief or cute. “Teacher” can become “TCHR,” or you can even use “PROF” in order to keep it brief. If you want to be cute, try something like “MATHMAN” if you’re a male math teacher, or “KINDERZ” if you love your kindergarten students!

Names and professions are good, but hobbies and passions are even better. If you like something specific, choose a related word.

We’ve seen “R0DE0” for a cattle roper’s horse trailer, and “YEEHAW” as well. One outdoorsman in New York has the customized license plate “FLYF1SH.” 

Sports fandoms are good for personalized plates, too. “DEMBOYZ” is a favorite for Dallas Cowboys fans, and “HOMERUN” is common for baseball players and fans. 

There’s really nothing better than seeing a creative or funny license plate when you’re out on the road. Think about how you’d introduce yourself to fellow drivers if you’re still looking for inspiration.

Keep Up The Customization

We know you want to fix your own car, but why not try to fix it up, too?

A customized license plate isn’t the only way to make your car your own. There are lots of ways to personalize your vehicle. From aftermarket speakers and custom tinted windows to state of the art mufflers, you can deck your car out in countless ways.

If you want to upgrade your headlights, consider switching over to LED. We’ve got the definitive guide to these lighting options waiting for you. Check it out by clicking here!