How old is your car? Here’s a few telling signs

Most people aren’t familiar with the many ways in which you can check the age of your car. There are more than you may think, and believe it or not, it’s actually a pretty handy thing to know! For example, if you’re looking to sell your car privately, or through one of our online car auctions, knowing the age of your car plays a key role when setting a valuation for it.

We know you want to get the best price for your car when you choose to sell through our online auction site. Here at RAW2K, we’re the UK's premier online car auction website, and we sell thousands of used, salvage and seized vehicles in our daily and weekly auctions.

So, here’s how to determine the age of your car - and get the very best price.

Registration year or manufacture year?

First of all, it’s worth knowing the difference between your vehicle’s ‘registration year’, and its ‘manufacture year’. It’s not uncommon for a number of weeks to go by after a car leaves the production line, before it’s registered with a dealer. This is where the differentiation between the registration year and manufacture year comes into play.

For example, say a car was manufactured in Germany in December of 2007, but didn’t get to a UK dealership until January 2008 - that means the registration year will be 2008, but the manufacture year will be 2007.

How to figure out the age of your car with your number plate

There are a few different ways to check how old your car is, but the quickest way is by looking at the number plate. This is a great way of determining your vehicle’s registration year, but there are a few things to keep in mind when examining your reg number. Mainly, the system upon which cars are registered in the UK has changed over the years, so we’ll break down the most common format for you.

Millennium registration - these were issued from 2001 onwards and follow a format of 2 letters, 2 numbers, then 3 letters. This is the most common form of registration you’ll see on the roads today - for example: AB51 ABC or AB02 ABC.

Basically, the numbers indicate the vehicle’s year of registration, and number plates in this format are issued every 6 months here in the UK (in March and September). However, this is where things start to get a bit complicated - the two numbers represent the year in which the car was registered, but it’s not as simple as 01 represents 2001 and so on. Full lists of the multiple number variations can be found online but to illustrate our point - a number plate with the variation “51” is representative of a car that was registered in September 2001, but a plate with the variation “02” is representative of a vehicle that was registered in March 2002.

Check your vehicle registration document (V5C)

If you decide against trying to decode your number plate, then you can always dig out your vehicle paperwork and check your V5C. This form is issued by the DVLA, and shows who is responsible for registering and taxing your vehicle. This document will have a section titled ‘Vehicle Details’, which will include the full vehicle registration date.

Use your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)

Just in case you’re in need of another method, you can also find your Vehicle Identification Number in your vehicle logbook, under the ‘vehicle details’ section. If you’ve lost your V5C, don’t worry - you can also locate the VIN plate on your car, and it can normally be found in a clear section of the glass at the bottom of your windscreen. Plus, it’s sometimes stamped on a metal plate that you can find in the engine bay of your car.

So, once you’ve identified your 17-digit VIN, you’ll have to locate the 10th character. In most cases, this character will almost always tell you the date that the car was manufactured. This figure will be correct 99% of the time, but if you’re still unsure, we’d recommend speaking to the original dealer that supplied your car, as they’ll be able to confirm the year it was manufactured.

So, whether you’re new to the world of online car auctions or not, here at RAW2K we make it really simple for you to sell your salvage car. Once you’ve confirmed the age of your vehicle, you can set a starting price, and you’re ready to go! Our online car auctions list thousands of used, salvaged and seized vehicles every week. So if you’re just a hobbyist or a full time professional mechanic, why not take a look around, and see what you can find?