Replacing Illegible Registration Plates

Replacing Illegible Registration Plates

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Although it’s not often thought about, license plates for vehicles often wear over time and can be deemed illegible! 

Worn PA license plate

A worn PA license plate


In a statement issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), license plates are deemed illegible when “one or more of the numbers/letters cannot be recognized from 50 feet OR if the registration plate shows any blistering, peeling, discoloration, or loss of reflectivity”.

The sample plate image to the right visualizes some of the ways in which a license plate can be considered illegible. Chipped paint, or letters and numbers that have faded with age can be common among older registration plates. 

However, even if you have an illegible license plate, it can be replaced without any cost to you! 

Due to laws in place, PennDOT is able to replace standard registration plates after an inspection to verify that the plate does in fact meet the requirements for replacement. This verification can be done either by an official Pennsylvania inspection station, or by law enforcement.

If your license plate has any wear or looks as though it is beginning to fade, visit PA’s DMV license plate page for more details on how to get your plate inspected, verified, and replaced today!

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