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How to Choose a Vanity License Plate

Getting a vanity license plate is fun.  It adds a bit of your personality into your dally commute and makes your vehicle easy to identify in a sea of sameness.   I’ve had a few vanity plates in my time and really liked being able to display a little bit of my personality on the road.

While they are a bit more expensive than regular, run of the mill license plates, for some, the extra cost is worth having a little more fun and can also help you support an important cause that’s close to your heart, too.

The first step is finding out how many characters are allowed for license plates in your particular state.  For Illinois, which happens to be my state, my selection is based on type the plates I desire.  For example, if I want a license plate which is a simple personalized plate, I’m allowed a combination of 7 letters and numbers.  If I choose a vanity plate, I’m allowed 3 numbers only – or 1 to 7 letters.   To find out what your state allows, visit the Department of Motor Vehicles for your state online.

Coming up with a unique license plate can take some brain power, so it’s time to give your creative side a workout.  Remember that your plate will probably have an immediate effect on other drivers, so steer clear of anything that’s offensive or could send the wrong message.   A word of caution: Using your first name on your license plate may seem innocent enough, however you could be setting yourself up for an invitation of the unwanted variety.  For example, if your name is Lisa and your license plate reads LISA 23, it wouldn’t be difficult for a stranger to approach you by name.  

Think of hobbies you participate in, things you enjoy, maybe your position at work, your personality, a witty phrase that’s short and to the point.  If it’s too complicated or takes more than a passing glance to understand, the meaning will be lost. 

Here are some ideas to get your started:

• If you’re totally psyched about your July wedding, your plate could read 07BRIDE
• If you love Los Angeles and find yourself living in a colder climate, your plate could read 02BNLA
• If you’re a dentist, your plate could read DR2TH
• If you donate blood, your plate could read BLOOD4U
• If you’re into horror movies, your plate might read NYTMARE
• If you’re a fan of James Bond films, your plate might read JMSBOND
• If you seem to be taking everyone just about everywhere, your plate could read THETAXI

For more ideas, just plug in the words vanity plates in your search engine, and you’ll get all kinds of results.  You might have to try more than one or two in the event that the ones you like are already taken by other motorists in your state, so you might want to make a list of 10 or 15 that you like best. 

You can visit the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state online and enter your choices directly to see if they’ve already been taken.   You can also order your plates directly on line as long as you have the VIN and current license plate number, owner information, current drivers’ license number and your SSN.  You’ll also need a valid credit card to place your order online.

If you have a vanity license plate, please leave a comment to let me know what it is – I think they’re fun and some of them are so clever!


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3 Responses to “How to Choose a Vanity License Plate”

  1. My license plate is xpensiv. Ones I have seen that are catchy are:DR2B(doctor to be), ALIMONY on a Porcshe & Good tmes

  2. Hi Patti: What a witty license plate you have – I love it! :) Thanks for sharing yours and including some other cool ideas, too.

  3. Its amazing how many people are now driving around with personalized number plates, I have seen a few good ones MeMe, 2Hot etc.

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