10 Car Care and Maintenance Tips

Your car is important to you, not just because it gets you from one place to another, but also because it is a significant personal investment. As such, you probably know that you need to take good care of it to avoid breakdowns and ensure that it remains reliable for as long as possible. Regular maintenance is particularly important if the car is used than if it is a new car.

Therefore to help you get the most out of your vehicle whether it is new or used, we thought we’d share with you the 10 basic and maintenance tips to follow to keep your car in the best condition.

1. Drive Carefully
You’ve probably heard this before, but in reference to safety and not as a maintenance tip. What most people don’t realize is that if you accelerate you engine during start-up, you are likely to wear out your engine much faster. Accelerate slowly when you begin to drive and be sure to shift to neutral at a red light to give your engine some time to recover.

2. Wash Your Car
Aside from simply keeping the vehicle clean, washing your car is also one of the best ways to keep corrosion at bay. When cleaning, be sure to wash out every part of the car including the interior, mats and the dashboard.

3. Wax the Car
Waxing your car is also one way to protect the paint job from oxidation which can be caused by natural events such as bird droppings or various forms of pollution. It also doesn’t hurt that the car will appear shinier.

4. Keep the Car Out of the Sun
When you are not driving, try as much as you can to park the car in the shade. This will prevent interior damage that can be caused by UV rays and also protects the car’s pain job. If you can’t find shade, use a car shade to minimize the effects if the sun on your vehicle.

5. Change the Oil and Filter Regularly
Even though manufacturers recommend increasing the interval between oil changes, it is still important that you check and change the oil on a regular basis, particularly if you have an older vehicle. Changing the oil regularly can help remove abrasive dirt and metal particles from the engine which can go a long way in helping to prolong the engine’s life.

6. Care For Your Tires
It is also equally as important to check your tire pressure regularly and keep them inflated as per the specifications in your user manual. One other thing you should look out for in your tires is uneven wear which is usually an indication that you need wheel realignment. Improper wheel alignment can shorten the life of your tires and even cause steering problems.

7. Clean the Car Engine
It is also very important that you wash your engine at least one a year. This is because a clean engine will run a lot cooler than a dirty one and will also make it easier for you to spot leaks and repair them before they can become bigger problems. It may be a good idea to get the engine professionally cleaned rather than doing it yourself, especially if you have more sensitive components. But if you would like to do it yourself, you can use a detergent and a bristle brush to scrub the engine. Just make sure you rinse the engine properly.

8. Change the Spark Plugs
All manufacturers recommend that you replace your spark plugs every 50,000 km. This is to ensure that the vehicle remains in good performance and ensures good fuel mileage.

9. Practice Good Car Battery Maintenance
Even if the vehicle manufacturer says that the battery is maintenance-free, you still need to have the battery regularly checked if you want to extend its life. The simplest things to do, is to make sure that the battery terminals remain clean. You can do that easily by clean damp rug to wipe the terminals clean. It is also very important that you regularly check the battery for any signs of damage that may point to the need to replace the battery. If you see any cracks or bulges, it may be time to get a new battery for your car. Also be sure to check your number plates for any signs of dirt (as this can lead the car actually becoming illegal on the roads if others aren’t able to clearly see your number plate)

10. Get Good Insurance
It is important to recognize the importance of great insurance because no matter how careful you are, accidents or damage are almost inevitable. The best insurer will replace damaged parts with original parts from a manufacturer who can guarantee repairs in case of future damage.

Digital Number Plates

With everything going digital, it was only a matter of time before number plates and vehicle registration also became digitized. While the digitization of number plates may not happen tomorrow, there are several countries in the world already exploring the possibility. It is no surprise that one of the places you can get on the digital number plate band-wagon is Dubai. It would make sense that Dubai would explore this possibility given the millions of Pounds they already spend on developing the most advanced technology hub in the world.

number plates on car

The announcement came from Dubai’s Sultan Abdullah al-Marzouqi, head of vehicle licensing at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). He recently said that the RTA was rolling out digital (smart) number plates that are expected to slowly come into operation, phasing out the more traditional number plate. And as you can imagine, these digital number plates, much like your smartphone, will have capabilities we don’t usually associate with number plates.
For example, once the program rolls out, drivers in Dubai can expect real-time traffic updates from their smart number plate as well as information about the changing conditions on the road. These plates will also be able to warn you if there is an accident on the road, allowing you to easily avoid unnecessary delays. They will also have a feature that allows you to communicate with other drivers on the road in real-time, which if for nothing else, may eliminate the many instances of road rage. But perhaps their most important feature is the ability to contact emergency services in real-time.

The possibilities of Digital (smart) number plates

These digital plates will be matched to a driver’s user account or profile. This will make it easier for users to tackle certain issues much easily including paying for parking fees, renewal of vehicle registration and even payment of fines all online. This digitization will not only make the whole process of vehicle registration much easier, but also make the average driver’s life much easier.

Yet, in many ways, digitization of number plates will significantly reduce the instances of number plate theft. For example, in the proposed Dubai version of digitized number plates, a stolen car number plate might have a visual alert on it indicating that it has been stolen. This alert would go up as soon as the plate’s owner indicates on their profile that their number plate has been stolen. This will not only make it easier to catch number plate thieves, but will also deter would-be number plate thieves.

As you might imagine, any such plan will cost any government a pretty penny to set up and it is natural that this cost would affect the number plates themselves and the cost of registering your vehicle. Dubai has not provided details on the total cost of the project, but the benefits in many ways outweigh any costs involved. In the long run the extra we may have to pay to get smart number plates may well be worth it if it means less bureaucracy in vehicle registrations.

6 Surprising Facts about Custom Number Plates

Personalized number plates add character to a car. But there is so much about them that is so intriguing; we can’t turn to look when a particularly creative one goes by. But there is so much more to personalized number plates that most people are unaware of. Here are just 6 of the most surprising facts about personalized number plates;

  1. “VIP 1” was made Pope John Paul II

VIP 1 is one of the most desirable personalized number plates in the world. What most people don’t know is that it was first made for Pope John Paul II when he visited Ireland and was displayed on the Pope Mobile throughout his visit. In 2006, Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich purchased the prestigious plate for a whopping £285,000.

  1. “1” Is the Most Expensive

It is the most expensive number plate in the world. Its owner purchased the number “1” plate at an auction in Abu Dhabi for £7.25m. The owner of this plate is Saeed Abdul Ghaffer Khouri and is said to have purchased it because number 1 “is the best number to have on car.” This purchase topped the previous record held by the Number “5” for £5m. At the same auction, Mr. Khouri paid a further £800,000 for the number “55” plate.

  1. The First Celebrity Number Plate

Harry Tate was a successful, yet not very known musician who will go down in history as the first celebrity to own a personalized number plate. The number plate “T 8” that he purchased now belongs to Johnny Tate, one of the owners of the Tate and Lyle Sugar Company.

  1. Robbie Williams’s Apology

After learning that his fans were not happy with his purchase of a rather expensive Ferrari, Robbie Williams decided to apologize in the most appropriate way; by purchasing the personalized number plate “S8 RRY.”

  1. DVLA Bans Some Combinations

The DVLA reportedly convenes twice a year ahead of new number plate releases to remove any combinations that may be deemed offensive, homophobic, politically or religiously insensitive. There are some that tend to pass inspection though which is why you may see some hair raising personalized number plates.

  1. Personalized Number Plates Make the Best Investments

Personalized number plates are not just to be displayed on cars. They can also make the ideal investment option. For example, in 1989, the personalized number plate “A 1” was worth £160,000. That same number plate today is worth more than £300,000. As matter of fact, personalized number plates have only increased in value over the years and don’t seem to be affected by any financial downturn. More and more people are recognizing the potential value of these plates which is increasing demand and making this one of the biggest markets in the world.

5 Facts about Personalized Number Plates

Private number plates are fascinating in so many ways. You can be lucky enough to find a combination that describes exactly what you want. What we all know if that they tend to be expensive and very rare. But what most understand is that they are not necessarily reserved for the rich and famous. Anyone can purchase a personalized number plate. In fact, you don’t even have to own car to purchase a private plate; some people will purchase them as investment vehicles. The following are some of the lesser known facts about personalized number plates;

  1. The Most Expensive Number Plate in the World

The most expensive number plate ever sold is the number plate “1.” The plate cost its owner £7.5 million. This is a lot especially when you consider that the most expensive number plate in the UK cost £518,000. This number plate is owned by Abdul Ghaffer Khouri, a member of a very wealthy Abu Dhabi family. He is noted as saying that the reason he paid so much money for the number plate was because it is the “best number” to have on a car.

Khouri purchased the number plate at an auction in Abu Dhabi in 2008, beating the record held by the £5 million plate owned by Talal Ali Mohammad Khouri who had bought the number “5” plate the previous year.


  1. £8 Billion Worth of Personalized Number Plates Have Been Sold Since 1989

The sale of personalized number plates remained unaffected even by the global recession experienced in 2008. Sales are still growing as the demand for these treasured items continues to expand. The DVLA has reportedly generated £1.8 Billion in revenue from personalized number plates alone since 1989.

  1. VIP 1 Belonged to the Pope

It is probably the most popular number plate. But did you know that the plate VIP 1 was originally made for Pope John Paul II. It adorned his vehicle on his official visit to Ireland. But the current pope doesn’t own this prestigious plate. It was purchased by Chelsea owner and Russian Billionaire Roam Abramovic in 2006. He paid £285,000 for the plate.

  1. The First Celebrity to Own a Private Plate

The first celebrity to purchase a personalized number plate was Harry Tate. You may not know him but he was a successful British music hall artist. The plate number he purchased was a play on his name “T 8.” Today, the plat has found an appropriate new home in the possession of the well-known owner of the Tate and Lyle sugar company, Johnny Tate.

  1. You Don’t Need to Own Car to Have a Personalized Number Plate

Most people don’t know this, but it is not a legal requirement that you must have a car to own a personalized number plate. All you have to do to keep your number plate is renew the certificate of entitlement on the number plate to maintain ownership. As such you could purchase a personalized number plate for any reason including just to display at your home or even as an investment.


What To Do With Your Car When You’re Not Driving It

What to Do With Your Car When You’re Not Driving It

 Car Driving

Have a vehicle you’re not driving? Perhaps it’s a car that requires repairs, a classic car mostly for display, one that’s on blocks rather than a wheels, a car you were using before your licence was suspended due to a medical condition such as epilepsy or a stroke, or a car you intend to pass down to your teenager after he passes his driving test.


Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) regulations, introduced in June 2011, require that even if the vehicle is undriveable and stored in a private garage, you either need to insure it, or legally declare it off road, with a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN). You also might want to insure the vehicle anyway, as being off road and laid up isn’t a protection against damage and theft. In that case, insurers offer specialised laid up cover for vehicles that aren’t being driven.


If your vehicle isn’t insured and you haven’t procured a SORN from it, in almost all cases you’re in violation of the law. If your car does not appear on the Motor Insurance Database (MID), a record of all insured vehicles in the UK that can be accessed by any police office, you’ll receive an Insurance Advisory Letter, informing you you either need to tax and insure your vehicle or obtain a SORN for it. Failing to do so can lead to you facing a fixed penalty of £100, a court prosecution with a maximum fine of £1,000, and/or having your vehicle clamped, impounded, or destroyed.


Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN)

You must insure and pay tax on each vehicle you own, unless you obtain a statutory off road notice (SORN) for it and keep it off all public roads. (A small exception: some older vehicles have been grandfathered into compliance. If your vehicle has been kept off public roads since before 1 February 1998, you won’t need a SORN to keep it uninsured and untaxed).


You can make a SORN declaration online, via phone or by posting an application form to the DVLA. The DVLA will confirm the SORN status of your vehicle within four weeks of receiving your application.


When your application is approved, you’ll receive an automatic refund for any full months that remain on your vehicle tax. These refunds will be sent by cheque to the name and address in the vehicle’s log book, within four to six weeks of your car being declared off road.


A car that has been declared off road must be kept on private land, such as in a garage or your driveway, and cannot be driven again until it’s been insured and taxed.


SORN doesn’t transfer between owners of vehicles, so you’ll need to obtain a SORN for any vehicle you purchase, even if the previous owner had already declared it off road.


You won’t be eligible for SORN if you’re keeping your vehicle on a public road, for instance, parking it in front of your house. In those cases, you’ll need cover, whether you’re actually putting keys in the ignition of not. Read on for more information about cheap car insurance for unused vehicles.


Laid Up Cover

If you’re parking your unused vehicle on a road or in another public place, you’ll need at least third-party cover for it. And even if your car is being safely stored in a garage or on private land and you’ve obtained a SORN to exempt it from tax, if you want to drive it again someday or if it’s worth anything, you should consider insuring it. Theft, fire, and damage can still strike an idled vehicle.


To minimise costs, consider laid up cover for unused vehicles. Laid up cover will pay for the repair and replacement of an unused vehicle if it’s lost or damaged due to theft, fire, flood, and other accidents. It’s not a legal requirement, but it’s a sensible precaution—especially if the unused vehicle is a classic car.


Keeping Unused Vehicles in Good Condition

In addition to keeping your unused vehicle in compliance with the law, you’ll need to perform regular checks on it to ensure it’s still in good condition, and not simply rusting away in your garage. If you’re leaving your car for more than a month, disconnect the car’s battery to prevent it going flat. If you have access to power, for instance in your garage, consider using a smart charger, which charges the battery as needed and eliminates the need for you to disconnect it. You should also regularly check the vehicle’s tyre pressure, check the anti-freeze concentration, lubricate locks, and occasionally clean the outside of the vehicle.

The Fastest Cars in The World 2018

Need For Speed: What Are The Fastest Cars in The World in 2018?

We’ve put together a fancy little info graphic outlining the fastest cars in the world in 2018. From the Bugatti to The Pagani – Who Rules the roads for top speed?

If you’d like to use our infographic, no problem! We’ve put together some embed code at the bottom of this post 🙂

Worlds fastest cars 2018 info graphic

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Fun Facts About Number Plates

Fun facts about number plates you may not know

The history of number plates is a fascinating one, and there are all sorts of interesting and odd facts about them. Read on to enjoy a host of fun facts about number plates.

The plate ‘T8’ was one of the very first celebrity plates and was owned by the music hall artist Harry Tate. It was apparently later acquired by Johnny Tate of the sugar producers Tate & Lyle.

Robbie Williams once apologised for splashing so much cash on a new Ferrari by adding an S8 RRY plate to the vehicle.

Cherie Blair apparently bought an LEO 10 plate for her son Leo.

Back in 1989, the plate 1 A was bought for £160,000.

It wasn’t legal to transfer motorbike and moped plates to cars until late 2001.

When J registrations were launched back in 1991, the number J1 HAD was immediately banned.

Princess Ann once used a 1 ANN plate on her car before being forced to remove it for security purposes.

France was the first country to introduce registration plates in 1893.

Fans of The Phil Silvers Show bought the plate B1 LKO at auction.

When New York became the first state to make licence plates compulsory, the plates themselves were made by the owners of the vehicles. These plates only required the initials of the owner.

The first licence plates were manufactured from porcelain or ceramic materials. Unfortunately, these plates were easily broken, so redesigns were necessary.

A man in California bought bespoke plates with the message ‘NO PLATE’ in 1979. He went on to receive more than 2,500 notices of citations when he was targeted by the authorities over various other cars which had been described as having ‘no plate’.

Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck is the proud owner of the plate COM 1C. Late magician Paul Daniels once owned the plate MAG 1C.

The Queen Mother used to own the plate NLT 2, with her husband Prince Philip once owning OXR 1.

The first state-issued plates were introduced in Massachusetts in 1903. The first state-issued plate simply read ‘1’ and was owned by a man called Frederick Tudor. Massachusetts issued 3,241 tags between September and December 1903.

The first state to issue personalised plates was Pennsylvania in 1931.

In 1928, an image of a potato was the first graphic to be added to a registration plate, in the state of Idaho.

There are no licence plates on vehicles owned by the US Postal Service.

In nineteen US states, only a rear plate is required.

The DVLA examine the list of registrations up for release twice a year to weed out any offensive messages, though some outrageous plates still slip through the net from time-to-time.

VIP 1 was bought by Roman Abramovich for £285,000 in 2006 and was originally created to mark Pope Jean Paul II’s visit to Ireland.

The plate simply reading ‘1’ was sold for £7.25 million to Adu Dhabi’s Saeed Abdul Gaffer Khouri.

Personalised number plates have a great track record when it comes to rising in value. The plate 1 A we mentioned early would apparently raise over £300,000 in today’s climate, almost three decades after it was originally sold.

At Show Plates Direct, we’re waiting to hear from you right now if you are interested in purchasing your very own bespoke show plates and registration plates. Our plates are produced to the highest standard and created to stand the test of time. We offer a variety of delivery options and are renowned for our swift delivery times. It’s easy to make your way around our website and order your personalised plates, and you’re welcome to drop us a line at any point if you do have any queries about our products and services.

More and more drivers are heading straight to Show Plates Direct when they require plates of the highest quality. Our customer network spans not only the whole of the UK but Europe and even further afield too, with many buyers ordering their plates from the US and Canada. To find out more about our bespoke show plates or to speak to us about any other issue, just send an e-mail to sales@www.showplatesdirect.com.

The Worlds Most Expensive Number Plates

Take a look at some of the world’s most expensive number plates

People purchase private number plates for all sorts of reasons. Many people add personalised number plates to their vehicles to express their personalities or celebrate their wealth, whilst others see them as an investment that they can make a sizeable profit on later. Prices for personalised number plates can vary for all sorts of reasons and range from affordable to eye-wateringly expensive. Let’s explore some of the most expensive number plates in the world right now.


  1. 25 O – £518.000


The ‘25 O’ plate was bought by John Collins in 2014. The Ferrari dealer has reportedly added it to his Ferrari 250SWB. The car itself was formerly owned by Eric Clapton and is said to be worth approximately £10 million.


  1. X1 £502,000


This plate was bought in 2012 by a private buyer and apparently now resides on a 2008 Mercedes.


  1. G 1 – £500,000


The G 1 plate was the UK’s most expensive at one point and was acquired for half a million pounds back in 2011. It is now attached to a 2015 Aston Marin according to reports.


  1. F1 – £440,000


This number plate was purchased by entrepreneur Afzal Kahn in 2008 and is over a century old. Although this was a record-breaker, Kahn has actually turned down an offer of £6 million to relinquish the plate, saying he has no intention of selling it. The plate currently sits on his Bugatti Veyron.


  1. S1 – £397,500


This plate was the first to ever be issued in Scotland and is the UK’s second-most expensive ever sold. The final price vastly exceeded estimates of up to £250,000 made before the auction, with the identity of the buyer remaining unknown.


  1. 1D – £352, 411


This plate was bought by the businessman Nabil Bishara in 2009 and was a record-breaker at the time. It was then added to Bishara’s wife’s Bentley. It smashed the previous record of £254,000, the figure the ‘51ngh’ changed hands for. The plate has nothing to do with now-defunct boy band One Direction, having been issued a year before they formed.


  1. 1 S – £340,000


This plate was purchased in 2010 and is now found on a Rolls-Royce Phantom. It has apparently doubled in value since it changed hands.



  1. M1 – £331,500


This plate once sat on a 1900 Mercedes before it was sold at Bonhams in 2006 by Mark Coomb, who purchased it for his young son, with proceeds being donated to the Tatton Park Charitable Trust.


  1. GB 1 – £325,000


This patriotic plate has apparently risen in value since the UK’s decision to exit the European Union and was sold in 2009 to a private value. Experts say it could now fetch up to £500,000.


  1. D 1 – £300,096


This plate sold at auction in autumn 2015 and is now fitted to a Rolls-Royce Ghost.


  1. VIP 1 – £285,000


Now owned by Chelsea owner and tycoon Roman Abromavich, this plate now has a home on the billionaire’s Bugatti Veyron. The plate has been owned by many VIP figures in the past and was originally produced to mark Pope John Paul II’s visit to Island.


  1. 51 NGH – £254,000


As previously discussed above, this plate, with a registration that closely resembles the popular Sik surname ‘Singh’, changed hands in 2006.


  1. 1 RH – £247,000


This place sold for 30 times its estimated cost to Robert Harverson in 2006.


  1. K1 NGS – £231,000


Featuring a registration with a striking similarity to the word ‘kings’, this number plate was purchased in the UK way back in 1993, with the lucky winner apparently being an Arab Sultan.


  1. 1 0 – £170,000


This simple but effective private registration plate swapped owners in 2009.


Thankfully, you don’t need to hand over a six-figure sum to purchase your own personalised number plates when you acquire them from Show Plates Direct. We are one of the UK’s most trusted show plates and number plates manufacturers and specialise in creating plates that stand the test of time. All plates are made from materials of the highest quality, and there are many customisation and delivery options to choose from. To find out more, simply take a look around our website or get in touch today.

The UK’s Funniest Number Plates

Take a look at the UK’s funniest number plates

People purchase private number plates for all sorts of reasons, with some opting for numbers that closely resemble their names or that represent something very special to them. However, some people have used number plates to make witty, entertaining and often cheeky statements whilst out on the road. Let’s take a look at some of the UK’s most amusing number plates right now.

Sex and relationships

Many vehicle owners have sourced registration plates which helped them tell the world all about their love lives. One driver who had presumably been through a break-up chose to mark their new relationship status by purchasing a reg plate that read ‘H8 HER’, whilst another motorist who may have faced challenges in the bedroom was seen with a plate with the number ‘V14GRA’. Another road user was snapped with a plate that featured the suspicious message ‘WHO5 SHE’, with another cheeky plate enthusiast showing off a plate reading ‘K1 NKY’.

Weather, food and drink

Over the years, there have been many weather-related reg plates seen on the roads of Britain, with one famous plate adorning the number ‘S0KIN’. Food and drink-related plates are also a common sight. One driver, possibly a British Bake Off fan, was pictured with a ‘MOI5SST’ plate, whilst a food delivery lorry boasted a plate announcing ‘UK 54LAD’. One fan of hot drinks has been seen showcasing a ‘T333AGS’ plate, whilst another motorist, perhaps a lover of pasties added a ‘GRI3 GGS’ number plate to their vehicle.

Jobs and finance

Some drivers use registration plates to describe what they do for a living, with one cleaning van having a plate with the number ‘JANI7OR’. ‘MR 5ANTA’ has also been spotted on UK roads, as have many plates linked to the worlds of film and TV, such as the perhaps beer ad-related ‘H005 DAT’. One perhaps ironic plate featured the number ‘SKII NT’, although buying your own private number plate doesn’t always have to cost the earth. Some of the other most talked-about funny number plates include the Star Wars-related ‘OBI ONES’, the friendly ‘HI HUN’ and ‘4 MPG’, seen on a gas-guzzling sports car. We’ve also seen the cute, pet-inspired ‘MEI0 CAT’ making its way through traffic.

Outrageous plates

Around the UK and across the world, people have parted with their cash to show off number plates featuring numbers such as the worrying ‘P54 CHO’, the outrageous ‘UR UGLY’ and the very cheeky ‘TE51 CLE’, ‘G5 POT’ and ‘BOII LUX’. The internet is awash with examples of x-rated number plates from around the planet, though it remains to be seen how many of these were genuinely permitted on their country’s roads and which ones were the products of digital manipulation.

Funny number plates from Show Plates Direct

At Show Plates Direct, we specialise in providing our customers with all kinds of number and show plates, including road legal ones and plates created to be shown off at trade shows, in bedrooms and various other environments. We are the UK’s leading show plates and number plates maker and produce registration plates and show plates that are built to stand the test of time. We are able to deliver your plates directly to you and offer a host of delivery options to suit you and your schedule.

The number plate maker

You can use our number plate maker today to order your own funny replacement plates. It only takes a few moments to use the online plate maker, and there are many customisations to choose from. We can help you whether you’re buying number plates to use on the road or show plates to display elsewhere. Same day dispatch is available, and there are all sorts of colour, badge, border, slogan and font options available to you. We will start making your new reg plate as soon as you have added the plate to your basket and confirmed your order. What’s more is that we are always on hand to assist you if you do have any queries about ordering your plates or if you have a special number in mind and want to know whether it is road legal. Find out more by contacting us today.

Car check-up – a step by step guide to checking your car’s health

When you own a car, you need to know a few basics: how to change the oil; how to replace the wipers; what all those dashboard lights mean. But that’s not enough. Every responsible car owner knows the importance of maintaining your car’s good health by giving it a quick once-over every couple of months. Continue reading “Car check-up – a step by step guide to checking your car’s health”