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Replacing or changing a number plate

Requirements for number plates

If you drive on Queensland roads, your vehicle must be fitted with official number plates. If your vehicle is issued with 2 plates, both must be attached to the vehicle.

It is your responsibility to make sure your number plates are kept in good condition. You can be fined for not replacing damaged or illegible number plates.

According to the law, the characters on a number plate must be visible from 20m away at any point within an arc of 45 degrees from the surface of the plate, above or to either side of the vehicle.

Normal (standard) number plates have a 10 year guarantee against faulty material and workmanship. This warranty period only applies when a vehicle is being used under normal conditions.  

A selection of number plates showing different types of wear and tear including greying of colour, crazing and peeling of the surface, damage and general wear and tear to the number plate.
Different types of wear and tear that can make number plates hard to read

When to replace number plates

Over time, excessive exposure to exhaust fumes, chemicals, stones, the sun, and general wear and tear can damage your plates and make them hard to read. You should check the condition of your plates regularly, particularly if you have older plates.

Police and transport inspectors regularly check the condition of number plates. Make sure your plates can be read. If they cannot be read and cleaning does not fix the problem, you will need to replace them.

If your plates have been damaged, destroyed or stolen, you are required by law to apply for replacement plates within 14 days.

How to replace number plates

To replace your plates, whether you are replacing normal (standard) number plates, personalised or customised plates you can visit a transport and motoring customer service centre or, if you live in a rural area, a QGAP office, Magistrates Court or local police station that provides vehicle registration services—please call to confirm before visiting.

You will need to:

When you hand your form in, you will need to hand over your old plates as well. If you cannot hand over your plates (because they were lost, stolen or destroyed), you will need to explain on the form what happened to them.

If you are getting replacement plates that are not customised or personalised, you will get them immediately. You will get a new number plate combination. You must attach number plates within 1 day of receiving them. We encourage you to attach the new plates to your vehicle before you drive away.

If you are applying for the same plate number (these are known as customised plates) or personalised plates, your new plates will be ordered and mailed to you. You need to keep the old plate on the rear of your vehicle until you receive your new plates. For a vehicle with 2 plates, keep the plate that is in the best condition on the rear of your vehicle. You must hand in the old plate when the new plates arrive.

Items blocking your number plate

If you have a tow bar on your vehicle that blocks the view of your rear number plate, remove it when you’re not using it. If your vehicle’s tray is in the way, move your number plate to where it can be seen easily.

A registered trailer is allowed to block the view of your vehicle’s number plates if the trailer’s plates are visible.

Accessory plates

If a bicycle rack or other accessory blocks the view of your number plate, you will need to order an accessory plate.

An accessory plate is attached to a bike rack for example, to make your registration number visible from the required distance.

How to order an accessory plate

Before you can order an accessory plate your plate number must be customised so that the accessory plate can be linked to your registration number.

You can order:

To order in person, you need to:

Customised number plates

You can customise number plates for a:

  • motor vehicle
  • motorcycle
  • large trailer
  • special interest vehicle—S series number plate
  • limousine—L series number plate

You should customise number plates if:

  • you want to keep the same number—if the plates need to be replaced
  • a slimline plate is required (customising a currently issued plate)
  • you need an accessory plate
  • you want to get a plate number that was issued in the past but is no longer in use (retro/previously issued plates).

Customised plate rules

Customised plates can:

  • only be attached to a vehicle registered in exactly the same name as the owner/s of the plate number
  • be kept when you transfer your vehicle—you will need to replace them with standard plates before transferring
  • be kept when you cancel your vehicle registration
  • be attached to another vehicle registered in the plate owner/s name/s
  • be upgraded to personalised plates (personalised plate rules apply)

Customised plates will become standard number plates if attached to a vehicle when transferred.

You can’t sell a customised plate as ownership is not transferrable.

Plate of Origin

Get a Plate of Origin, commemorating our record-breaking eighth State of Origin series win, if you are about to replace your number plates.

Moving an unregistered vehicle

If you are using an unregistered vehicle permit to move an unregistered vehicle on the road, you must remove the number plates.

Changing interstate number plates

If you move to Queensland from interstate, you will need to re-register your vehicle with Queensland number plates.

Last updated
6 November 2014

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