Your Complete Guide to 4D Gel Number Plates in 2024?
4D Gel number plates are a type of custom vehicle registration plate that feature 3D raised characters with a glossy, gel-like finish. The key features of 4D gel plates include:
- The numbers and letters are laser cut from acrylic sheets, giving them a 4D raised effect off the number plate surface. This adds depth and makes them stand out.
- The raised acrylic characters are coated with a clear, high-gloss gel resin. This gives them a distinctive glossy, wet-look finish.
- They are attached to the number plate using a strong adhesive. The acrylic characters are precisely positioned on the plate using a jig to align them correctly.
- The surrounding number plate is made from durable and reflective acrylic. This provides a high-quality background for the raised gel characters.
- They allow vehicle owners to customise and personalise their car’s appearance.
- The 4D gel effect helps them stand out from standard number plates.
Are 4D Gel number plates legal in the UK?
Yes, 4D Gel number plates are legal for road use in the UK, provided they meet specific requirements set out in the British Standard for number plates (BS AU 145e):
- The plates must be made from a reflective material and display solid black characters on a white background (front plate) or yellow background (rear plate).
- The characters cannot be removable or reflective themselves.
- The plates cannot have any sort of background pattern.
- The characters must use the legally prescribed font and spacing.
- The supplier name and BS AU 145e code must be marked on the plate.
As long as 4D gel plates meet these requirements, they are considered legal number plates under DVLA rules. The key is ensuring the plates are made and installed correctly by a reputable supplier.
How are 4D Gel number plates made?
The manufacturing process for 4D Gel number plates involves several key steps:
- The acrylic letters and numbers are precision laser cut to the specified thickness, typically 3mm or 6mm. This laser cutting creates the 3D raised effect.
- The laser cut acrylic characters are polished by hand or machine to give them a smooth, high-gloss finish.
- The acrylic characters are then coated with layers of clear polyurethane gel resin to give the glossy finish. Multiple coats are applied to build up the depth.
- A reflective acrylic backing plate is prepared. This will form the background.
Alignment and mounting
- Using an alignment jig, the acrylic characters are carefully positioned and fixed to the backing plate using a strong, heat-activated adhesive.
- The finished plates are checked for quality and packaged ready for delivery.
What are the benefits of 4D Gel number plates?
Some of the key benefits that 4D Gel number plates offer over standard plates include:
- The 3D raised letters with high-gloss gel coating really make the number plate stand out visually and give a premium, customised look.
- The acrylic characters are more durable than standard plates. They resist fading and wear from weather conditions.
- The plates use a reflective backing to improve visibility and safety at night.
- The plates are very difficult to remove without damaging them due to the strong adhesive, so they deter thieves.
- Customers can choose various design options like style, size, logos etc to personalise the look.
- 4D plates enhance the look of a vehicle and add to its value.
What regulations apply to 4D gel number plates in the UK?
The main regulations governing 4D Gel number plates in the UK include:
- They must meet the specifications of British Standard BS AU 145e which sets legal requirements for number plate manufacturing and materials.
- The characters must use the standard font, size, spacing, and be in black on a white/yellow reflective background with no other colors, patterns or effects.
- Plates must be marked with the supplier name and BS AU 145e code.
- Characters cannot be removable or reflective. The gel coating itself should not be reflective.
- Plates must be securely attached and should not obscure or alter the registration number in any way.
- For motorbikes, plates must be a minimum size of 255mm x 165mm if placed at the rear and mounted horizontally.
- Any modifications to a vehicle’s registration number must be declared to the DVLA.
How should 4D gel number plates be installed?
4D Gel number plates should be installed properly to ensure they are secure, aligned correctly and remain legal. Here are some tips:
- Thoroughly clean the area where the plates will be attached to remove dirt, debris and old adhesive residue.
- Carefully position the new plates and use a jig or measuring tape to check alignment. They must be straight and centered.
- Use the adhesive pads provided or a screw fixing kit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Apply firm even pressure across the whole plate when fixing to create a strong bond and seal.
- Avoid drilling directly through the plates as this can crack the gel coating. Drill the bumper itself if using screws.
- Check regulations for your vehicle type – some may require plates to be screwed on.
- For bikes, take care when installing plates designed for cars, as the curvature of the bodywork varies.
How can you maintain 4D gel number plates?
To keep 4D Gel number plates looking good and preserve their legibility, owners should:
- Regularly wash the plates using a soft sponge, mild detergent and warm water to prevent buildup of dirt. Avoid abrasive scourers.
- Rinse thoroughly after washing to remove all soap residue which can become smeary.
- Avoid using high pressure washers directly on the plates – this can damage the gel coating.
- Use a silicone-based car polish or quick detailer and microfibre cloth to enhance the glossy finish.
- Check for any cracks, peeling or damage to the gel coating and replace plates if necessary.
- Remove any foreign objects like small stones lodged in the gel coating to avoid damage.
- Avoid using chemical cleaners or solvents like brake fluid, gasoline, or other harsh products on the plates.
Can you get custom 4D Gel number plates?
Yes, 4D Gel number plates can be fully customised. Some popular custom options include:
- Custom registration number
- You can get a personalised registration number like your initials or a favourite car model.
- Font style
- Choose from different fonts like 3D, 4D. To match your preference.
- Pick border shapes and colors for a unique frame effect.
- Northern Irish and Welsh flags can be added to plates. English and Scottish flags are also options.
- Get oversized plates or smaller plates for motorbikes.
- Matching plates
- Order identical front & rear plates or different designs for each end.
Can you get 4D Gel number plates for motorbikes?
yes, 4D gel number plates are available for motorbikes and must meet specific legal requirements:
- Motorbike plates must be a minimum size of 255mm x 165mm if placed at the rear.
- Only a rear plate is required by law on bikes registered after 2001. An optional front plate can be added.
- The plates should be horizontally aligned if positioned at the rear. Vertical alignment is permitted at the front.
- Bike plates should use two lines of text with the registration number split between the lines.
- The same rules apply in terms of permitted colors, materials, reflectivity and markings. No background patterns are allowed.
- Custom options like logos and borders should be fitted with caution so that they don’t make the plate harder to read.
- Care should be taken when installing 4D plates designed for cars, as the curvature of bodywork varies.
Are there any disadvantages to 4D gel number plates?
Potential disadvantages of 4D gel number plates include:
- They typically cost more than standard plates due to the materials and production methods used.
- Careful installation is required, especially on curved surfaces like motorbikes. Improper fitting can damage the plates or make them illegal.
- More care and maintenance is needed than standard plates to keep them looking good. Harsh cleaning chemicals can’t be used.
- Non-approved suppliers may produce non-compliant plates which are illegal. Customers must check regulations are met.
- Long term exposure to sun and weather conditions may cause fading and damage over time.
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