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Illegible License Plate Replacement

Act 133 of 2008 eliminated the requirement for PennDOT to replace license plates every 10 years. This measure will save the commonwealth approximately $59 million over the next three years. Prior to the law going into effect, PennDOT was required to replace license plates every 10 years. The last time license plates were replaced was in 1999.

The new law, however, does require PennDOT to replace illegible license plates, free of charge, but only when a license plate has been deemed illegible by a certified inspection mechanic at the time of inspection or by law enforcement. Effective Jan. 26, 2009, when a vehicle is inspected, the inspection mechanic will determine if the license plate is legible from a reasonable distance; if not, the inspection mechanic will complete a postcard identifying the vehicle, sign it and present it to the owner to submit to PennDOT. Once received, PennDOT will replace the illegible license plate with a new, standard-issue license plate, registration card and sticker, free of charge. If a vehicle owner is not due for inspection and believes their license plate is illegible, they may visit any official inspection station for verification the plate is illegible, or have a law enforcement officer verify the license plate is illegible on Form MV-46, "Application for Replacement of Illegible Registration Plate,” and return the form to PennDOT. For more information, please reference the License Plate Re-Issuance Fact Sheet.