Tom Wolf, Governor Leslie S. Richards, Secretary, Department of Transportation

Illegible License Plate Replacement

Act 133 of 2008 eliminated the requirement for PennDOT to re-issue registration 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 registration plates every 10 years. The last time registration plates were replaced was in 1999.

The law now allows for PennDOT to reissue a registration plate upon request of a vehicle owner when an authorized representative of PennDOT or law enforcement determines that a registration plate is illegible. Effective Jan. 26, 2009, safety inspection mechanics are authorized representatives of PennDOT and may determine if the registration plate is legible. (NOTE: A registration plate is deemed illegible when one or more numbers or letters cannot be recognized from 50 feet or if the plate shows any blistering, peeling, discoloration or loss of reflectivity.) To apply for a free standard registration plate, the vehicle owner should visit any official Pennsylvania inspection station for verification that their plate is illegible and receive Form MV-46, "Authorization to Replace Registration Plate," from the station OR have a law enforcement official verify the need for a replacement plate on Form MV-44, "Application for Duplicate Registration Card, Replacement of Registration Plate, Renewal Sticker or Weight Class Sticker," obtained from PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website at The vehicle owner is then responsible for signing and returning either Form MV-46 or Form MV-44 to PennDOT in order to receive a replacement registration plate, free of charge.

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