Vanity is defined as the excessive pride in one’s appearance, manner, and achievements. When it comes to cars, vanity can be seen on the outside as well as the inside. Vain interior detailing may include customized car seat covers loaded with the owner’s name or personalized floor mats peppered with witty one-liners.
Not only can a person purchase specifically engineered seat covers, a car owner can even assert himself or herself into the ultimate self-appreciation via his or her vehicle’s vanity plates. These specialized car plates bear anything from catchphrases to vulgar lines. In the United States, 3.83% or roughly 4% of the total numbered of registered vehicles are using vanity plates.
Basically a personal preference of how one would like their car plates to read, vanity plates are very much like personalized car seat covers. The only difference is that the owner has to renew them every two months or so, depending on state laws, or else they will lose the priority of the plate.
Applying for a vanity plate is relatively easy, pretty much like lifting your floor mats off your car floor for that good old dusting. First you have to decide what you want to display – a certain hobby, organization, a cause, or just a means of self expression. Then you have to make a list of several alternatives in case somebody already took your first choice (no matter how original you think it may be). It’s like shopping for seat covers; you have to have a backup option just in case somebody already purchased the set you have been raving about.
If you like Shakespeare, you can honor him with a vanity plate 2BNT2B (to be or not to be). Or if you love Robert De Niro, your vanity plate may read something like RU2KN2ME (are you talking to me?). However, bear in mind that in picking displays for your vanity plates, you must confine your imagination and creativity to the number of characters and numbers allowed by the state.
The number of characters allowed in the plate varies from state to state, but usually they are shorter than the regular ones. Most states allow characters to reach seven letters at the maximum, no less than seven numbers, or a combination of four letters and three numbers.
Once you have your display and a list of other options, you can download a vanity plate application from the Internet (they are in Adobe PDF format) or you can secure a copy from the authorized agencies and fill them out. Usually the application form will ask for six preferred displays, along with the basic information such as personal details, background color for the plate (default is white), and the information of the vehicle (car maker, model, year, regular license number, etc).
First-time vanity plates applicants are charged with $22 every plate and the whole process may take four months. For renewed registrations, a fee of $21 is charged while the whole process may take in two months or less. Upon receiving your vanity plates, make sure you attached it to the rear end of the vehicle and always keep the original rear plate in the car.