Changes to the stickers on German number plates

Emissions test sticker, expires September 2010If you have ever taken a closer look at a German number plate, then you might have been curious as to what the coloured discs mean, that are stuck onto it.

I’ve answered this question previously in a podcast.  The discs are called “Plaketten”. They show the date of the next M.O.T. (TÜV) and, until recently, the date of the next emissions test.

However, that changed at the beginning of this year, and now both are combined into just one sticker.

The whole reason for two stickers was probably due to the introduction of the emissions test in the 1980s and its revision in the 1990s, which did not necessarily have to be at the same time as the M.O.T.  But since all new cars had the tests synchronised to be on the same date, the number of cars with differing stickers has dwindled.  This has led to the tests being officially combined.

A German numberplate with emissions test sticker still in place

Before: on this car the sticker is still in place

So at the front of the car, the hexagonal sticker has now gone.  Ersatzlos.

A German number plate after the emissions sticker has been removed

After: a car where the emissions sticker has been removed

The round one at the back remains.

An M.O.T. sticker on a German number plate

The sticker on the rear number plate, showing the new combined M.O.T. is valid until September 2012


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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