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A Simple Guide tothe “Car Prefix Commencing Year” in Singapore

Coinciding with the first vehicle registration plates in the UK in 1903, number plates in Singapore for private cars were initially assigned the single prefix “S” which stood for “Singapore” followed by a suffix ranging from “B” to “Y”, with “A” reserved for motorcycles. This eventually progressed to “E” with a single suffix and then to the “S” with two suffixes, the latter being what we use today.

For the purpose of transparency and information for the general public, the LTA releases listings detailing the car license plate registration number and the month and year that they are to used, called the Car Prefix Commencing Year.

Identifying the year of registration of a Singapore Car Plate Number

New license plate numbers are created following an alpha-numeric order which starts with “A” and followed through to “Z” with newer cars possessing the latter suffixes. This means that a car with a license plate with the suffix “B” is newer than one with an “A”.

The table below is an excerpt from the full Car Prefix Commencing Year table found on the LTA website. It details the month and year that car number plate prefix will be released in.

IDENTIFICATION MARKS FOR CARS REGISTERED IN SINGAPORE

Car Prefix Commencing Year (Month)
E – Series SB – Series SC – Series SD – Series
EA 1972 (Aug) SBA 1984 (Aug) SCA 1993 (Dec) SDA 1999 (Dec)
EB 1973 (Mar) SBB 1985 (Feb) SCB Reserved SDB 2000 (Mar)
EC 1973 (Oct) SBC 1986 (Jan) SCC Reserved SDC Reserved
ED 1974 (Mar) SBD 1987 (Mar) SCD Reserved SDD 2000 (May)
EE 1975 (Feb) SBE 1987 (Dec) SCE 1994 (Mar) SDE 2000 (Jul)
EF 1976 (Dec) SBF 1988 (Jun) SCF 1994 (Jun) SDF 2000 (Aug)
EG 1977 (Sep) SBG 1988 (Oct) SCG 1994 (Sep) SDG 2000 (Oct)
EH 1978 (Mar) SBH 1989 (Jan) SCH 1995 (Jan) SDH 2000 (Dec)
EJ 1978 (Oct) SBJ 1989 (May) SCJ 1995 (May) SDJ 2001 (Feb)
EK 1979 (Apr) SBK 1989 (Sep) SCK 1995 (Sep) SDK 2001 (Apr)
EL 1979 (Oct) SBL 1989 (Dec) SCL 1996 (Jan) SDL 2001 (May)
EM 1980 (Jan) SBM 1990 (Mar) SCM 1996 (May) SDM 2001 (Jul)
EN 1980 (May) SBN 1990 (Jun) SCN 1996 (Oct) SDN 2001 (Sep)
EP 1980 (Sep) SBP 1990 (Dec) SCP 1997 (Mar) SDP 2001 (Nov)
EQ 1981 (Jan) SBQ 1991 (Apr) SCQ 1997 (Aug) SDQ# 2001 (Dec)
ER 1981 (Jun) SBR 1991 (Aug) SCR 1997 (Dec) SDR 2002 (Feb)
ES 1981 (Nov) SBS Reserved SCS Reserved SDS 2002 (Apr)
ET 1982 (Apr) SBT 1991 (Dec) SCT Reserved SDT 2002 (Jun)
EU 1982 (Aug) SBU 1992 (Mar) SCU 1998 (May) SDU 2002 (Jul)
EV 1982 (Dec) SBV 1992 (Aug) SCV 1998 (Aug) SDV 2002 (Sep)
EW 1983 (Mar) SBW 1992 (Dec) SCW 1998 (Dec) SDW 2002 (Nov)
EX 1983 (Jul) SBX 1993 (Mar) SCX 1999 (Apr) SDX 2003 (Jan)
EY 1983 (Oct) SBY 1993 (Jun) SCY 1999 (Jul) SDY 2003 (Mar)
EZ 1984 (Feb) SBZ 1993 (Sep) SCZ 1999 (Oct) SDZ 2003 (Apr)

# From SDQ series onwards, Prefix Commencing Year (Month) refers to the time when the
series was first available for bidding.

IDENTIFICATION MARKS FOR CARS REGISTERED IN SINGAPORE

Car Prefix Commencing Year (Month)
SF – Series SG – Series SJ – Series SK – Series
SFA 2003 (May) SGA 2005 (Sep) SJA 2007 (Oct) SKA 2010 (Oct)
SFB 2003 (Jul) SGB 2005 (Oct) SJB 2007 (Nov) SKB 2011 (Jan)
SFC 2003 (Aug) SGC 2005 (Dec) SJC 2007 (Dec) SKC 2011 (Apr)
SFD 2003 (Oct) SGD 2005 (Dec) SJD 2008 (Jan) SKD 2011 (Jul)
SFE 2003 (Nov) SGE 2006 (Jan) SJE 2008 (Feb) SKE 2011 (Oct)
SFF 2003 (Dec) SGF 2006 (Feb) SJF 2008 (Mar) SKF 2012 (Feb)
SFG 2004 (Jan) SGG 2006 (Mar) SJG 2008 (May) SKG 2012 (May)
SFH 2004 (Feb) SGH 2006 (Apr) SJH 2008 (Jun) SKH 2012 (Aug)
SFJ 2004 (Apr) SGJ 2006 (May) SJJ 2008 (Jul) SKJ 2012 (Nov)
SFK 2004 (May) SGK 2006 (Jun) SJK 2008 (Aug) SKK 2013 (Feb)
SFL 2004 (Jun) SGL 2006 (Jul) SJL 2008 (Sep) SKL 2013 (Jun)
SFM 2004 (Jul) SGM 2006 (Aug) SJM 2008 (Oct) SKM 2013 (Sep)
SFN 2004 (Sep) SGN 2006 (Sep) SJN 2008 (Nov) SKN 2014 (Jan)
SFP 2004 (Oct) SGP 2006 (Oct) SJP 2009 (Jan) SKP 2014 (May)
SFQ 2004 (Nov) SGQ 2006 (Nov) SJQ 2009 (Feb) SKQ 2014 (Aug)
SFR 2004 (Dec) SGR 2006 (Dec) SJR 2009 (Mar) SKR 2014 (Oct)
SFS 2005 (Jan) SGS 2007 (Jan) SJS 2009 (May) SKS 2015 (Jan)
SFT 2005 (Mar) SGT 2007 (Feb) SJT 2009 (Jun) SKT 2015 (Mar)
SFU 2005 (Mar) SGU 2007 (Mar) SJU 2009 (Aug) SKU 2015 (May)
SFV 2005 (Apr) SGV 2007 (Apr) SJV 2009 (Oct) SKV 2015 (Jul)
SFW 2005 (May) SGW 2007 (May) SJW 2009 (Dec) SKW 2015 (Sep)
SFX 2005 (Jul) SGX 2007 (Jun) SJX 2010 (Jan) SKX 2015 (Oct)
SFY 2005 (Jul) SGY 2007 (Jul) SJY 2010 (Mar) -
SFZ 2005 (Sep) SGZ 2007 (Sep) SJZ 2010 (Jun) SKZ 2015 (Nov)

# From SDQ series onwards, Prefix Commencing Year (Month) refers to the time when the
series was first available for bidding.

IDENTIFICATION MARKS FOR CARS REGISTERED IN SINGAPORE

Car Prefix Commencing Year (Month)
SL – Series SM – Series
SLA 2015 (Dec) SMA 2018 (Apr)
SLB 2016 (Feb)
SLC 2016 (Mar)
SLD 2016 (Apr)
SLE 2016 (May)
SLF 2016 (Jul)
SLG 2016 (Aug)
SLH 2016 (Sep)
EJ 1978 (Oct)
SLJ 2016 (Oct)
SLK 2016 (Nov)
SLL 2017 (Jan)
SLM 2017 (Feb)
SLN 2017 (Mar)
SLP 2017 (Apr)
SLQ 2017 (May)
SLR 2017 (Jun)
SLS 2017 (Jul)
SLT 2017 (Aug)
SLU 2017 (Oct)
SLV 2017 (Nov)
SLW 2017 (Dec)
SLX 2018 (Jan)
SLZ 2018 (Feb)

# From SDQ series onwards, Prefix Commencing Year (Month) refers to the time when the
series was first available for bidding.

As described earlier, new number plates in Singapore are released according to alphabetical and chronological order, which starts from the left row and descends from A-Z, oldest to newest. When the right-most suffix reaches “Z“, the second suffix in the license plate then moves up the alphabetical order (e.g. SFZ to SGA), which is represented by the shift in series from left column to right.

Implications of Understanding the Car Prefix Commencing Year

Information is power, and knowing the car prefix commencing yeargives important details as to when a car was/will be registered can help you plan certain actions a better, including:

  • • Measuring the age of a vehicle to determine its overall condition and value. The older the car, the lower its resale value regardless of its mileage.
  • • Plan to purchase a second-hand vehicle when they enter the market as new cars are registered and old ones are put up for sale.
  • • To get an idea of when a number plate with preferred prefix will be released for bidding purposes. This can also affect the value of car number plates for sale.