Required 7-year plate replacement

When you renew your tabs you may also need to replace your plates.

We require new plates every 7 years because the reflective coating on the plates wears out. This coating is important because it helps you and law enforcement to identify vehicles in poor weather. Proper care of plates won’t prevent this coating from breaking down over time.

Make sure your address is up to date

Your new plates will be mailed to the address we have on file. You can:

How to get replacement plates

Every 7 years, we’ll automatically issue new plates when you renew your tabs. The replacement plate fee will depend on the type of plates you currently have, and will be included in the amount listed on your renewal notice. Once your plates are replaced, your old plate numbers are canceled immediately.

If you want to keep the same license plate number

  • If you have standard license plates (with the mountain background or a special design background), you can choose to keep your current plate number on your new plates when you renew your tabs. This costs $20 in addition to the plate replacement fee because your new plates must be custom-made.
  • If you have personalized plates, you’ll automatically keep the same plate number on your replacement plates unless you renew after the expiration date or request different personalized plates.

Remember to update your Good To Go! account

If you have a Good To Go! electronic tolling pass, be sure to update the license plate number and contact information on your account with the Department of Transportation:

How your plates will be delivered

  • If you renew your tabs at a vehicle licensing office, you may get your new plates before you leave. However, if you have personalized plates or want to keep your current number, the new plates must be custom-made and will be mailed to you in 4–6 weeks.
  • If you renew your tabs online or by mail, we’ll mail the new plates separately in 3–5 working days (tabs and plates renewed through busier offices or mailed out-of-state may take longer).
  • If you have personalized plates or want to keep the same plate number, the new plates must be custom-made and will be mailed in 4–6 weeks.

Mailbox requirements

If you have a mailbox smaller than 12½" x 6½", the post office may not be able to deliver your plates. If your plates can’t be delivered, they’ll be returned to the licensing office that mailed them.

What to do with your old plates

To learn how to dispose of your old license plates, see Dispose of old plates.

Related laws and rules

Washington Healthcare Finder
Access Washington – official state government website