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Unlucky 13

Up to one in three drivers are frightened of buying a car with the ‘unlucky 13’ private registration plate which is due to begin appearing on new cars from next March, the AA reveals today.

The AA survey found that a strongly superstitious one person in 10 believes that buying a new car with an ‘unlucky’ 13 next March is best avoided.

But two thirds wouldn’t shy away from having cherished number plates like MY13 HEX and SP13 OOK - or even BA13LUCK.

Most nervous about driving around on a 13 private number plate are likely to be older drivers (up to 11 per cent) and blue collar workers.

The biggest fear over the ‘13’ plate comes with trying to sell on the car. One in 25 of the 20,029 survey respondents firmly believes that this is where the 13 number plate jinx is most likely to strike.

That rises to a quarter who ‘somewhat’ believe their car would be difficult to sell on.

The concern rises to 33 per cent among AA members aged 65 or more, although only 20 per cent of younger drivers, aged 18-24, see it as a problem.

AA members in the West Midlands have the greatest doubt (32 per cent) although, this time, it is the better-off car owners who most (29 per cent) think a 13 personalised number plate will come back to haunt them when it comes to getting rid of the car.

Earlier this year the DVLA considered offering new car buyers of a ‘13’ plate the option of continued access to the forthcoming ‘62’ plate which comes into effect on September 1 under the six monthly plate-change system.

But then it dropped the idea.

Used car pricing experts CAP says the DVLA has confirmed to it that every new vehicle will automatically carry a ‘13’ registration plate. The only escape is to choose a private plate at a cost of at least £250.

CAP car-price analyst Martin Ward said: ‘It is easy to poke fun at common superstitions but many people really are nervous about them.’

Unlucky 13 may also impact car depreciation, said Mr Ward, though he concedes: ‘Without hard data on the number of truly superstitious people and insight into how seriously they really take the issue it remains a matter of conjecture.’

AA president Edmund King said: ‘Number plate superstition sounds silly but once they encounter a series of mishaps, new owners may begin to wonder. The flip side is that they drive more carefully and look after the car better.

‘Without the option to extend the previous 62 registration plate, the only alternatives are to pay out more for a personalised registration or bite the bullet and ride your luck.

'Of course, you could always carry a Saint Christopher statue, patron saint of travellers, and not call it Christine after Stephen King’s "possessed" automobile.’


Looks pretty cool: But many motorists are worried that the 13 plates will hasten the depreciation of a new car's value