How to reattach a license plate

wacky plate  150x150 How to reattach a license plate

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Recently, I had the misfortune of finding that someone had lovingly placed my license plate and its mounting bracket on the hood of my truck—after apparently backing into it and ripping it off. Ah, the joys of living in the city. While it’s irritating to have to do, reattaching a license plate is easy and inexpensive. All you need is some new hardware (screws or bolts and maybe some nuts) and a screwdriver or wrench.

First thing is to look at how your plate is mounted. For instance, on a late model Ford Ranger, the front plate is mounted on a bracket, which is attached to the bumper with screws and nylon nuts. The rear plate is screwed directly into the bumper.

After you inspect how it’s mounted look for existing hardware—even if it’s broke because it will help you see what replacement parts you need. Take that knowledge to your local hardware or car parts store. Car parts stores are a better bet, they have inexpensive kits listed by vehicle make. I paid less than $3.00 for my kit (You may choose to bling your auto up by buying a shiny mounting bracket. These are pre-drilled to fit on most vehicles.).

Now that you’re armed with the appropriate equipment, it’s time to put your hands to use. Get the appropriate tools, usually a flat- or Phillips-head screwdriver but in some cases a wrench.

Using the new screws and nuts, attach the mounting bracket to the appropriate holes in your bumper. Depending on your vehicle, the plate may screw directly into the bumper or you may have to screw it into a nut. For the latter, hold the nut behind the hole in the bumper, place the bracket so that the mounting hole matches up with the hole in the bumper and screw it into place with the screwdriver. Repeat on the other side. Make sure both sides are snug, so the bracket won’t jostle loose.

Place the license plate in the bracket, making sure to slide it into any tabs that help hold it in place, and then screw the license plate into place with existing screws or screws you just bought. Make sure the license plate can’t rattle loose, and you’re done.

—Chris Meehan

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