License Plates

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Feb 16, 2006
Back in the old days of changing your plates out every year, it was prudent to use hardware that didn't rust together. But now, license plates here only get replaced about every twenty years, and you just put a renewal sticker in the corner each year. Well, I'm finally getting my first set of new plates after many years, and had a question for you guys.

I want to make it difficult to steal them. (I bought some nylon bolts and nuts for this purpose many years ago and never used them because of the shift to stickers. But now.... I was going to use them but then I thought, why make it easier for someone to steal my plates?) I asked this question on another forum and got suggestions like pop rivets and torx head screws. Does anyone have any thoughts on this strange topic? What do y'all use?
you can get security screws at some auto parts stores or screw distributors, they are more secure than the regular screws but if they want them they will get them
I had the opposite when I pulled plates on a 2000 VW Passat to sell it. The screws snapped and the new owner was none to happy. They sell you a $25K vehicle and the dealer puts in $0.02 screws that rust during the first week.

I personally would worry more about rusted frozen screws than stolen plates.

Many cities have cameras on police vehicles that look for license plates and compare to a list of stolen vehicles and plates without the driver (policeman) doing anything. They won't be using your stolen plates for too long.
First thing would be to discard or drill out the nylon self-tapping inserts, then use a long bolt that goes through to the trunk. Even if turned, the bolt wouldn't come out without getting at the nut on the other end.

If you get too fancy, remember the aluminum rips bare-handedly AROUND the screw heads. Handy if your car breaks down, is surely junked, and you need the plates for your next heap. Using four fasteners at all corners helps reduce the ability to get some flexing going to start the metal fatigue.
I've got the Bell security screws on my car. They are cone shaped with notches in each cone that allow them to be removed with a special wrench. Of course, if you have the wrench, it's no problem for you to take them out...
Here in Milwaukee they use metal shears to just cut out the corner where the registration sticker is located. I can't tell you how many cars I see driving around with a small rectangle cut out of the lower right corner. It's pathetic.

Originally Posted By: aaxb970
Never thought someone would steal my plates.
How much is registration for a year? Here its $75 and I've never heard of anyone getting a plate stolen.

I guess they use the stickers on uninsured and therefore unregistered cars?
Registration is different for each state, but here in Wisconsin it is $75 per year, same as you. I think they use the stolen stickers on cars where the registration has lapsed. I don't believe insurance is mandatory here for registration as I don't have to submit any proof of insurance to renew each year.

Oh, and before someone (rightly) corrects my last post - the corner is cut out of the plate, not the car
The stickers here are designed to fall apart if you try to remove them; it would be pretty hard to move a sticker to a different plate. So stealing the whole thing is what usually happens.
someone stole the rear plate on my dakota while at the fall Hershey swap meet last fall, cost be 15 bucks for new plates.
If someone wants to steal your plates and can't, it is not unlikely that he will give your car's trunk quickly an angry makeover with his screwdriver.
Originally Posted By: aaxb970
Never thought someone would steal my plates.

When I lived in upstate NY a rash of plate theft developed and I decided the security screws might save me some headache.
I'm going to get some round head screws with Torx heads, that should deter the average schmuck enough to keep me safe.
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