How To Fit A Plate To A Car

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A cherished plate is a wonderful way to make your car feel more your own and turn even more heads. But after paying for a personalised number plate, you may be reticent to spend yet more money on getting it fitted to your car. Many may turn to a professional because they’re reluctant to fit the plate themselves. Your registration plate is legally important, after all, and you want to ensure that its fitted properly. There’s no need to worry, however, because this is a simple enough procedure that even DIY novices can pull off in a matter of minutes. Here’s how;


What you will need

All you need to perform this is;

  • An electric drill with a 4mm or 6mm bit.
  • A Phillips head screwdriver.



Step1: Removing the previous plate

Your first step is removing your original license plate. This is very simple. Just remove the plastic caps that cover the existing screws and remove them with your screwdriver. When these have been removed, the licence plate should simply come away. If, however, this doesn’t happen, the plate may be held on with an adhesive. In this instance, slowly pull the plate away from the vehicle using gradually incremental force. Take care not to crack or damage the license plate as you will need this in one piece to pass your MOT. 


Step 2: Ensuring proper placement

Now that your old plate is off, it’s important to ensure that your new plate is properly aligned before you attach it. This is very easy if your old plate came off in one piece. Simply fit it squarely over the top of your new one and mark the screw holes with ink. 

If, however, your original license plate was damaged upon removal, screw the fittings into the old holes and lign your registration plate up with them, using them as a guide to mark the holes for drilling. A useful tip is to cover the screw heads in ink or oil as this will mark the correct positions on the rear of the license plate. 


Step 3: Drilling the holes

Place your license plate on a block of wood and slowly drill the holes in the marked spots. Be sure to drill from the back to the front as this will prevent damage to the plate’s acrylic coating. Ensure that the plate is well supported and don’t apply too much pressure as this may lead to cracking. If your plate is either 3D Gel or 4D lettering, DO NOT drill near to the letters as they will detach from the plate.


Step 4: Attaching the plate to the vehicle

Now all that’s left is to align your new plate with the screw holes in your vehicle and attach it using the screws provided. Again, care must be taken not to use excessive force as this can damage or distort the plate and lead to potential MOT issues. Replace the screw caps and you’re done!


An alternative method

If the thought of all that drilling makes you nervous, you may prefer to attach the new plates using double sided adhesive tape. This is fine so long as you use a proper automotive tape that’s fit for purpose. The only caveat is that you may experience trouble getting the plates back off again. 

Clean the surface as best you can. The cleaner the surface, the better the chances of proper adhesion. Attach at least four strips of tape to the back of the number plate and peel back the exposed surface of the tape. Align the plate with the cleaned surface and hold it in place for 2-3 minutes. Take the car for a quick drive around the block to ensure that it stays in place. 

This method gets you a great result with almost no effort on your part.