How to Remove Screws from Licence Plate

Many of us are vigilant in keeping our cars’ interior and exterior shiny and spackling, but it is common to neglect our number plates. As a matter of fact, number plates are hardly ever cleaned and are deprived of specific care, which often results in the bad and fading condition of your number plate over time, overall creating a bead loom for your car. It also includes rusted old screws of your license place, which are more stubborn than your dog.

back of car with rusted license plate and damaged screws

Any automotive enthusiast knows that sometimes it’s apparently the smallest jobs that waste the most time. The situation is also known as the dangers of letting your frustration get the better of you — it’s these small jobs that can ultimately create major annoyances if not handled properly. And removing rusted nuts and bolts is one of them; it can quickly go from minor irritation to major disaster. Unfortunately, most of us find this out the hard way when they go for their license plate renewal. After years of being untouched and unprotected facing all the elements, the nuts and bolts holding them on can become completely rusted and unmovable. We have listed three ways to get them removed easily, so let’s dig in

Use a Screwdriver

To remove the rusted number plate screws, you should first try to use a screwdriver to take off the screws. Generally, they may come off by using a screwdriver with a little force to remove the bolts. It may seem sturdy, but it is the easiest way. You can also try a manual screwdriver and some muscle power to loosen up the old screws eventually.

If the rust has taken over completely, try using a Penetrating oil, it helps to dissolve rust and decreases the torque required to unscrew a bolt. Spread over the oil as close as possible to screw threads into the metal, and leave at least 15 minutes. After that, you will be able to take off the screws.

If you are looking for a bit more power we suggest getting a cordless screwdriver drill. We have a list of the Top 10 Cordless Screwdriver Drills which you can check out for more information.

Do It the Hard Way

So, you might have already tried applying a penetrating oil and still unable to take the screws off your old rusted license plate. Sometimes, all it needs is a vibration, which can easily be caused by hitting the screw with a hammer to help the lubricant reach where the screw is stuck. Give it few sharp hits to distribute the oil before attempting to loosen the screw.

The curved head of a screw makes it difficult to grip with any supplementary tool. If the screwdriver opening is stripped, use a file to cut two square edges on conflicting sides of the screw head. After that, you will be able to loosen the screw by using an adjustable wrench.

Here’s a video showing you how to remove stripped screws from your license plate:

The Final and the Hardest Way

The final method is to heat up the screw head, which causes it to expand, and that expansion will crack the rust. However, the Heat can also burn the flammable penetrating oil you’ve applied, melt inner plastic parts, and eliminate the steel’s temper, so it must always be used as a last resort.

Firstly, get rid of all possible traces of the rust penetrant oil and solvent. You can use a water-based grease-cutting household cleaner. Keep the fire extinguisher and keep it nearby and wear protective leather gloves to prevent burns. Heat the screw head by using the tip of the flame with the help of a lighter. Heat the screw head until steam or smoke appears (never cherry red). Instantly cool the screw head with a wet rag or stream of water. The screws will expand from heat and then contract by cooling, which will break the rust. If it doesn’t work; repeat several heat/quench cycles; the cooled screw will come off quickly with the help of a screwdriver. 

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