So you’ve made the decision to change your standard number plate for a personalised one. You’ve found the perfect private number plate, and New Reg has sorted out the transfer paperwork with the DVLA and we’re producing your new plates. They will arrive in the post any day now, so you need to start thinking about how to physically take off the old number plates in preparation.
Before you try to remove your number plate
The first step in removing the old number plates is to determine exactly how they have been fixed on. There are several options. They will have been secured with screws or pop rivets, or they will have been stuck on with super strong double sided tape or sticky pads. The process of removal differs slightly for each option.
How to remove the number plate
Here is a brief guide to removing your number plates, depending on how they were fixed onto your vehicle:
How to remove screws from a number plate
If your number plates are fixed by means of screws, the first thing to do is to remove any plastic screw covers, if there are any. These are usually white, black or perhaps yellow plastic caps that hide the screws and give a neater finish.
Once any screw covers are out of the way, you can proceed with unscrewing. Once the screws are loose, you can pull the number plate off. It’s wise to take care when doing this, however.
Make sure you hold the plate firmly after the screws have been taken off, as this stops the plate falling and causing damage to your car. You also need to be aware that some screwed-on number plates will have had double sided tape or sticky pads applied, to improve adhesion. If this is the case, see below for a guide on how to remove these.
It is worth retaining your current number plates if you want to screw on your new number plates, as you can use these as a template to show exactly where the screw holes should go.
How to remove double sided tape from a car number plate
You can use this method to remove either sticky pads or tape. Some stuck-on number plates can easily and quickly be removed. Place your fingers under the edge of the number plate and pull firmly but evenly. This may be enough to unstick the plate.
If the plates are more firmly attached, the best technique is to use some dental floss, fishing line or string to aid removal. This method cuts through the stickiness while avoiding damage to your vehicle’s bodywork. Just wrap some around your fingers, and work it back and forth behind where the number plates are stuck, working your way along until the number plate can be removed.
If still more assistance is required, the application of heat can be helpful, so try using a hairdryer or heat gun to loosen the adhesive.
How to remove pop rivets from a number plate
Pop rivets are tubular-shaped metal fixings, and they are fitted into a pre-drilled hole. They might then have been locked into place using a rivet gun. Pop rivets are not used that often to fix car number plates, and removing them can pose more of a challenge than screws or adhesives.
Normally, the procedure would be to use the same sized drill bit as was used for fixing, but this will enlarge the existing hole, so use a slightly smaller drill bit if that’s possible. If the hole is enlarged, then a larger drill bit would be required when re-riveting – if you plan to do so. Alternatively, you could decide to stick the new plates in place instead.