The laws in your state may require the car to have a license plate at the rear and front for identification purposes. However, what should you do if you don't know how to install a plate in front? We have researched several methods of installation and laid out the necessary information.
There are several methods of installing your front license plate, some of which include:
- Mount license plate on an existing bracket
- Use an adhesive-mounted bracket
- Install a tow hook bracket
- Drill holes into your front bumper
Keep reading below to learn different ways of installing your front license plate. Check out the steps to cleaning the plate and the cost of replacing it when it is damaged.
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How Do You Install A Front License Plate On Your Car?
Some states require that you have a front license plate on your car, while some do not. If you live in a state where you are required to have a front license plate, you must install one.
If your car already has a front bracket, all you have to do is screw your license plate onto it. An adhesive-mounted bracket can work just as well. You can also fix your plate onto a bracket fitted into the tow hook anchor on your front bumper. Or, you may opt for the old-fashioned method of drilling holes into your bumper.
Let us discuss each of these methods in detail below:
Mount License Plate On An Existing Bracket
Unthread the screws at each corner of the bracket using a screwdriver. Remove them and place them out of the way safely. If the bracket already has a license, it should come off while unscrewing. If it has a frame, this will also come off.
Take your new license plate and align the holes with those on the bracket. If it had a frame, line up its holes with those on the bracket. Drive your screws through the holes in the license plate and bracket and the frame if available. Tighten the screws to secure the plate.
Use An Adhesive-Mounted Bracket
Check online, or visit an auto store that deals with Chrysler Pacifica cars and buy a no-drill mounting bracket. They will advise you on the best one for your model. It may come with hardware for clamping the bracket onto the bumper.
First, identify the center of your bumper and clean the area with alcohol wipes. Afterward, wipe it with a microfiber cloth or allow it to air dry.
Take your new bracket and place it on the bumper to confirm the exact spot it should be. It should match perfectly with the bumper of your car. If it doesn’t, you may have to take it back to your dealer and replace it with one that fits perfectly.
After ensuring your bracket fits, gently peel the protective film to reveal the adhesive. Place the bracket onto the bumper and press it firmly. Since, you only have one chance to fix the bracket, try and align it correctly and securely.
Next, align the holes on the license plate with that of the bracket. Include the frame if you are required to install it. Tighten the screws to secure the license plate in place.
Install A Tow Hook Bracket
After confirming your model has a tow hook anchor on the bumper, buy a tow hook license plate. Press and pop out the plastic panel covering the tow hook anchor.
Insert the threaded end of the tow hook stud into the anchor slot. Screw it tightly. Align the hole in the tow hook stud with the hole in the bracket plate. Drive the bolt through these holes to secure the bracket plate and the tow hook stud together. Tighten the bolt using a ratchet.
Next, screw the license plate to the bracket. If you have a frame, fix it onto the plate by tightening the screws to secure it and the plate together.
Drill Your Bumper
Check what material your bumper is made from. That way you can know what tools to use, and how challenging the job will be. For example, metal can be more challenging to drill than fiberglass.
Start by locating the center of your bumper using a measuring tape. You'll measure the area that can fit a rectangle bracket. Measure the length and height of the bracket, and mark the bumper using a felt-tip pen.
Place the bracket on the area you have marked, and locate where you will drill the holes. Next, drill 1/8-inch pilot holes on the bumper. Line the holes in the bracket to the holes you have drilled on the bumper.
Afterward, line the holes in the license plate with those on the bracket. Thread the screws through the bracket. Tighten the screws to firmly secure the bracket to the bumper. If you don’t have a bracket, you can secure the plate directly onto the bumper.
A chrome bumper is trickier to drill. For this one, you’ll need safety glasses, a countersink bit, a center punch, and a bit. Mark the points you are going to drill. Make indentations by hammering your center punch on the marked points you intend to drill.
Use a drill suitable for drilling metal. Wear your glasses, and then hold the drill firmly while applying pressure. Drill the holes into the chrome.
Afterward, use a countersink bit and rotate 3 or 4 times to smoothen the edges of the holes. Now you can mount the bracket onto the bumper, followed by the license plate and frame if available. Or, mount the plate directly onto the bumper if you don’t have a bracket.
How To Clean Your License Plate
Once your license plate is installed, it is paramount that you clean it often. Below are the basic steps to guide you:
Remove The Plate
Unscrew the plate. If you haven’t cleaned it for some time, the screws might be rusty and jam as you remove them. Spray the WD-40 and wipe away most of the rust, making it easier to unthread the screws.
Mix Soap And Water
Mix dishwashing detergent and water in a bucket. Dip your license plate in soapy water and use a cloth to clean it. You should be able to wash off as much dirt and grime as possible from the license plate.
Clean Hard To Reach Edges
You can use cotton buds to clean the hard-to-reach edges, not forgetting to clean around the numbers.
Spray WD-40 on your license plate to dissolve any rust that could have remained after cleaning it.
Screw Back Your License Plate
If the screws you removed were rusty, replace them with new ones. If your old ones are good enough to use again, screw back the license plate onto the bracket.
Cost Of Replacing Your License Plates
Even though you take good care of your license plate, it will go through wear and tear. If yours has faded, cracked or is rusty, and you need another one, it will cost $25 for a new plate. You’ll be required to pay an extra $3.75 for new registration. And, if you want your new license plate to maintain your old number, it will cost you $20.
It is important to destroy your old plates so that no one else uses them. If someone else uses them, you can be held responsible for any traffic ticket written for your old plate.
You can deface the plates or use a permanent ink marker to cross out the number. You could also use it as scrap.
Some states require that you must have a front license plate on your car. There are several methods of installing a license plate, but we have discussed four in this post.
Taking good care of your license plate is a good idea if you want it to last longer. However, despite maintaining your plate in good condition, it will deteriorate with time. You can simply replace the plate when it has outlived its usability.
You may read our previous posts on license plates by clicking on the links below: