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      11-04-2013, 04:15 PM   #1
catcher22
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Can't get my license plates off my car! Rusted screws

I went to install new license plate frames this weekend, starting with the rear, and found the bottom 2 of the 4 screws RUSTED! What a bad look

I was able to get the top 2 screws off, bend the plate down a bit, and take the entire license plate bracket off of the car. Got back inside with my plates attached to the bracket, and tried to get the rusted screws off but nothing worked. In fact, I ended up stripping the bottom two screws. I was able to put the bracket back on the car with 2 new top screws, with no frame of course.

How do I fix this? Get a tap set? Dremmel and cut the screw off? The option I don't want to have to do is to get a new bracket for the car and get brand new plates from the DMV. Help pls
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      11-04-2013, 04:17 PM   #2
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PB Blast is the best stuff just put a red straw on it and clean up any overspray on paint

I would use a dremmel and put a cut in the screw and pull it out with a flat head sd

Last edited by _Sinister_; 11-04-2013 at 04:19 PM. Reason: adding in
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      11-04-2013, 05:38 PM   #3
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Liquid wrench. Spray, wait, done!
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      11-04-2013, 05:39 PM   #4
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Tries these two things before you dremmel.

First put the flat side of a rubber band parallel to the screw, and then use a screw driver over the rubber band to try and take it off. A little wd-40 may work (try to get it in any seam behind the screw head).

If the first idea fails, get a flat head, and a hammer lightly tap the head to make a dent into the screw, and then slowly try to reverse the screw out.
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      11-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #5
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Don't they also sell those counterpunch type screw removers? I remember having a similar issue awhile back (albeit a plastic screw) and it worked great!
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      11-04-2013, 05:58 PM   #6
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If the heads are stripped then you can always take a flat head screwdriver and hammer a groove in the head of the screw. Deeper the better.
Then youll have a nice (un stripped) groove to turn with a flat head screwdriver.

Either way, you let some liquid wrench soak in for a bit it should losen it right up
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      11-04-2013, 06:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NH335i
If the heads are stripped then you can always take a flat head screwdriver and hammer a groove in the head of the screw. Deeper the better.
Then youll have a nice (un stripped) groove to turn with a flat head screwdriver.
DO NOT DO THIS!! Especially on ur license plate in the rear. This works if u use a dremel to cut a flat head groove. But u don't want to do this with a hammer to ur trunk.
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      11-04-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacR6 View Post
DO NOT DO THIS!! Especially on ur license plate in the rear. This works if u use a dremel to cut a flat head groove. But u don't want to do this with a hammer to ur trunk.
DONT DO IT I Agree with Mac!!! Don't do it to the plastic bracket either it will crack it for sure.
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      11-04-2013, 06:36 PM   #9
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Can't you just drill them out?
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      11-04-2013, 11:02 PM   #10
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Funny, I had the same problem when I had to put on my registration sticker 'cause I have plate covers. I tried some WD-40, but that didn't work. Took out the old dremel and chopped those suckers right off.
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      11-04-2013, 11:41 PM   #11
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I had the same issue a few weeks ago. I tried to unscrew it myself and ended up messing the plastic thing that holds the license plate. Dealer said that I would need a new plastic piece and charged me $30. I just paid - I was done trying to figure out how to take the damn license plate out
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      11-05-2013, 12:27 PM   #12
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Happened to my old mans x5 and a buddies e90. I took pliers and got a grip on them and twisted them off. Took some time but worked. My dads x5 the bracket itself on one side was gone completely the hole went inside I ended up using 3m for the one side of the bracket and put on the plate afterwards. A year later still holds I know it won't fall down and if it does it will just hang sideways. Best tool is the needle nose pliers on these. I try to always put new screws every time I see some rust just because of it looks awful
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      11-15-2013, 12:33 PM   #13
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oh man thanks for all the awesome replies. i will try this weekend - im probably going to go the dremel route and buy a new backing plate. considering i dont have a dremel or a new backing plate, this will be a relatively expensive and time consuming mod

i haven't checked this post in a while because i was embarrassed about posting such a stupid issue. guess it's more universal than i thought and u guys made me feel better

my new screws are plastic so they will never rust again
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      11-16-2013, 02:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catcher22 View Post
oh man thanks for all the awesome replies. i will try this weekend - im probably going to go the dremel route and buy a new backing plate. considering i dont have a dremel or a new backing plate, this will be a relatively expensive and time consuming mod

i haven't checked this post in a while because i was embarrassed about posting such a stupid issue. guess it's more universal than i thought and u guys made me feel better

my new screws are plastic so they will never rust again
It is a very common issue. I had to purchase a new backing plate at the dealer and the parts guy knew exactly why I purchased it before telling him. He told me to put anti-seize on the screws because they become frozen and then the plastic part that hold the nuts in place on the back breaks and then the screw and nut spins and you can't remove them.
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      02-05-2015, 12:07 AM   #15
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So I also had a similar case...
I took off my license plate and 2 screws were rusted so I ended up taking off plate holder.
Now I have a hole where there used to be threads.
Anyone know what to do?
Do I use license plate fasteners for the new square hole?
Fasteners such as
http://www.amazon.com/License-Plate-...plate+fastener
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      02-05-2015, 01:56 AM   #16
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Buy a Vise-Grip needle nose pliers, clamp on the screw head and turn. When you go to install the plate use stainless steel hardware and you will never have this problem again.

-Kevin
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      02-05-2015, 02:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfriceman View Post
Buy a Vise-Grip needle nose pliers, clamp on the screw head and turn. When you go to install the plate use stainless steel hardware and you will never have this problem again.

-Kevin
+1 and PB blaster.
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      02-05-2015, 06:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittsburger View Post
So I also had a similar case...
I took off my license plate and 2 screws were rusted so I ended up taking off plate holder.
Now I have a hole where there used to be threads.
Anyone know what to do?
Do I use license plate fasteners for the new square hole?
Fasteners such as
http://www.amazon.com/License-Plate-...plate+fastener
There are square white plastic (nylon) inserts that you can use in place of the threaded boss that broke out of the sheet metal on your trunk. BMW affixes the rear license plate bracket to the trunk using machine-thread screws threaded into the thread-boss where you now have a square hole. The nylon inserts are available at most real hardware stores (like ACE or Servicestar - i.e. not Lowes or Home Depot). The inserts come in standard sizes for square holes (you should measure the square, or ask if you can test fit some) and work like a hollow wall anchor were they expand and grip on the hole as the screw is screwed into the insert. The inserts are usually used with a sheet metal screw thread fastener, but you probably can get a way with using a machine screw if you want.

And kfriceman is correct, I always swap my license plate hardware as soon as I get a car to stainless steel to avoid this problem. I also use antiseize on any that screws into metal on the bracket.
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