Wisdom > Hack

Here’s a simple trick to keep your license plates secure

It costs no more than a few bucks

See how the holes in these license plates got deformed? PHOTO FROM RICO SORIANO

Problems with license plates are never-ending stories of finger-pointing within the government. And for those of us lucky enough to get ours, we obviously want to take care of them and keep them secure on our vehicles. But just when we think we’ve properly bolted the plates to our cars, they get sheared off just like in the photo above. And only heaven knows when replacements will arrive (if they ever will).

The bolt head exerts a lot of force on a small area. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

You can attach your plates simply by using the bolts. However, a bolt head exerts a lot of pressure on a small area around the hole, which is the weakest part. Any type of pulling force will end up enlarging the hole and could lead to your plate eventually shearing off.

One way to solve this is to sandwich a washer between the bolt and the plate. The idea is that the increased surface area will spread out the pulling force so that the hole better resists deformation, ensuring that your plate stays put. The larger the washer, the better it works.

Washers evenly spread the pressure of the bolt head around the hole. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

The good thing about this is that stainless-steel washers cost no more than a few pesos each from a hardware store. And while you’re at it, get stainless-steel bolts as well in order to avoid rust problems. You may also add lock washers so the bolts don’t unscrew themselves. And finally, avoid overtightening as doing so might make the plate scratch or dent your bodywork.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.