Rusty Number Plate Screw

103,000 miles, 22nd January 2009

Whilst washing the car yesterday I noticed a rust stain around one of the screws holding the front number plate in place. I thought this should be a simple enough job to fix. Fortunately it was.

The securing screws are self-tapping metal screws with special heads which allow the white plastic caps to fasten securely in place. The caps can be prised off quite easily using a small screwdriver.

As expected, once the plastic cap was removed, you could see that the screw beneath it had begun rusting. Fortunately the rusted screw was easily extracted using a pair of pliers.

I removed the other plastic cap and screw (which had not rusted) so that I could take the number plate off to clean properly and also to clean behind the number plate where it turned out, quite a lot of dirt had accumulated.

With the number plate removed and given a quick wipe you could see the full extent of the stain originating from the rusted screw (left). A little bit of rubbing did remove some of the rust but I had to consult the internet on the best way of removing rust stains. Lemon juice and White Vinegar appeared to be the recommend method. I didn't spent enough time but did manage to remove all of the stain which would be visible when the plastic cap was back in place (right).

Next job was to find a replacement screw. I didn't have a proper replacement so used a similar sized self-tapping screw. This secured the number plate well enough but didn't have the fancy head which would allow the plastic cap to snap back over it. I therefore used a little bit of sealant to stick it in place. Not perfect but good enough (right).

Actually when I first noticed the rust stain I thought I saw a little crack in the plastic cap. This may well have been the cause of the rusting screw. The number plate probably would have had to be removed during it's accident repair and so the crack may have occurred then. Oh well. These things happen. Easily fixed.

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