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    Thread: Repainting faded letters on a license plate - illegal/legal?

    1. 09-27-2013 09:36 PM #1
      The plate on my car is pretty faded, it's really just the letters that are bad though. I think the plate still has 4 years on it before it's even expired, and I haven't been given a warning for it, but it looks like crap and it bugs me. I'm just wondering if replacing it is my only option or if I was able to color match it and tape off the letters would I be ok?

      Most of what I found online was about antique plates so I couldn't find a real answer. I'm gonna guess it's illegal, but worth a short to ask and see for sure.
      Old: mk4 2001 Matchstick Red JTI VR6 5sp - giac cam chip, 262 cams, ram air intake, catless borla exhaust, coilovers, 17" work equips, filled hood notch/badgeless grill, shaved fenders, euro rub strip, satin black b-pillars/roof...traded in
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    2. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      09-27-2013 09:40 PM #2
      Technically illegal I think. But I highly doubt anyone would notice if the paint you use matched close enough.
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      09-27-2013 09:50 PM #3
      Just do a nice job. People Modify the "Classic American Car" plate to say "early German" and put a vw sticker on it instead of the horse and carrage (Im in CT). Its illegal but unless your askin for it most people including some cops will probably be none the wiser.

    4. Member Harpoon's Avatar
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      09-27-2013 10:00 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by dntdrvslow View Post
      Just do a nice job. People Modify the "Classic American Car" plate to say "early German" and put a vw sticker on it instead of the horse and carrage (Im in CT). Its illegal but unless your askin for it most people including some cops will probably be none the wiser.
      I've seen the horse and carriage covered up on musclecars by perfectly sized circular stickers related to a charities such as veterans funds, etc. and it's so subtle (as long as the sticker is straight) that the plates looks like it was issued that way and makes you scratch your head for second.

      OP, I would do it if I were you, but like someone above said, make sure the paint is a good match.
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    5. Member 2112's Avatar
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      09-27-2013 10:18 PM #5
      I was wondering about this as well...my front plate is noticeably worn, but, since my plates just have black alphanumeric characters on a white background, I suppose I could just use black paint to touch up the characters.

    6. 09-27-2013 10:35 PM #6
      I guess I should look for a green that matches florida plates then.

      or just stop trying to be cheap and get a new one. I'm at the dmv every other week anyway lol
      Last edited by sterkrazzy; 09-27-2013 at 10:57 PM.
      Old: mk4 2001 Matchstick Red JTI VR6 5sp - giac cam chip, 262 cams, ram air intake, catless borla exhaust, coilovers, 17" work equips, filled hood notch/badgeless grill, shaved fenders, euro rub strip, satin black b-pillars/roof...traded in
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    7. Member Spdmini's Avatar
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      09-27-2013 11:05 PM #7
      Why do you give a ****? The plate issued from the state, if it fades, how is this your problem?
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    8. Junior Member White Wagen's Avatar
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      09-27-2013 11:09 PM #8
      Try waxing it. You might be amazed at the results. I cleaned up some nearly forty year old plates using some wax and elbow grease. They almost look new.

    9. Member PNW's Avatar
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      09-27-2013 11:16 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by White Wagen View Post
      Try waxing it. You might be amazed at the results. I cleaned up some nearly forty year old plates using some wax and elbow grease. They almost look new.
      I agree, before you go to the effort of painting it, wax really makes a big difference.

      Edit: Just posted this at the same time as you, never mind...

    10. 09-27-2013 11:16 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by White Wagen View Post
      Try waxing it. You might be amazed at the results. I cleaned up some nearly forty year old plates using some wax and elbow grease. They almost look new.
      Nah, it's faded away so bad that there isn't even paint in some spots. That's why I want to do something to fix it. It looks a lot older than it really is, it's out of place on my car, but it wouldn't look so bad if I could fill the letters in.
      Last edited by sterkrazzy; 09-27-2013 at 11:22 PM.
      Old: mk4 2001 Matchstick Red JTI VR6 5sp - giac cam chip, 262 cams, ram air intake, catless borla exhaust, coilovers, 17" work equips, filled hood notch/badgeless grill, shaved fenders, euro rub strip, satin black b-pillars/roof...traded in
      New: mk6 2011 CSG GTI 6sp - cts turbo downpipe/intake, eibach pro street coilovers, dieselgeek shortshifter...work in progress

    11. 09-27-2013 11:23 PM #11
      Illegal but not many cops out there even look at that sort of thing.

    12. Member titleist1976's Avatar
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      09-28-2013 12:30 AM #12
      Just order some new from DMV.

    13. Member Boogety Boogety's Avatar
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      09-28-2013 08:36 AM #13
      Aren't most characters on plates reflective? Wouldn't regular-color paint be obvious at night?

      Couldn't you to to the DMV and just get a new one? Guy I know was handed a ticket on his Viper for no front plate. He took the opportunity to go to the DMV and get new, sequential plates for all seven of his cars, and it only cost him like $5-$6 a plate for the mid-year issues... Now his plates are XXX-2801, XXX-2802, XXX-2803...

      And why would anyone care what a plate looks like?

    14. Member clutchrider's Avatar
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      09-28-2013 10:14 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Spdmini View Post
      Why do you give a ****? The plate issued from the state, if it fades, how is this your problem?
      Because he wants the plate to be clean looking like the rest of the car. I hate when people have a plate that is behind overly faded plastic or still behind dealer frames or something cheesy. I put a nice plain black frame around my plate, clean and understated because a bare plate looks weird.

      I also have a solution for OP, just do what I do and keep the front plate in the trunk so when the other one gets old or something I can swap it out.
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    15. Member eluwak's Avatar
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      09-28-2013 11:37 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by sterkrazzy View Post
      The plate on my car is pretty faded, it's really just the letters that are bad though. I think the plate still has 4 years on it before it's even expired
      You have a 6 year old plate that the paint is faded/pealing? In FL they have to be replaced every 10 years, and I don't think I've ever seen one like that that wasn't mangled already... They tend to hold up pretty well (I've been through 6 on vehicles parked outside 24/7). If it's that bad just tell the DMV you have a defective plate and need a replacement.
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    16. Member chucchinchilla's Avatar
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      09-28-2013 12:59 PM #16
      My Porsche has restored black/yellow CA plates (i.e. stripped and repainted completely) and they were approved by the DMV. The difference there is those plates weren't reflectorized like your modern plate is. If done right, you'll be fine. Just wondering, what plate do you have that's worth saving?


      Also this.
      Quote Originally Posted by eluwak View Post
      If it's that bad just tell the DMV you have a defective plate and need a replacement.
      Heck, you can say a plate fell off and get new ones issued for $7 here in Texas. A lot of people are doing that simply to replace the silly looking colorized plate with the new black/white ones.
      Last edited by chucchinchilla; 09-28-2013 at 01:02 PM.

    17. Member JJS119's Avatar
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      09-28-2013 01:11 PM #17
      I could see if they changed the plate. I still have the white New York plates on my car. I don't want the new Empire gold plates. I am going to hold out with the white plates for as long as I can.




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