Time to upgrade your old chipped, faded license plate frame? Throw out that piece of chrome-plated plastic and read on for tips on how to choose the best license plate frame for your vehicle.
1. Check Your Mounting Style
U.S. and Canadian license plates are mounted by 2 or 4 mounting holes. The number of mounting holes varies by vehicle make and model, so check your vehicle first and choose a license plate frame with a matching number of mounting holes.
2. Choose a durable Frame Material
The back of a vehicle is an extremely harsh environment - there's a lot of snow, sun, salt and debris that can wreak havoc on this area.
Stainless steel frames will outlast plastic or chrome, and complement vehicle trim without rusting or showing wear. Carbon fiber is also a great option for performance vehicles or anyone looking for a luxe effect.
Skip chrome-plated and plastic license plate frames. These inexpensive options may seem attractive upfront, but they are quick to break down from exposure to even the mildest sun, weather and car washes.
Stainless steel comes in a variety of finishes, including a polished mirror bright finish that has the look for chrome without the weaknesses, or black powder-coat for a sleek, performance look.
3. Prevent License Plate Vibration & Paint Damage
This barrier protects your vehicle paint, prevents vibration and allows harmful debris to drain which otherwise would collect behind the frame.
4. Pick your frame style
Before you choose a frame style, it's important to check with your local DMV. Laws on covering the state name or state motto vary state by state. Also consider the location of your registration tags to make sure they are not covered.
Common license plate frame styles include:
Slimline style license plate frames add a complementary border to your license plate without covering any of the license plate itself. For this reason, Slimline frames are DMV compliant in all 50 U.S. states. Shop Slimline →
The bottom of these frames runs the full 12" across, making this frame style best suited for use in states without lower registration tags or a lower license plate message. Shop Wide Bottom →
5. Choose A Frame Finish that complements your trim
Whether you want your license plate to stand out or provide just a subtle finishing touch, there's a variety of frame finishes out there to choose from.
Keep in mind that the finish is only as good as the base frame material it's made on - stick to stainless steel or carbon fiber.
Premium stainless steel finishes:
Polished Mirror Bright
A brilliant chrome-like finish with mirror reflective properties.
Black Powder Coat
A satin black finish to stainless steel.
Brushed stainless steel is silver in color and does not show fingerprints.
A beautiful anodized stainless steel finish that is silver-grey in color with a highly reflective appearance.
If you're looking for a premium carbon fiber frame, ours is meticulously laid from 2mm thick pre-impregnated carbon fiber resulting in a perfect, straight weave and hand polished finish with unmatched durability. Shop Carbon Fiber Slimline →
6. Upgrade your Mounting Hardware
The type of fasteners required for your vehicle will vary by the vehicle make and model, but it is worth upgrading to stainless steel hardware whenever possible. Stainless steel will not rust or corrode, protecting the back of your vehicle from damage.
If you aren't sure which fasteners you need for your vehicle, try purchasing a universal stainless steel hardware kit which includes two of each of the most popular automotive screw styles.
7. The finishing touch
Stainless steel hardware can be a look on it's own, but if you have unsightly hardware that you'd like to cover or prefer a more finished look, consider adding a set of hardware hider caps or stainless steel security caps.
Traditional hardware hider caps are held down by the mounting hardware, and snap closed to cover the screw head.
Stainless steel security caps are screwed on using a special tool to prevent license plate theft.
8. Installing your frame
For tips on installing your new license plate frame, watch our video guide to license plate frame installation.
About Camisasca Automotive Mfg.
Since 1982, we have led the industry as a top supplier of automotive accessories to U.S. auto manufacturers. Today we proudly serve over 40 automotive OEMs and many corporations and small businesses, providing custom accessories from our Southern California production and distribution facilities.