How to Remove Rusted License Plate Screws

If you’ve ever tried to replace your license plates, you know how frustrating it can be when the screws refuse to come loose. The rust buildup and corrosion can make the screws almost impossible to remove. But fear not! You can easily remove those pesky, rusty screws with a few simple tools and some patience. In this blog post, we will guide you through 7 easy steps on how to remove rusted license plate screws.

How to Remove Rusted License Plate Screws

Can You Remove the Rusted License Plate Screws?

Removing rusted license plate screws can be a frustrating and challenging task, but with the right tools and techniques, it is possible to get the job done. Over time, exposure to the elements can cause the screws to corrode, making them difficult to remove without damaging other parts of the vehicle.

However, applying penetrating oil or rust dissolver and using a specialized tool such as a screw extractor can help loosen the screws and make them easier to unscrew. With patience and persistence, you can successfully remove rusted license plate screws and replace them with new ones, ensuring your vehicle stays safe and compliant on the road.

Why Should You Remove Rusted License Plate Screws?

Rusted license plate screws may seem like a minor inconvenience, but they can cause more harm than you think. When license plate screws and hardware become rusty, they can damage the license plate itself or even scratch the paint on your car. In addition, rusted screws can become extremely difficult to unscrew, leading to frustration and wasted time.

Furthermore, if your vehicle is inspected or needs maintenance, rusted screws can make it difficult for service technicians to access the license plate. Removing rusty license plate screws can protect your car from damage, save time and frustration, and make routine car maintenance easier.

Can Damage the License Plate

7 Steps to Follow on How to Remove Rusted License Plate Screws

Step 1: Assess the Damage

Before you begin, take a moment to assess the damage. Determine just how rusted the screws are and how much force you will need to apply. Sometimes, the screws may be so badly rusted that they need to be drilled out. If they’re only slightly rusted, you can skip to step 3. However, if they are severely corroded, don’t force them. This may make the situation worse and damage your license plate or bumper.

Step 2: Apply Lubricant

If the screws aren’t too rusted, try applying some lubricant (such as WD-40) to help loosen the rust. Let the lubricant soak in for a few minutes before trying to turn the screws. If they still don’t budge, move on to the next step.

Step 3: Tap the Screws

Tap the screws lightly with a hammer to break up any remaining rust. This should help loosen the screws enough to make them easier to remove. If the screws still don’t turn, move on to the next step.

Try Applying Some Lubricant

Step 4: Use Pliers or Wrench

Try to grip the screws with a pair of pliers or a wrench. This will give you more leverage to turn the screws and remove them. Be careful not to be too forceful, as it may break the screw off. You can also try to heat the screw with a torch or heat gun to expand the metal, which can help loosen it up.

Step 5: Drill Out the Screws

If none of the above methods work, you may have to resort to drilling out the screws. Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screw head and drill it out. Be careful not to damage any surrounding components. Once the screws are drilled out, use tweezers or pliers to pull them out.

Step 6: Clean Up the Threads

Once you’ve removed the screws, use a wire brush or sandpaper to clean up the threads where the screws were inserted. This will help prevent further corrosion and make it easier to insert new screws in the future.

Use a Wire Brush or Sandpaper

Step 7: Insert New Screws

Now that the old screws are gone, you can replace them with new ones. Make sure to use suitable screws for the material of your license plate frame. If necessary, apply lubricant to the threads before inserting the new screws.

When it comes to removing rusted license plate screws, there are several steps you can take to get the job done safely and easily. Follow these steps, and you’ll have your plate removed in no time!

5 Considerations Things When You Need to Remove Rusted License Plate Screws

1. Lubrication

Lubrication is one of the most important considerations when removing rusted license plate screws. Using a lubricant such as WD-40 or oil can help to loosen the screws and make them easier to remove. Additionally, you may want to use a screwdriver with a rubber handle for better grip and leverage.

2. Heat

Applying heat is another effective way to loosen rusted screws. A heat gun or blow dryer can be used to apply heat directly to the screws, which will cause the metal to expand and break up the accumulated rust. However, it is important to be careful when using heat, as too much can damage your vehicle’s screws or other components.

3. Penetrating Oil

Penetrating oil is another option for loosening rusted screws. This type of oil is designed to penetrate tight spaces and dissolve rust, making it easier to remove the screws without damaging them.

4. Rust Remover

If all else fails, you may need a rust remover to remove stubborn rust deposits on your license plate screws. Rust removers are typically available in liquid or gel form and are designed specifically for removing rust from metal surfaces. Read and follow all instructions carefully before using any rust remover on your vehicle’s license plate screws.

You May Need a Rust Remover

5. Replacement Screws

Finally, if your license plate screws are beyond repair due to extensive corrosion or damage, you may need to replace them altogether. Most auto parts stores carry replacement license plate screws designed specifically for this purpose, so be sure to check with your local store before attempting any repairs yourself.

5 Benefits of Remove Rusted License Plate Screws

1. Easier to Remove

Rusted license plate screws can be difficult to remove, but a specialized tool such as a screw extractor can make the job much easier. A screw extractor is designed to grip the head of the screw and turn it counter-clockwise, which helps to break up any rust that may be present and makes it easier to remove the screw.

2. Prevent Damage

Using a screw extractor also helps prevent damage to the license plate or other vehicle parts. If you attempt to remove a rusted screw without using an extractor, you risk damaging the surrounding area with your tools. This could lead to further repairs being needed to fix any damage caused by attempting to remove the screws.

3. Save Time

A screw extractor can also save time when removing rusted license plate screws. Without an extractor, you would need to spend more time trying different methods to get the screws out, which could take hours, depending on how badly they are rusted. However, you can quickly and easily get them out with an extractor in just minutes.

4. Less Stressful

Removing rusted screws without an extractor can be stressful and frustrating, especially if you don’t have much experience with this type of repair work. Using an extractor takes away some of this stress since you know it will help get the job done quickly and correctly without any major issues or problems arising from attempting to do it yourself without proper tools or knowledge.

5. Cost Effective

Finally, using a screw extractor is also cost-effective since they are relatively inexpensive compared to other tools you may need for auto repairs or maintenance work on your vehicle. This makes them ideal for anyone who needs to remove rusted license plate screws but doesn’t want to invest in more expensive tools or take their car into a shop for repairs.

With these considerations in mind, removing rusted license plate screws can be relatively straightforward if you have the right tools and knowledge. Be sure to follow all of the tips above to ensure you get the job done quickly and correctly without any major issues or damage to your vehicle.

Some Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Remove Rusted License Plate Screws

Removing rusted license plate screws can be frustrating, and you may find that the screws won’t budge, no matter how much effort you put in. However, it’s important to avoid certain mistakes to ensure you don’t damage the screws or your car. Avoid using excessive force or attempting to remove the screws with the wrong tool, as this can strip the screw’s threads or even break off the head.

It’s also best to avoid using rust dissolvers that can damage your car’s paint job. Instead, try using penetrating oil and give it time to soak in before attempting to remove the screws with the appropriate tool. By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll have a better chance of successfully removing those stubborn rusted license plate screws.


Removing rusted license plate screws can be a frustrating task. But with some patience and these simple steps, you can easily remove those annoying, rusty screws. Before attempting to remove them, assess the damage to determine the best course of action.

Applying lubricant and tapping the screws can help to loosen the rust and make them easier to remove. If all else fails, you can drill out the screws. With these valuable tips, you can remove those pesky, rusty license plate screws without damaging your car. Thanks for reading our post about how to remove rusted license plate screws.

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Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

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