CC Contributor Kevin Martin told me he had found something in his garage for me, and was sending it. A Towson Ford license plate frame; a relic from one of my first employers, in high school, where I worked as a car jockey. How very thoughtful. So a couple of weeks ago, I unscrewed my rear plate and added it. Just one minor problem.
The other day, as I was putting the new year and month expiration stickers on the new plates on the Acura, I suddenly looked over at the xB, and realized I’d covered over those two stickers without ever noticing it at the time, at least a month or more ago. Doh! Sorry Kevin; it’s going to have to hang in the garage.
Could you apply your next sticker to the upper right? You could put the frame back on next year then. Not sure if you have a requirement to put in lower right, though
Don’t know about OR, but in MI the sticker has to be on the upper right, so putting the stickers (why two? MI handles month and year with one) on the top side of the plate might be a violation.
In some states, NY in particular, license plate frames are against the law. That doesn’t stop dealerships and repair shops from putting them on, but they’re illegal nonetheless. We don’t even have registration stickers on our plates here.
Really? I’ve had a frame on my NY plates for four years, have even been stopped for other reasons, but no cop has ever mentioned this.
Yes. I doubt it’s enforced very often but I guess it falls under the category of obscured plates.
It is, however, one of those kind of things that police could therefore use as a pretext for a stop, and then once they have you stopped they can claim probable cause to search, and oops, what’s that unregistered gun, or oops, what’s that little bag of white stuff . . .
On the plate in PA there is a spot for the sticker in the upper left corner. Some people stick them every where and and any where. As a side story, PA only has a plate on the back of the vehicle. It has been this way probably since WWII days. I wonder how many states still have a plate on the front . I know Ohio , next door, does.
There are still more states with front plates than without (31/19). Of the largest North American jurisdictions (California, Texas, Florida, NY, Ontario and Illiniois), only Florida doesn’t require a front plate.
PA ended front plates sometime in the 50’s. I used to think front plates were silly until a relatively recent incident in Philly where a woman was shot and killed in a robbery. Surveillance video got a lovely photo of the FRONT of the getaway car. No plate. Guess the robbers are not from NJ.
It must have been very early in the 50s, because I remember our annual collection of old license plates taken off the family car, displayed on the garage wall, until PA issued plates in 1958 that were good until 1965 — starting in ’59, you put a sticker on the ’58 plate. I still have the 1957 plate: 2VC69.
All the states I’ve lived in required only a rear plate (PA, IN, and KY) until the current one, VA, which requires front and rear plates.
A dremel tool could easily trim out some sticker clearance space.
Other than being illegal in most states, plate frames damage license plates which reduces their useful life. This NJ plate had an illegal plate frame which compromised the reflective sheeting and caused this bubbling.
Also, when you spend more for an optional plate, why cover it?
License plate frames or covers? A frame won’t cause damage like you pictured but a cover could and the reason those are illegal in most states is that they can mess with the speed and red light camera’s ability to get a clear picture of your plate as they can cause reflections.
No problem in Wisconsin. You see a lot of covers which make the numbers almost impossible to read. O.K. with the cops though.
No, this damage was the result of a frame not a cover.
Read the law there is nothing that says licesne plate frames are illegal http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/Vehicle/Plates.htm It only says that frames or covers can not obscure any letters on the plate.
I have a hard time believing that as the “damage” is all around the numbers and not where a frame would touch the plate. What really makes it unbelievable though is the witness marks left from the bolts holding the plate on. With a frame the screw heads don’t leave a perfect circular pattern in the face of the plate. If there is an imprint left on the plate it is not in the form of a circle. So I’d say that the plate pictured did not have a frame on it.
If you want me to advertise your business on my 30k car, you better be paying me at least $300 a month to keep it up there . The crappy frames go as soon as the plate goes on.
In other news, I live in a city that requires a permit to park on the street in front of the house. Not wanting that sticker on my car either, I put a clear sheet of plastic behind the plate that sticks out to the left of the plate about 2 inches. Mounted the parking permit there, looks great, legal, and the best part is no stickers on my car.
Ha, no kidding. When I bought my last car, when the dealer put my temp plates on they offered me a license plate frame if I wanted it, but if I didn’t want it I should let them know. I told them to keep it.
Smart move on their part. Why waste the money on frames for people who pitch them when they get home?
(I also grabbed the hairdryer and peeled their ugly dealer sticker off the back.)
I have license frames on all my cars. Only mine are those real thin profile polished stainless ones that don’t cover up the tags.
Several states had bad batches of reflective sheeting in recent years. I would suspect that the damage to the NJ plate shown is a result of this rather than any license plate frame.
Given that each state has its own requirements for placement of renewal stickers if any, it’s usually the case that in-state dealers will see to it that their frames don’t cover up the stickers. But I’ve seen plenty of frames in Oregon that completely cover up the state name as well as the whole part of the plate under the numbers except for two cutouts in the bottom corners. And if your plate has a slogan, chances of that being covered up are pretty darn good.
And another thought – a license plate frame from a dealer of a different brand than the car generally marks the car as having been bought used.
I generally don’t use any frames on my cars, but I still have a BEVERLY HILLS CHRYSLER frame that I ran on half a dozen different fin cars back in the day.
Several years ago I committed what could be considered a deadly sin. I put one of those cheap red reflector license frames on the back of my 95 Lexus LS400. It didn’t strike me until months later just how wrong it looked on there. I promptly replaced it with one of those skinny polished stainless ones- the same I run on all my cars now.
Paul: Nice to see the frame, but sorry to say, Towson Ford is no more. Another casualty of downsizing I suppose. A 5 Guys burger joint and other businesses now cover the Towson Ford footprint.
Yes, I noticed that last summer when I was there. York Road once had a slew of dealers on the stretch, from the top of the hill down to the Beltway: Buick (can’t remember the name), Towson VW (later Mercedes, then Audi), Marsden Chevrolet, Towson Ford, and a British Import dealer, just before the Beltway.
Clear plastic plate covers were banned in Aussie because redlight cameras cant see thru them.
New Jersery used to use Avery Sheeting which does not emboss well. License plate frames that cover the state name and/or stickers are quite annoying, but that is just me. Some plate frames make the owner come off as a goof such as those Enterprise Car Sales frames or the ones with immature toilet humor. I used to have a Buhler Chrysler plate frame on my Voyager and now it hangs on my wall along with the plate.
No license plate frames for me. I would think that frames or covers (clear or smoked) would be illegal everywhere, for obvious reasons. I have a different method of plate obscurement. Having been a landscaper for eons, I had to hitch a trailer at least once daily, by myself. Using my mirrors, I can center myself almost perfectly, but to stop I just ram the trailer tongue with my plate, then pull forward a foot. Viola! Perfect, everytime. No sissy reverse camera for me! LOL. Needless to say, my plate looks like mulch. Illegal? Yes. A policeman will mention it once every couple of years; I explain the situation and my alternative of mounting the plate elsewhere, an ‘improper placement’, thus my ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t’ dilemma. “Carry on, but get a new plate soon, sir.” I never do. The benefit being a plate unreadable to red-light cameras. I kinda like the ‘working truck character’ aspect, also. I’m no longer landscaping, but I got 4 years until the tag agency automatically issues a new plate, rather than just a decal. Then what do I do…?
I use a plain black license plate frame.
It leaves the tag numbers, the state name and the registration stickers plainly seen and not obstructed at all. It does carry the http://www.maryland.gov on the bottom of the plate(I have the older MD plates with the shield in the middle and not that ugly flag plate they have until 2015)
I cover this up because I refuse to act as a rolling billboard to promote Maryland tourism without being paid for it. I paid the taxes when I bought the car. I pay to have my car registered every two years, pay car insurance and upkeep, pay to renew my drivers license every several years and my tax dollars pay to keep the roads fixed. The state of Maryland does not pay me anything and I will not act as moving advertising for its tourism industry. As the seminal Supreme Court case Wooley v. Maynard stated, a state cannot legally compel an owner of vehicle to act as a mobile billboard. Plus I did not and still do not support Maryland allowing gambling casinos into the state. I voted against it and I refuse to be forced to support it by having a website on my car that has links to it on it.
We have reflective plates and cameras everywhere, so I strip the plate back to bare alloy and then paint the whole thing black, then white, sand off the white on the letters to reveal black then clear with super shiny finish and no more flash reflecting … I’m in Oz, have the optional US size plates fitted so I run a retro frame I obtained in SFO many years ago.
I did try the commercial invisible sprays but they were junk, and went yellow quite quickly.
When I bought my Titan, I took the cheap way out to have plain black frames. I used a SOS pad to remove the white paint over the dealers lettering. Worked great! Until the owner of the dealership I worked for and bought it from asked me if I was not happy with my new truck. Oops!
I think license plate frames might be illegal here in Mass too, but no one seem to care. Of course, if you have an old single green and white plate, you can just put a license plate on the front.
My mother lives in Timonium, MD and every car in her parking garage has a license plate frame from the selling car dealer on the rear end. Ridiculous!
You know Paul, you could just put the frame on the front of the car. My moms Escape (formerly mine) wears a frame I acquired when I worked for Mr. Sesi as a throwback to days gone by.
Frames don’t bother me as long as they aren’t tacky in their design. Labadie Olds uses plasti-chrome frames that are tasteful, so my Olds still wears it on the back, while the front “Oldsmobile” plate has my Orlando Magic metal frame attached to it. If the dealer provided me with crappy service or the frame was just in bad taste, I have been know to remove it. But I figure, if you treat me well, I’ll return the favor.
I will say this though, if I had sorry credit and had to buy a car from one of those auto credit places, there is no way I’d let my car advertise to the world that I didn’t know how to handle my own finances!
As for plates, I finally had to retire my Michigan plate last fall. I got fourteen years and over 250k miles out of use from it, but whatever they laminated it with started peeling off years ago and it was rusting. I was reluctant to do it as it was my first michigan plate, but time marches on…
We have stickers on the front plates too.
Connecticut did away with date stickers some years ago. We are in the 21st century; cops can run your plate in a second.. I do have a small German flag sticker covering the Pope Hartford on the ‘Antique’ plates I have.