How to Change a License Plate

by Contributor

You need to change vehicle license plates when you get new customized license plates, buy a new car or move to a different state. Changing a license plate is a fairly simple procedure if you know what you are doing.

Step 1

Unscrew the four screws on the license plate using a Phillips head screwdriver. There are 2 screws on the top and 2 on the bottom.

Step 2

Remove the screws one by one and set them to the side.

Step 3

Pull off the license plate frame if there is one and set it to the side. Remove the license plate and set it to the side or discard if it is a dealership plate.

Step 4

Attach the new license plate, along with the license plate frame if there is one, by matching up the holes in the plates to the holes on the vehicle from the previous plate.

Step 5

Use the same old screws on your new plate or obtain new ones if the old ones are too rusty. Put 1 screw in at a time in each of the 4 holes and tighten with your Phillips screwdriver.

Put your new stickers (tags) on the new plate to make it legal. The license plate will come with instructions on where to put your new stickers.


  • You can purchase logo screw covers for your license plate online. The screw covers pop on over the screws on your license plate and have your car's logo on each cover. You can also get basic chrome- or gold-colored covers if your screws are rusty.
  • Return your old license plates to your local DMV to ensure that no one else will use them illegally. You may also be eligible to receive a pro-rated refund if your tags have not expired.

Items you will need

  • New license plate
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • License plate stickers (tags)

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