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How to Fix a Bent License Plate

by Kat Stafford

License plates are easier to bend than most people realize. Since they are made of thin, lightweight aluminum, license plates can be bent by as little as stepping on them with a heavy shoe. Luckily, they can be unbent as easily as they are bent with the help of two wooden boards and a hammer. A vise is also useful if the plate is exceptionally bent, such as in the case of an auto wreck with rear-end damage.


Place one of the 2x 6 wooden board against a hard, stable surface like a table or counter.


Straighten the license plate as much as you can by pulling the bent sides away from each other.


Lay the license plate on top of the 2 x 6 board. It should be centered on the board, with no edges hanging over the board's edges. If possible (depending on how the license plate is bent), the license plate should be upside down to prevent further warping of the license number.


Strike the edges of the license plate with a hammer until it lays flat against the board. If you must strike the middle of the the plate to work out the bend, do so cautiously. Striking the middle of the plate may warp the license number.


Lay the second 2 x 6 board on top of the first board and the license plate. Press on it firmly, sandwiching the license plate between the boards. This will ensure the license plate is completely flat and ready to properly hang on a car.


  • If the license plate is exceptionally warped, placing it in a vice between two 2 x 6 boards should cause enough pressure to straighten it.


  • Be careful not to strike your fingers with the hammer.

Items you will need

About the Author

Kat Stafford is an English professor and technology expert. She worked in the video-game industry and as a search-engine senior editor before beginning her career in higher education. Stafford has been editing and writing for more than 12 years, with work appearing in various online publications. She holds a Master of Arts in English from National University.

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