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Discussion Starter #1
Any help is needed. My rear license plate bots are rusted on. One of them broke the last time I had to change plates so the plate has been held on with just one bolt for last couple years. Well,, it blew off today on the road. Can't find it. The screw is still there. I can not get the screw out though. It is rusted in place and the other side had just the shaft part of the screw with no head. Any ideas? Can I just drill it out? and if so, what size or kind of bit. I will have to go to the DMV and order new plates but if I can get the front one on the back for the time being it would be great. I tore the rear panel off the hatch but all it is, is a square nut welded in place.
 

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Yes, you should drill it out slightly into the old threads. And you will need to tap a new set of threads, if you have a tap and die set. You may be able to rent one at local parts store. Fun project and good luck.


You can also do a couple of hours of PB blaster and might get that one bolt out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, you should drill it out slightly into the old threads. And you will need to tap a new set of threads, if you have a tap and die set. You may be able to rent one at local parts store. Fun project and good luck.


You can also do a couple of hours of PB blaster and might get that one bolt out.
hmm,, I tried the PB blaster on the one screw and it didnt help at all. Just broke the screw head off. I think I will just drill through them and put a bolt and new nut on. I do have some of them counter screw bits. I will give them a try but I dont have high hopes for that
 

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If it's possible to drill out the existing screws one may be able to use stainless steel sheet metal screws to attach the licence plate, rather than having to re-thread the mounting holes. I used to grease the screw threads and the mounting holes and that seemed to make subsequent removals much easier when I lived in MN. The winter road salt did a lot to cause bolt rust and corrosion when I lived there. I bought a new pickup there and the first thing I did when I got it home was to remove the licence plate screws and replace them with stainless screws and I also greased the threads. Now there is anti-seize compound available which might work better.
 
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The first trip I made in Ravage was to the hardware store to buy stainless steel license plate screws. Replaced all 4 steel screws the dealer used.

I did not use anti-seize, but that may be a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
the real kicker is. I should have known how bad the screws would rust on there since I did break on of them off trying to get it out a few years ago.
 

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Yeah, I had been through this before with another vehicle, so the first thing I did when I got my permanent plate was drive over to Lowe's and pick up some stainless steel bolts to mount it. On my previous vehicle, the factory screws rusted and formed ugly brown streaks on the plate. Didn't want that to happen on my RAV.
 

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What was Toyota thinking? Why not a plastic fastener, like everything else.
The aftermarkets are probably nylon, not plastic, but as you are a neighbor in our freezing Midwest, if you use them do not torque them too tight. Just a bit snug. Below-Zero weather will make them weak and I've had them break in the hole. I hate looking for stuff in the snow.
 

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Well, I tried drilling the old screws out. Didn't work. I just drilled new holes next to them. Used some stainless steel bolts and nuts and just bolted it on. I put a nice coat of silicone on them.
 

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Well, I tried drilling the old screws out. Didn't work. I just drilled new holes next to them. Used some stainless steel bolts and nuts and just bolted it on. I put a nice coat of silicone on them.
Good solution. And the stainless won't rust. That's what I always use. I see too many nice looking cars with rust streaks down their license plates. Looks stupid.
 

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I have drilled out many license plate bolts over the years. Back in the day in Missouri, you would get a new plate every year or so. The bolts didn't have a chance to seize since they were removed and reinstalled every year or so. Also, many license plates were attached with sheet metal screws instead of machine screws, and the part on the vehicle was a push-in plastic type of nut.

Fast forward and now the plates are staying on the vehicle and stickers are affixed to prove current registration. When plates have to be removed, the bolts sometimes seize and break.

The trick is to allow plenty of time to drill. Haste means you will break a drill bit off in the bolt. Now there is a much bigger problem, because you can't drill into a drill bit with another drill bit.

If you are fortunate and drill through the bolt, chances are the threads will need to be repaired. Patience is required here also. Breaking a tap off is just as bad as breaking a drill bit off.

(I've done both and it's not pretty)

Use a brand new drill bits, starting small until you have a good pilot hole for the final 7/32 drill. Most license plates bolts are 6mm x 1.00 pitch. I replace the stock bolts with stainless steel bolts. You can find them at Home Depot, Menards, Lowes and online.

Get an automatic center punch. Drilling in the dead center is important.
 

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one thing that will help is to put some oil on the end of the drill bit or even better if you can find some stuff called "cool tool"
( try harbor freight tool or any tool place that caters to machinists ) It will help the drill not heat up so fast & last longer.
 
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