Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've got a mystery on my hands.

Part of the front license plate of our Rav4 keeps getting bent forward about 45 degrees, maybe more. The same area on the plate consistently gets bent. This has been going on for two years, since we bought the car.

I only notice it when the car is stopped and I'm outside the car, such as when it's parked in the driveway. When I notice it I'll bend it back as flat as I can get it. Then, weeks or months later, I'll notice it's bent again.

I can rule out the following:

1. It's not from bumping into, scraping, or snagging on any foreign object. My wife and I are both very careful drivers and besides we would notice something like that, especially if it kept happening again and again.

2. It's almost certainly NOT the work of pranksters. The same thing happened to the plate when we lived in another part of town, and since we moved it's continued to happen. (Both areas were very quiet and safe anyway.) My wife drove the car to work and had three different jobs in different parts of town and the plate would get bent regardless, so it wasn't pranksters at one of those places either. Besides, what kind of strange prank would that be??

I tend to notice the plate is bent after returning from a trip that involved more than 10 or 15 minutes on the freeway, but I can't think of any reason why driving on the freeway would cause part of the license plate to bend forward. It takes a good amount of force for me to bend it by hand, and if the force of the wind was going to bend the plate at all it wouldn't be bending it forward.

Obviously I'm not going to post a photo of my license plate to an internet forum, so I created a diagram (see attached). The gray rectangle denotes the area that consistently gets bent forward. The two little circles represent where the screws hold the plate to the front fender.

Anyone else ever had an issue like this? Any theories on what's happening?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
449 Posts
Auto car wash does that. Those spinning brushes will bent the number plate. Especially front. A number plate frame will prevent that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Auto car wash does that. Those spinning brushes will bent the number plate. Especially front. A number plate frame will prevent that.
Hmm...I'll test that theory. I seem to remember it happening even when the car had not been through an auto wash, but I don't trust my memory that well. Thanks for the tip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,477 Posts
Auto car wash does that. Those spinning brushes will bent the number plate. Especially front. A number plate frame will prevent that.
but will it prevent all the paint damage those brushes will do to your paint? ;-)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,497 Posts
I've got a mystery on my hands.

Part of the front license plate of our Rav4 keeps getting bent forward about 45 degrees, maybe more. The same area on the plate consistently gets bent. This has been going on for two years, since we bought the car.

I only notice it when the car is stopped and I'm outside the car, such as when it's parked in the driveway. When I notice it I'll bend it back as flat as I can get it. Then, weeks or months later, I'll notice it's bent again.

I can rule out the following:

1. It's not from bumping into, scraping, or snagging on any foreign object. My wife and I are both very careful drivers and besides we would notice something like that, especially if it kept happening again and again.

2. It's almost certainly NOT the work of pranksters. The same thing happened to the plate when we lived in another part of town, and since we moved it's continued to happen. (Both areas were very quiet and safe anyway.) My wife drove the car to work and had three different jobs in different parts of town and the plate would get bent regardless, so it wasn't pranksters at one of those places either. Besides, what kind of strange prank would that be??

I tend to notice the plate is bent after returning from a trip that involved more than 10 or 15 minutes on the freeway, but I can't think of any reason why driving on the freeway would cause part of the license plate to bend forward. It takes a good amount of force for me to bend it by hand, and if the force of the wind was going to bend the plate at all it wouldn't be bending it forward.

Obviously I'm not going to post a photo of my license plate to an internet forum, so I created a diagram (see attached). The gray rectangle denotes the area that consistently gets bent forward. The two little circles represent where the screws hold the plate to the front fender.

Anyone else ever had an issue like this? Any theories on what's happening?
Interesting! I've noticed something similar with my RAV, although not as extreme as yours. Maybe once a year or so I notice my front plate is pulled out from the bottom, but only slightly. Never been to a car wash and don't back over curb stops etc. I just push it back and it seems fine. Once I had to remove the whole assembly and "re-adjust" it.
Only possibility I can think of is that I have my oil changed at my dealer, so maybe the guy is grabbing something around there while up on the lift?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
The front plate on my Tacoma is bent that way. It has never been through a car wash with brushes. Mine is bent from passing by the front of the truck closely and snagging the plate with loose clothing. Cargo shorts pockets are the worst (plus a tight garage). Once the plate is bent out just a little, it makes it more likely that you will snag it again.

You may not be the one doing it. The same thing could happen in a parking lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
I think it's the ghost of the inmate who made the plate. Probably was the last one he made before dying. He wants it back!

Don't write off the wind theory. All it would take is some high pressure behind the plate and it might bend forward. Take a short highway trip, 20 mins and see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
Are you guys taking into account it's been happening over and over for better than 2 years and always the same corner? Pretty much eliminates wind or passer by IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,530 Posts
I stopped the bending of my front licence plate by using a front plate frame from a 2005 Honda CR-V. Has a study plastic backing and locks the licence plate so that it would require something like a C-4 charge to damage it. Previously mine had bent along a horizontal line for no apparent reason and I didn't use a car wash. Oregon licence plates are aluminum and bend easily.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
I have the same issue especially when going through a car wash since i notice the plate is hanging halfway down jusy bolted on top through the bumper that’s why it will easily get bent. Is there any playe housing like an “L” shape for the front license plate? If you guys have some links for purchase please share. Thanks all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,530 Posts
As I suggested in my prior post an OEM front licence plate frame from a Honda CR-V (I got one from a 2005 year but I think that entire generation used the same frame) works great - full backing for the licence plate and the frame encloses the plate so that it is difficult for the plate to be damaged. Example from Ebay:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-Honda-Front-License-Plate-Frame-71145-SD4-671/401364555618?fits=Year%3A2005%7CMake%3AHonda%7CModel%3ACR-V&epid=1629956750&hash=item5d73311762:g:9zgAAOSwWEZaU9Zc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
I picked up a cheep plate holder at Autozone or Napa because my from plate didn't have a holder and had been installed in the wrong spot, up 1 bar to far. I also used a metal (also cheep) frame to help hold the plate in place and used bolts in all 4 holes. To prevent the holder from bending and pulling out I used part of another metal plate frame to brace the bottom of the holder to the small lower grill.
I used to work for a local car dealer that had trouble with the automatic car wash bending the plate on their shuttle van. they used a thicker metal frame on it and a backer sheet of metal the same size as the plate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
I've gotten into the habit of only going to Touchless car washes.
There seem to be quite a few of them around.
Ott.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I've got a mystery on my hands.
Did you ever solve your mystery?

I got my 2005 RAV last December (2018), and new license plates were delivered by the end of the month. I have my front license plate attached with just two screws at the top, no holder. Yesterday after driving the hour it takes to get to my boyfriend’s, I saw the front plate was bent forward all the way up to the screws. I didn’t hit anything on the drive. I did drive through some water on a flooded road, but it was in first gear at 5 mph. Could this have been the cause?

I’d love to hear how this has played out for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,692 Posts
Deliafrrll, you are missing the license plate bracket and that is why it is bending. You can buy aftermarket ones like this.
 

·
Your Humble Administrator
2008 RAV4 Limited V6
Joined
·
16,716 Posts
Did you drive through a car wash?
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top