Initially, there weren’t registration stickers, and people didn’t have to bother about how to remove license plate sticker. Instead, license plates were replaced annually. But that changed during World War II when there was a need to conserve metal for war efforts. States started issuing small metal tabs fastened onto the existing license plate as proof of renewal instead of replacing the whole plate.
Following the standardization of license plates in 1956, states shifted from metal tabs to the registration stickers we use today. And like metal tabs, registration stickers must be revalidated and replaced annually as proof of license renewal.
Oftentimes, removing the old registration sticker can be quite difficult, and sticking the new one onto the old stickers might seem the most convenient. Don’t worry; our guide will put you through how to remove license plate sticker without damage.
What You Will Need
To remove the old sticker, you need a couple of basic supplies to start with, including:
- A heat gun or blow dryer
- Goo Gone
- WD-40, rubbing alcohol or baby oil
- Plastic razor blade or scraper
- Paper towel
You can get most of these supplies in any home improvement store or order them online.
The Removal Process
- Step 1: Begin by using the heat gun or hair dryer to heat up the old sticker. Then gently push the edge of the sticker using the blade or scrapper to lift up the sticker.
- Step 2: Continue to peel the old sticker from the edge until it completely comes off.
- Step 3: After removing the tag, remove the adhesive residue using Goo Gone. WD-40, rubbing alcohol, or baby oil would also work. Spray on your adhesive remover and allow the sticker soak for a minute before wiping off the residue with a wet sponge.
- Step 4: Use the paper towel to dry off the license plate.
Are You Supposed to Remove Old Registration Stickers?
Yes, you should! Although you can technically get away with putting new registration stickers over old ones, it is a tad clumsy. The new registration sticker won’t adhere to the old one as it should and may even lead to the new sticker falling off.
Also, driving with an expired registration sticker in Texas or Pennsylvania might not get your vehicle pulled over. But it would most certainly grab the attention of Police officers in other states and get pulled over. So, even if you aren’t required by your state law to remove an expired registration sticker, you should remove it because it can get you pulled over in other states.
Best Way to Remove Number Plate Sticker
So far, using a heat gun is the best method to remove license plate stickers from your vehicle without damage. This ensures that the sticker comes off neat without damaging your number plate or paint. You can also check out our detailed guide on several ways to remove stickers from your vehicle window without damage.
Where to get a Vehicle License Plate Sticker
You can contact your local DMV/BMV for this. Depending on the state, applying for the new registration sticker online may also be possible. You will have to call your local DMV to verify if the application process is online or if it has to be in person. Usually, the applicant pays a small fee to get the license registration sticker.
I Put the Wrong Sticker on my License Plate
Mistakes do happen, and luckily for you, this one can be corrected. So what should you do if you put the wrong car sticker on your number plate? Follow the sticker removal process highlighted above on how to remove license plate sticker.
Registration Sticker Won’t Stick
Sometimes you notice that your new car registration sticker, despite your best efforts, is refusing to stick to the license plate. This should be taken seriously as loose stickers can be easily lost and cause extra inconvenience to get them replaced.
There are several reasons why you might be experiencing this. The first and most likely reason is that you are trying to stick the new registration sticker onto the old one. As we’ve pointed out earlier, new stickers don’t adhere so well when installed like that.
Another reason is that you didn’t wipe off the adhesive and sticker residue or still have some adhesive remover on the number plate. Ensure you remove the glue residue with Goo Gone or WD-40, and don’t forget to clean off the remaining residue before mounting the new sticker. Doing this preps the mounting surface, and the label should stick firmly.
You could also use an adhesive like Gorilla glue to mount the sticker. If the problem is with the sticker itself, you may choose to complain to the relevant state department and have it changed where the option exists.
My Registration Sticker was Lost or Stolen
If you lose your license plate label or have it stolen, you should report it immediately. Reporting to the appropriate authorities helps you avoid being held liable for whatever might follow, especially when it was stolen. Then you can register for a replacement sticker.
To prevent future episodes, try one of these tips.
- Make diagonal cuts on the sticker from the top right to the bottom left and the top left to the bottom right.
- Get a plastic protective cover.
- Peel off the expired sticker before affixing new ones
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a License Plate Sticker?
This varies across state lines, but it is usually a small fee. If the sticker you received was defective, you might be eligible to have it replaced at no cost. You should check what regulations apply in the area you reside.
Originally, license plates didn’t always have registration stickers. It started with small metal tabs fastened onto an existing number plate and then registration stickers. Removing stickers from your car number plate isn’t as difficult as it seems, and our guide explains a step-by-step process on how to remove license plate sticker without damage.