License Plate Screws Won’t Come Out (Solved)

If your license plate screws won’t come out, changing your car’s license plate which is considered an easy task may become tedious and time-consuming. It is more discouraging when it is urgent to change the license plate, and you are clueless about removing the license plate screws if they are stuck.

If you are in this situation, you have come to the right place, this article comprises various methods and steps to follow to remove license plate screws that are stuck.

Ways to Remove License Plate Screws That Won’t Come Out

Here are some ways you can use to remove license plate screws that won’t come out.

1. Use Penetrating Oil

Penetrating Oil

Using penetrating oil is a quick fix if your license plate screws won’t come out. According to the name, penetrating oil is used to lubricate the screws, which are rusted to enable it to become less tightened to aid its removal.

Apply the oil to the screws that are rusted and allow for a period of 15minutes before trying loosening them. You can apply the oil correctly to the needed screws by using a nozzle spray without denting the full license plate. In case the screw does not come out after 15 minutes, you add oil and allow it to soak for about an hour. You can find penetrating oil at any automotive repair shop, so getting your hands on it shouldn’t be a problem. Oil the back of the license plate (where it is possible to do so) to allow deeper penetration of the oil into the screw for further removal.

Also Read: Car won’t start? Causes and How To Fix

2. Use White Vinegar

Applying white vinegar to the screws is another quick fix if license plate screws won’t come out. Vinegar has always been used for a variety of purposes. This is why it can also be used to remove rusted screws.

Vinegar can be directly applied to rusted screws or a piece of cloth covered in vinegar can be used to wipe them. Loosen the screw using a screwdriver once you notice a reduction in the rusting.

Vinegar is one of the most effective solutions for dissolving rust. Using your steel brush clean out as much rust as possible from the license plate screw and loosen it with a screwdriver.

Continue applying vinegar to the license plate screws, which are rusted, till you can easily remove them.

3. Use an Impact Wrench

Impact Wrench

Most times, the application of strong force may be what is necessary if your license plate screws won’t come out. Attempt to use an impact wrench with the correct bits added to it in a situation like this.

Impact wrenches are identified as tools for distributing high rotational torque. It is advisable to start by applying penetrating oil to the screws that are rusted, then use an impact wrench to remove any leftover rust.

Utilize safety glasses whenever you work with an impact wrench to prevent injury. Since the impact wrench method is likely to destroy the rusted screws, it is strongly advised to use it only after trying the previous methods listed above.

4. Switch Screwdrivers

If your license plate screws won’t come out and it is loosened inadvertently, you can try to take it off with another screwdriver.
Start with applying a smaller screwdriver with a big head. Use downward pressure and try to remove the lisense plate screw bit by bit.
Tap the screwdriver into the head with a hammer.
Keep your screwdriver in the head, get a hammer, and hit the bottom of the screwdriver. This will drive the screwdriver into the lead, thereby aiding you to gain a tighter and firm hold. Then Lay down the screwdriver and try to pull out the screw.

5. Use Rubber Band

To enhance the hold your screwdriver has on the license plate screw, place a large rubber band in the distance that separates the screwdriver and the screw head. Lay the rubber band flat over the screw head and insert your screwdriver. Rotate the screwdriver bit by bit and try to detach the screw.

6. Use Steel Wool

You can use steel wool to remove license plate screws that won’t come out if the rubber band is unavailable.

Keep the steel wool on top of the license plate screw head and gently drive your screwdriver into the hole, ensuring a tight grip. Slowly turn the screwdriver and try to take off the license plate screw.

7. Use Heat


Applying heat if your license plate screws won’t come out and are rusted will assist you in pulling out the screws from the licensed plate with less stress.

When the screws are heated, the metal surrounding them enlarges, allowing them to be removed with less stress. How is this done? You can use the steps outlined down.


Apply a water-based solvent or the degreaser machine to weaken the rust. When using the heat application method, it is best to use water-soluble detergents for weakening the screws instead of penetrating oils.

There are several reasons for this, including that oil and chemicals are readily combustible. A water-based degreaser can easily be obtained from a home improvement store. It can also be prepared at home using vinegar or baking soda.

When dealing with heat, it is recommended that you wear leather gloves and that you keep a fire extinguisher within reach in case of an emergency. The rusted screws on the license plate should be cleaned of flammable chemicals to prevent a fire.

Heat the Rusted Screws

Apply heat to the rusted screws on the license plate using a gas torch until it begins to smoke. It is more convenient to use a butane or propane gas torch for this task.

The flame needs to be applied near the screw until you observe smoke coming from the screw. Make sure the screw is not overheated; if you notice that the color of the screw changes to red, remove the flame.

When the rusted screws become hot, immediately pour cold water over them. Doing so will ensure that the screw contracts quickly.

If you continue applying heat and cold water respectively, the screw will become free, allowing easy removal of the rusted screw from the license plate.

Use a Screwdriver to Remove the Rusted Screws

After repeating this process about three to four times, you will see that removing the rusted screws from the license plate is much easier than before.

You can try using penetrating oil after you finish applying heat to the screws; this will help expand the screws that are rusted on the license plate more.

Also Read: How To Clean Headlights


You should have understood what stops you from taking off the license plate screws and how to go about it. You can use any process you are more comfortable with to remove your screws or solve the problem.

You should follow the safety precautions listed above if you handle any power tools.

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