This question seems so easy that I'm embarrassed to ask...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 2002

Dear Tom and Ray:

This question seems so easy that I'm embarrassed to ask it. I'm trying to help my dad put new a license plate on the front bumper of his 1988 Toyota Camry. The back plate went on fine, but the rusted screws holding the front plate would not budge. I finally yanked one of them out with a pair of pliers. It was a hunk of rust that had a vague resemblance to a bolt with a nut on the end. After spraying the other bolt several times with penetrating oil, I finally cut off the second bolt so I could take the plate off. So the question is, how do I get the new license plate on? There appear to be no thread holes in the bumper, and the inside of the bumper is not accessible from under the hood, so I can't put a nut in there. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. -- Richard

RAY: Well, I'd start by pulling the engine, Richard. That'll give you better access to the back of the bumper.

TOM: Nah. There's an easy solution to this one, Richard. This car has a metal bumper with a plastic fascia. What you're going to do is move the plate over to the right an inch. Then drill through the plastic and into the metal part of the bumper.

RAY: And then simply attach the plate with self-tapping, sheet-metal screws. That should work fine, and the plate will cover the old holes, so you'll never see them.

TOM: And the next time you need to change the plates, cut those off and move the plate another inch to the right and do the same thing.

RAY: And when you reach the point where you drill into the air-bag sensors and set off the air bag, chicken-wire the plate to the grill, then sell the car. Good luck, Richard.

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