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Legal to restore a liscense plate?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dane, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,351

    from Soquel, CA

    Anyone know if it's legal to repaint a California license plate? The car has been out of action for a long time and the plate and frame show it's age. The only "rat" remaining is the plate.

  2. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,590


  3. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792


    If you're going to use it, it has to be repainted. So, I'd think it's okay, as long as it's done properly.
  4. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,351

    from Soquel, CA

    Thanks, but I can restore the plate myself. I just need to know how California DMV feels about it. The car is already registered as of this week. I'll pay DMV a visit next week.

  5. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,130


    It's illegal to restore plates in New York, but then EVERYTHING is illegal in New York........
  6. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,728


    There's a guy with a Nova that restored a "black plate". The problem arose when he used a semi-gloss black and instead of orange, he used a pale yellow to match the exterior paint of his car. He got a ticket.
  7. 55Hydramatic
    Joined: Apr 24, 2011
    Posts: 457


    Just use the same colors with the same gloss as original and they won't know the difference! Hell half the new plates here in AZ already have the paint baked off from the sun!!!
  8. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,564


    The " Katfish" here in Texas will do you a fine job and quick turn around. He is Katfish here on the HAMB.
  9. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    Do they use reflective paint?
  10. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,830


    As I understand it, it's technically illegal to restore them, but if it's done skillfully with the correct colors and gloss, who would know?

    I had plates on one of my cars repainted, but now I can't even remember which car. CRS is tough.
  11. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,587


    Legal in Kansas, last I heard.
  12. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    Each state is different. CA doesn't like restored plates, but if you don't have to send the plate in you should be fine.
  13. oldpl8s
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 1,399


    California says you must not display a plate that has been "altered from its original markings". The intent was not to change the colors or numbers. While some individual DMV hags hassle people, the vast majority don't make a stink. The YOM program would have a hard time accepting many older plates since the paint has been damaged to make them illegible. Try to get a yellow that is not too light and you should be ok. P.S. you will need a matched pair, a single is useless.
  14. Rattle Trap
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 358

    Rattle Trap

    I have seen MANY restored plates here over the years. Some were crappy jobs whiles others were great. Never heard of anyone getting hassled about it.
  15. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384


    Did a set like yours back in the '70's. My best friends Dad worked at Norton A.F.B. in fire truck repair and they had a yellow Lacquer that was close. I used Nason Imperial Tru-black lacquer on the background. Shot 3 double coats of the yellow, then 3 double coats of the black over the whole plate and blocked down thru the black on the yellow. The Yellow may have been called "Fruehauf Yellow".
  16. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    I would think you could lay down a "base color", then wax coat the letters, and re-paint using the background color. The paint won't stick to the wax, and after the paint has cured wipe/wash/solvent it off. Would that work? Butch/56sedandelivery.

    The "new" plates issued in this state are reflective, ESPECIALLY to the cops LiDar speed check equipment (think radar). Take one of those plates at night, and hit it with a laser pointer; you'll see the concept at work. It really "blooms'. The reflectiveness is't really for safety at all, it's primarily for the LiDar, but they won't/don't tell you that.
  17. 1oldtimer
    Joined: Aug 21, 2003
    Posts: 8,001


    I've put several through with and without being restored, the only problem I've run into is 1 DMV office wanted me to restore them BEFORE I registered them. I went to a different office and they went through. I like to run them as is unless they're really bad (super rusty, no paint or bent badly), I want to shoot them with clear to keep them from rusting further but don't want the shine of clear.

    IF the plates are just regular registered to the car (not YOM), then you can go ahead and restore them as the DMV won't need to see them again.
  18. If definitely depends on the state, as to whether you can "restore" a tag/plate. Last I heard, in California, if you wanted to run a specific plate, you needed to bring it in to the DMV in UNRESTORED condition to see if the number is available and to determine the condition of the plates...and BOTH plates needed to be seen by them, not just one. I have hotrodder relatives out there that have not escaped yet, so that is how I know this info.

    In OK, the Tax Commission (our DMV) wants to see the tag, if possible, but it's not mandatory. They'll ask what the colors are on it, so that can be verified as what that year had originally (you can not change the colors on a plate here). The state does not seem to have an issue with restored plates here. Reflective paint was not used here until the 1968 tags came out.

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