Plastic License Plate Holder Tabs

DanLee

Active Member
Apr 28, 2015
110
Virginia
We recently acquired an Aliner Ranger in very decent shape. After getting a new title and plate, I removed the old plate (mailed it back to the seller) and noticed that the plastic tabs that held the license plate below the tail light was cracked. No problem, I thought, since the other tail light also had the tabs. Unfortunately, as I was tightening the nuts and bolts that hold the plate on, those tabs also cracked and the plate fell off. I'm a little bit puzzled why these parts aren't made out of metal. Plastic really does not hold up over time.

Now debating whether to buy a new replacement tail light or just drill a couple holes in the bumper. The tail light does have a little clear window on the bottom that illuminates the plate, but I'm not sure if that's a legal requirement. Regardless, I'm ticked.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,757
Albuquerque, NM
Plastic does degrade, more so in some climates (we're pretty used to it) and some worse than others. No need to be pissed, it is just one of those things that needs maintenance or replacement over the years.
Personally, we'd just replace the lights.
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
12,177
Ontario
Had the same issue happen with my trailer.. I just took a 3 inch wide piece if aluminum I had kicking around, cut it to length, drilled holes for the license plate, removed the lower screws on the taillight base. Screwed the aluminum under the base..

Takes less time to do then writing how to do it..
 

Oldspurs

Active Member
Jan 2, 2022
190
Central Texas
As stated, just bolt to rear bumper, light will iluminate the tag enough. I do not tow after dark, but do tow with all lights on during the day. Enjoy the camp. See you on the trail.
 

Lug_Nut

Active Member
May 29, 2016
256
Mt. Wachusett area, MA
Some plastics are better suited for some applications than some metals. There are as many different "plastics" as there are different "metals". I wouldn't want cast zinc as the "metal" in that plate mounting use because it would fracture long before an ABS polymer would degrade.
The major degrading factor in your situation is the UV exposure. A black plastic will prevent the UV from penetrating deep into the item, where a light color will allow the rays to penetrate further. If you do shop for a replacement, and black is an option, get it. Clear plastic headlight lenses are often a polycarbonate with UV inhibitors blended in. That slows the UV breakdown of the polymer, but doesn't stop it.
The clear window in the tail lamp lens is a legal requirement for plate illumination, but I haven't yet run across a defined requirement of a for specific illumination intensity. It's pretty much subjective, like: must be visible at a distance of xx feet. Visible to whom? What visual acuity? Keep the plate near this window and you will not be likely to be hassled by enforcement.
 

Econ

Super Active Member
Aug 18, 2019
1,551
Deep South
This will depend on your exact configuration but an old motorcyclist would try a bolt, washer then on the backside a spring and wingnut on the tag. The spring keeps enough pressure to absorb vibration so it wont come loose. I have well over 150k on this set up.

Did the same thing to the refrig doors that has those hatefull plastic locks like what Atwood uses on the 7916 heater.

Thanks for putting the year and model in the signature. It used it.
 

tombiasi

Super Active Member
Sep 1, 2012
6,752
Northwestern New Jersey
We recently acquired an Aliner Ranger in very decent shape. After getting a new title and plate, I removed the old plate (mailed it back to the seller) and noticed that the plastic tabs that held the license plate below the tail light was cracked. No problem, I thought, since the other tail light also had the tabs. Unfortunately, as I was tightening the nuts and bolts that hold the plate on, those tabs also cracked and the plate fell off. I'm a little bit puzzled why these parts aren't made out of metal. Plastic really does not hold up over time.

Now debating whether to buy a new replacement tail light or just drill a couple holes in the bumper. The tail light does have a little clear window on the bottom that illuminates the plate, but I'm not sure if that's a legal requirement. Regardless, I'm ticked.
You need to have the plate illuminated.
 

Canvas Cur

Member
Sep 29, 2016
93
South West Florida
Same thing happened to our new (to us) 2016 Ranger 10. The S.W. Florida heat and sun made the tabs on BOTH sides brittle as potato chips! I took a 3" long piece of galvanized pipe strap metal (1" wide) and secured the top hole to the light mounting screws at the bottom of the light. Had to clip out a tiny piece of the light base around 1" wide to let the strap go flat against it. It was easy to cut with a wire cutter and then I grabbed the plastic in the middle of the two cuts with pliars, bent it back and forth, and it broke cleanly off. The bottom of the metal strips now have a mounting hole that comes out just enough to mount the tag to. In this position, the tag gets plenty of light from the tag light bulb, and, being strapping, remains flexible enough to bend a bit without breaking off. Should be fine for many miles to come, but if one should break, just pennies to replace with a new tab. The light bases themselves are in good shape, so that saved a few bucks by "rigging" up this solution. Hope this helps! Happy Camping!
 

Econ

Super Active Member
Aug 18, 2019
1,551
Deep South
I bought a spare one.


You will understand what he's talking about by looking at the above.

my right lens hold down broke off and it took forever to plastic weld it.

I would consider getting a spare because if the lens holder breaks you wont get on of these locally and you have to prove you have repaired it to the cops.
 

Michael J

Active Member
Aug 9, 2018
136
Michigan
I bought a spare one.


You will understand what he's talking about by looking at the above.

my right lens hold down broke off and it took forever to plastic weld it.

I would consider getting a spare because if the lens holder breaks you wont get on of these locally and you have to prove you have repaired it to the cops.

That's the one I got from Amazon minus the white reverse spot I thought about making an aluminum backer plate to make sure it didn't happen again but haven't gotten to it yet.
 




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