Poor number plate fitment

One of my pet hates is shoddy number plate fitment by car dealerships. Over the years I have noticed wonky plates and perhaps worst of all a metal tailgate drilled unnecessarily when the manufacturers have taken the trouble to provide plastic or nylon inserts for the fixing screws. They also use the cheapest nastiest zinc plated screws which inevitably rust instead of stainless steel ones. To me it shows a complete lack of care and respect for a customer’s vehicle. Is the job given to a new apprentice or are they not given enough time to do the job correctly? Totally unacceptable in my opinion.
Here is a photo of a the front number plate on a new loan car I am currently using -

The plate is flush with the right hand and top edge, there is a 10mm gap on the left & bottom edge! Just appalling attention to detail on a car costing over £37000!


I generally don’t think they see the value of doing it properly.
All most companies see is a cost and time to do the job.

I have ended up buying my own plates and fitting them properly on every car I have owned.


I’ve just bought a car from a dealer I’ve used before. I agree in your observations, why (on my car) have they fitted new dealer plates and drilled fresh holes in the bumper. It would have been easier to take old plate off, mark new number plate to exact place of existing holes and replaced in exactly the same position. To top it off they also used large metal bolts to secure the rear plate on, I replaced them with plastic bolts, proper plate bolts matching the white or black parts on the plate.


Why drill holes in the car and/or plate?

Double-sided sticky tape every time.

Someone on the Toyota site bought a brand new Yaris and the rear numberplate was lopsided at delivery and was spotted by the new owner. Told them to correct the fitting. It transpired that the fitter had simply drilled two holes through the plate into the tailgate and a couple of self-tapping screws, never attempting to use the plastic inserts in the tailgate.

He told the dealer to replace the tailgate or he was rejecting the car - after some discussion with the dealer and Toyota they replaced the tailgate.


It’s one of those jobs that takes no longer to do properly, therefore I don’t see the point in doing it wrong.

I think the broadest explanation is that people just don’t care.

In fact dealers should be provided with a plastic drilling jig or template for each model. It would cost hardly anything and ensure every car is presented properly.


Quite right! So it cost the dealer far more than they “saved” by rushing the job in the first place.

I find it depressing that all the millions invested by the manufacturers getting it right first time , continuous improvement (Kaizen) and on training is completely undermined by some pillock with a drill and no idea in a few moments.


Strangely the cars I see with wonky numberplate the most are high end cars, bmw, Mercedes and range rovers in particular.

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And whilst they have the plate off give the b***** thing a wipe behind there. I found algae behind mine, they did valet tjd rest of the car though.:grin:

I insisted on fitting SWMBO’s after the 2 day Gen3 Paint protection had cured. Purely for the satisfaction of being involved her birthday private number…they understood very well and were not miffed at all.
In fact it was they who had a bunch of flowers and a wee box of choccies in the back seat.

Expensive 3D plates…did not want any studs used.


Nothing changes, years ago a friend picked up a new Metro and after a year or so noticed the front and rear plates were different registrations!

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As long as he didn’t then notice the front half being a different paint colour to the rear half and welding down the middle :wink:

And you’re right, nothing changes as I remember seeing a car for sale at a main dealers (in the last few years) with mismatched registration plates.

Yes, it was one digit out, so presumably going down a line of new cars and shuffled the plates.

Hired a Metro like that in Malta many years ago, but it was £2 a day so was told when I mentioned some faults - no wipers (it never rains), rear doors didn’t open / welded shut (there are only 2 of you), dodgy handbrake (park in gear with wheels into the curb) etc etc.

Agree with this topic. Totally pathetic. Makes me ask just how much care are they going to take of my car when it goes in for a service/repair if they can’t be bothered and it’s too much ‘hard work’ to do the simplest thing like putting a number plate on straight. Makes the car look hanging when looking front or back on.

and people make a big thing of it being serviced by a main dealer and they can’t fit a set of number plates so what’s the service going to be like


Its the service manger who has control and accountability for quality standards and the 1st point of contact, and if still not happy escalate it further, Directors etc.

As I was changing the Registration Number straight after new purchase, I was able to put my own number plates on exactly where I wanted them.
Only regret is that square number plates are not permitted now - had to have straight ones.
My number is 6 digits and looks so much better on a square plate!

I can’t see where square number plates are illegal? If the BS mark is there plus makers code and legal font what’s the problem?
Mines been fine for over 2 years, square and a legal font.

Square number plates are legal. However, if your car originally came with an oblong plate and this is changed to a square plate then I believe the DVLA need to be informed.