Always Score Your License Plate Sticker with a Razor—Here’s Why

This trick is super-simple and can keep your sticker safe.

License plate stickers are expensive, and thieves know it. Depending on which state you live in, new license plate tags can cost hundreds of dollars to replace, not to mention the annoyance of going back to the DMV and standing in line for new ones. Thankfully, there’s a trick that will help keep your vehicle tags safe from thieves. You should know the sneaky way thieves are targeting your car-key fob, too.

First, remove any old stickers from your license plate. Do not stack new stickers on top of the existing ones—this method will not work otherwise.

After that, thoroughly clean the area so there’s no excess adhesive left on the plate. Next, place the new sticker on the plate and smooth out any air bubbles. Finally, use a box cutter or other sharp tool to cut an X pattern on the sticker. Other patterns will work as well, but this is the most effective. Do you know which 10 cars are most likely to get stolen?

Changing And Scoring License Plate Tag Sticker Family HandymanFamily Handyman

By “scoring” the sticker, the tag will be more difficult to rip off. Instead, it will tear into multiple pieces, rendering it unusable. This trick won’t keep thieves from removing the sticker. But if they do, they can’t use it on their vehicle. That alone might be enough of a deterrent to keep your sticker safe.

Another safety measure to consider: Security screws, which prevent thieves from stealing your entire license plate. The screws come with a special wrench that makes them more difficult to remove.

Next, find out the things you should never do to your car.


  • Compare: “Vehicle Title, Tax, Insurance & Registration Costs (Updated July 2021)”

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Alex Shoemaker
Alex Shoemaker is the Digital Newsletter Editor of Family Handyman.