We're often asked how/if magnets could be used to hold a license plate onto a car. With car show season upon us, we'll dive into this and see which magnets could be used. We'll also look at how you could mount a camera onto a car.
We're located in Pennsylvania, where we're only required to have a license plate mounted to the rear of the vehicle. However, some states require the vehicle to have a license plate on both the front and back of the car. Many cars are not made with a front license plate mount, so it has to be installed later on. Using magnets would prevent you from having to drill holes in your brand new car to mount the plate.
This is common for folks who move to a new state and the new state requires a front license plate. We also hear from a lot of car show folks who either want to take the front license plate off quickly, or change out the state required plate for a custom plate once they arrive at the show.
Whatever the reason is, magnets are a quick, easy solution for mounting a license plate!
This solution is for any car that already has a front license plate mount but instead of screws, you'd rather use magnets to hold the plate in place. This would allow for a quick change from "This Car Climbed Mt Washington" plate to "It's a Jeep Thing" plate. Or maybe you just got done hanging out with your Ford buddies and need to change the American flag plate to a Euro plate to meet up with your BMW friends.
The quickest solution we found was to use some DC1AD-P adhesive magnets stuck to the mount, with some DC2 or DC2E mounted on top to sandwich the plate between the magnets. If using our adhesive backed magnets, be sure to thoroughly clean the surface before applying the magnet. The adhesive won't stick well to a dirty surface.
We liked the DC2E on top - the black color made it less visible. Also, the epoxy coating has increased corrosion protection for outdoor applications. We found that two pairs of this combination held the plate sufficiently, though a pair in each corner would be more secure.
A better long-term solution would be to glue a DC1 or DC1-N52 to the license plate holder instead of using the adhesive backed magnets. Check out our Sticky Business - How to Glue Neodymium Magnets article for some good gluing tips.
Because the mount was already there (and we have quick access to magnets), this solution took less time than it took you to read this far in the blog!
But what if your vehicle doesn't have a front license plate holder already installed?
If you need to add front license plate mount, but don't want to drill into your bumper, then magnets are the perfect solution.
First, you'll want to make sure you have access the space behind your bumper. Sometimes you'll have to remove the splash shield under the vehicle to gain access. We've heard from some customers and have seen forums where they remove the entire front bumper to add magnets - true magnet (and car) enthusiasts!
Next, we found a flexible silicone license plate holder online for around $10. We choose this because it'll contour nicely to the bumper and it also has a small lip to assist in holding the plate in place (plus it was cheap).
To show what we did, we used a piece of plexiglass to simulate the thickness of a typical bumper. We put some DX08TP-N52 on the backside of the "bumper", attracting to some DX0H1 placed in the corners of the silicone holder. The holder is being sandwiched between the pairs of magnets. Then we put the plate into the holder and used some DC2E on top of the plate, which attract to the DX0H1in the holder.
Looking at it from the side, the layers are DX08TP-N52 - bumper - silcone holder - DX0H1- license plate - DC2E. If you ever wanted to change out the plate, all you would need to do is remove the DC2E, but the new plate in place, and put the magnets back on. It can be done in seconds!
What if you just wanted to use magnets with no holder? The DX08TP-N52 behind the bumper could still work but we'd then suggest other rubber coated magnets on the front of the bumper. The rubber coating is weather resistant and won't scratch the paint. It's also grippy, which makes it hard to slide around. More DX08TP-N52 would be very secure, but something like the RX054TP-N52 would also work well. Then the license plate could be sandwiched between the RX054TP-N52 on the bumper and some RX054TP-N52 or DC2E on top.
Another option would be to just sandwich the plate and bumper between a few pairs of the DX08TP-N52.
Our Plastic/Rubber Coated magnets are our first choice for outdoor applications, since nickel plated magnets can eventually corrode outside. The rubber coating offers additional grip to the surface to help prevent the magnets from sliding around. The epoxy coating of the DC2E has additional corrosion protection compared to nickel.
We wanted to get some good video shots of how well the magnets held the license plate while driving and of course we had to use magnets! Most camera mounts have a 1/4"-20 thread, which some of our Mounting Magnets also have. Our MMS-C-XC and MMS-C-Y0 both have a 1/4"-20 thread that can quickly be fastened to a camera.
You could also use a RMD-B-Y0, MMS-A-XC, MMS-A-Y0, MMS-B-XC or MMS-B-Y0 with a 1/4"-20" screw placed into the hole, held in place with a nut. This would allow you to use a longer screw if desired. The RMD-B-Y0 might be our first choice since it has a durable, grippy, and protective rubber coating.
If using our standard mounting magnets, it's a good idea to put some thin, protective cover over the magnets, to protect the magnet from scratching the paint on your car. We do have some rubber covers, though they are all metric sizes. A layer of duct tape or felt over the magnets would also work.
Is a magnet stronger than a suction cup mount? A MMS-C-XC with a rubber cover takes 48 lb to pull straight off a steel plate. The RMD-B-Y0 has a pull force of 66 lb! It takes about 40 lb to pull a 2.5" suction cup mount of the steel plate - magnets for the win!
This kind of thing can be great for filming, or another way to mount a dash cam.