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Front License Plate Wrap?

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
7,128
9,163
Seattle area, WA
Quite a few states have reflective plates. The standard CA plate is reflective. I would assume you can make a reflective stick on plate.
Not sure whether the reflectiveness is a legal requirement, or just an artifact of that design. For example, most plates are made of metal, that doesn't mean a sticker plate must be made of metal. The metal plates are heavier than vinyl, but it doesn't mean you must make a heavy sticker. So you don't have to duplicate every single property. If most plates are reflective, it does not automatically mean all plates must be reflective. Actually I've seen non-reflective vanity plates in my state, and I'm sure the electronic plates now legal in CA are also not as reflective.

PS> I've asked a couple of cops about the vinyl plates I have been using, none of them had any problems with them. One mentioned it's legal to hand draw plate number on a car cover, so why not a sticker. The other mentioned that plate covers (which may reduce reflectivity) are legal, as long as the plate is clearly visible.
 
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I like how they have "Patented" on their website. I have "prior art" as I've been doing this for many, many years, just took a scan of the plate and had a signage store make me vinyl wrap "sticker". One of the signage stores even started offering this as a turnkey service for other customers after doing one for me.
i imagine this is frowned upon by the dmv.... you can imagine the problems this would cause with false license plates. If you get pulled over, you are supposed to have the original plate and the letter from dmv approving the wrap in the car.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
7,128
9,163
Seattle area, WA
i imagine this is frowned upon by the dmv.... you can imagine the problems this would cause with false license plates. If you get pulled over, you are supposed to have the original plate and the letter from dmv approving the wrap in the car.
Why? If, as you say, the requirement is to have paperwork proving that the plate is not fake, well, we already have it, it's called registration. If the license plate number on the registration matches the plate, they know it's not fake. The extra letter of authenticity for the wrap adds absolutely nothing to the equation beyond the official registration paperwork which every car has - so it would be useless in terms of helping against fake plates.
 
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Why? If, as you say, the requirement is to have paperwork proving that the plate is not fake, well, we already have it, it's called registration. If the license plate number on the registration matches the plate, they know it's not fake. The extra letter of authenticity for the wrap adds absolutely nothing to the equation beyond the official registration paperwork which every car has - so it would be useless in terms of helping against fake plates.
because they need to have oversight over license plate numbers. if anyone could make anything anytime... that would be a regulatory mess, and open to abuse and criminal activity. Whether you think it's necessary or not, it's another layer of security for the dmv.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
7,128
9,163
Seattle area, WA
because they need to have oversight over license plate numbers. if anyone could make anything anytime... that would be a regulatory mess, and open to abuse and criminal activity. Whether you think it's necessary or not, it's another layer of security for the dmv.
Again, if it's just some letter of authenticity, it's useless because the authenticity cannot be verified without asking the driver for paperwork, at which point you already have registration you can use to validate. If the actual sticker itself had some kind of a seal/watermark/hologram or even cryptographically protected built-in NFC chip which cannot be easily duplicated, then sure, it could be helpful as authenticity could be verified by just examining the plate, but that's not the case here, nor is it needed. When parking your car on the street and using a car cover, it's legal for you to just write the plate number on cover with chalk -law enforcement just compares that number against the registration if in doubt (they can get registration from the owner, or just look it up by the VIN which is the primary way to identify cars). Note that in CA even electronic LCD based plates are now legal, those can be hacked to show anything you want - the only way to catch that is to compare the VIN registration against what the plate shows. With electronic plates there is even more room to cheat as the shown plate number can change quickly - for example always show the correct number when dealing with law enforcement, but change while driving.
 
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Again, if it's just some letter of authenticity, it's useless because the authenticity cannot be verified without asking the driver for paperwork, at which point you already have registration you can use to validate. If the actual sticker itself had some kind of a seal/watermark/hologram or even cryptographically protected built-in NFC chip which cannot be easily duplicated, then sure, it could be helpful as authenticity could be verified by just examining the plate, but that's not the case here, nor is it needed. When parking your car on the street and using a car cover, it's legal for you to just write the plate number on cover with chalk -law enforcement just compares that number against the registration if in doubt (they can get registration from the owner, or just look it up by the VIN which is the primary way to identify cars). Note that in CA even electronic LCD based plates are now legal, those can be hacked to show anything you want - the only way to catch that is to compare the VIN registration against what the plate shows. With electronic plates there is even more room to cheat as the shown plate number can change quickly - for example always show the correct number when dealing with law enforcement, but change while driving.
you can use the lcd plates with approval from the dmv.

of course, you can do anything to make it illegal. doesn't make what you are doing legal. you can do anything with the intent of being legit. doesn't necessarily make it legal.
 

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
9,278
19,929
Clark Co, WA
you can use the lcd plates with approval from the dmv.

of course, you can do anything to make it illegal. doesn't make what you are doing legal. you can do anything with the intent of being legit. doesn't necessarily make it legal.

WhiteX is in Washington state and you're in California. I don't know the WAC on license plates, but the state of WA may not be as concerned as CA about this.
 
WhiteX is in Washington state and you're in California. I don't know the WAC on license plates, but the state of WA may not be as concerned as CA about this.
fair... but are there states that let you fabricate your own license plates, regardless of material? And the licensewrap company makes it a point to say they are only approved in CA... I take that to mean they won't sell to out of state, because they aren't allowed to sell out of state, to any other state. I imagine if it were allowed, they'd sell to a state that let them....
 

focher

Active Member
Oct 15, 2013
1,490
3,047
Bay Area
Care to provide a source for that legal conclusion?
For sure, in California you need to be in an approved program for a replacement to be legal. No one needs to cite a source because its legality is determined by inclusion, meaning if the DMV hasn’t approved it then it’s not legal. I appreciate your point that registration could act as proof but that’s not the current California regulation - which requires the DMV letter. Arguing how how it could or should work is an interesting discussion over a beer, but it won’t save you from a fine or citation.
 
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For the official DMV Legal and California State Approved License Plate Wrap, if you sell or return a leased vehicle, you must surrender the license plate wrap back to them. From their FAQs:

Q20: What do I do with the LPW when my lease ends or I sell my vehicle?

A: You will need to remove the LPW and surrender it back to us by mailing it to P.O. BOX 4105 Huntington Beach, CA. 92605. You are also required to provide us with the date removed and ending mileage.
 

focher

Active Member
Oct 15, 2013
1,490
3,047
Bay Area
I'm considering on new M3, still haven't received my real plates yet. Had PPF applied last week, the guy told me with the curve of the front is difficult to keep the sticky tape to the plate holder.
Saw a website selling for $85, wondering who else has used similar websites to purchase these.
licenseplatewrap.com is the company that can officially do it under the DMV program. I've had one on my 2018 Model 3 for a few years and it works fine. Best idea is to put the decal on PPF, then apply on top of your current PPF. Your PPF installer will probably do it for you. Mine did.
 

kithytom

Special Guest
Jul 30, 2021
244
136
F3V4+837
For sure, in California you need to be in an approved program for a replacement to be legal. No one needs to cite a source because its legality is determined by inclusion, meaning if the DMV hasn’t approved it then it’s not legal. I appreciate your point that registration could act as proof but that’s not the current California regulation - which requires the DMV letter. Arguing how how it could or should work is an interesting discussion over a beer, but it won’t save you from a fine or citation.
how do you request "the DMV letter" to participate the program?
 

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