License plate frames are one of those items on your car that you likely overlook. That is, they are easy to overlook until you no longer have one on a vehicle. Modern day license plates are much thinner than their counterparts from the past. For this reason, the plates -- particularly those on the front of the bumper -- tend to get bent easily. In some states, you are financially responsible for purchasing any replacement plates for those that get damaged, so this can be a major concern. The following can help you choose the best frame for your car.
License plate frames come in two main material options, metal or plastic. Plastic frames are affordable and readily available. Their main drawback is in terms of durability, since plastic can break relatively easily. If you opt for plastic, choose a thick, sturdy frame. Avoid those that have been painted or chromed, as this will fade rather quickly and make the frame look bad. Metal frames, typically made from carbon fiber or steel, are much more durable -- a must if you spend a lot of time driving on dirt. Any designs are typically etched into the metal so fading won't be an issue.
Check the Mount
If you live in North America and are ordering online, you may run into two mounting styles, a two hole or four hole mount. Four hole mounts are more durable since they are held down on the top and bottom of the frame, but not all cars are equipped for this type of frame. The two hole mount is more common across all vehicles. Check your car first before ordering the frame to make sure it will work with the mounting bracket on your vehicle.
Know Your Screens
You can purchase frames with an included screen. Be careful, though, since some screen covers can be illegal. Those designed to make the license plate illegible to traffic cameras, for example, may be illegal in your state. Tinted screens may also be illegal since they can make the plate hard to read. Clear screens designed to protect the plate from harsh weather, on the other hand, are typically legal.
Finally, have fun with your frame and choose one personalized to you. For example, you can go simple and get a plate branded to match your vehicle, such as one of the Acura logo license plate frames if you drive an Acura. Or, you can opt for a frame that celebrates your favorite hobby, sports team, or charity. The sky is the limit, so have fun when picking out your new frame.