This often overlooked corrosion source may get you pulled over

Corrosion isn’t as much of a eyesore on many of today’s used and new vehicles. Automakers increasingly use corrosion-resistant metals that are custom designed to last and weather the effects of wind, sunlight and the various forms of precipitation that come over the course of four seasons.

The same can’t be said for license plates, however. Over time, the nuts and bolts that hold them in place – not to mention the plates themselves – get that worn and dilapidated look that’s indicative of corrosion.

If you’re not careful and cognizant to these visible manifestations, you just might be pulled over by a traffic enforcement official.

That’s according to a recent advisory message from the Bethesda, Maryland-based Car Care Council, a nonprofit organization that aims to better inform motorists how to get the most effective use out of their automobiles.

“Motorists still need to use their five senses to identify potential repair issues.”

Drivers still need to rely on their faculties
Thanks to more intelligent technologies, passenger cars and trucks frequently inform owners of potential or current issues before they become apparent, evidenced through the ubiquitous “check engine” light or other more idiosyncratic alert systems specific to certain makes and models. These systems aren’t omniscient, however, as motorists still need to rely on their five senses to identify issues that may be difficult to detect without closer inspection.

Rich White, Car Care Council executive director, said motorists need to be ever watchful for indications of disrepair and address them in short order.

“Ignoring certain vehicle repairs may seem to save money in the short term but can lead to extra costs, such as fines or ‘fix-it’ tickets, if these problems are not taken care of when they arise,” White warned. “In some jurisdictions, car owners may even lose their license for certain violations.”

Corrosion can make license plates unintelligible
One of these potential infringements of the law comes in the form of corrosion affecting license plates. Of course, corrosion itself isn’t illegal; it’s a natural manifestation that results from age and chemical processes interacting with metal. However, when corrosion makes license plates difficult to read, drivers may be pulled over because automobiles must be readily identifiable. Typically, violators will be let off with a warning as opposed to a citation and instructed to get the problem fixed with their department of motor vehicles, or wherever they obtained their license plate. The DMV will implement the appropriate measures to have the license plate replaced. Because the replacement may take a few weeks, motorists will likely be issued a temporary plate in the interim.

Another casualty of corrosion affects the nuts and bolts that hold plates in place. Although the rusting that occurs isn’t illegal – since it doesn’t render the letters or numbers unreadable – it nevertheless can make the plates difficult to remove should you have them replaced. To avoid this from occurring, mechanics and auto shops recommend using stainless steel nuts and bolts perth at the outset. In circumstances where rusted nuts and bolts won’t budge with a standard screwdriver or vice grips, using spray lubricant should help loosen them up.

White added that being proactive about corroded license plates, loud exhaust systems and cracked windshields may be inconvenient but it can spare you from frustration and potential citation.

“A few dollars spent on simple vehicle repairs can help avoid trouble with the law,” White advised.