If you drive an eleven-year-old or older vehicle, permanent plates can be a great option in Montana. Vehicle owners pay $87.50 plus "applicable registration and license fees" one time and never have to worry about renewing their registration as long as they own the car. For everyone else, we slap a new sticker on our plates every year when renewing our vehicle registration.

scarping the sticker off my license plate to put on a new one
Credit Michael Foth, TSM

Thieves steal everything in Montana... including license plate stickers.

I live and work in the Billings area, where theft is a concering problem. Very few neighborhoods are completely immune to dirtbag thieves who will steal just about anything from your yard, garage, driveway, or porch. Packages, lawn ornaments, potted plants, Christmas lights, you name it. With that in mind, I decided to try this little license plate sticker hack I stumbled upon in my feed this week.

most of the old sticker is removed
I'm a lousy scraper. Credit Michael Foth, TSM

First, scrape off the layers of stickers you may have accumulated.

My plates expired in December and the new registration has been sitting on my counter for almost two months. After a recent trip through the carwash to remove two snowstorms worth of road grime, I finally got around to putting the new tabs on my plate today.

Credit Michael Foth, TSM
Credit Michael Foth, TSM

Next, put on the new sticker.

Okay, I did a very crappy job of scraping. A perfectionist might remove the plate, get some Goo Gone, and really clean it up. I felt like my scrape job was sufficient for this task, so I slapped on the new registration sticker for 2024.

X marks the spot. Credit Michael Foth, TSM
X marks the spot. Credit Michael Foth, TSM

Then, slice an X on the new sticker with a sharp knife.

Here's the hack. To prevent someone with expired plates from stealing your sticker and putting it on their car, carefully cut an X in the new sticker with a sharp knife. I used a box cutter, but a razor blade or sharp pocket knife would work too.

Now, if some loser tries to peel off your sticker, it will come apart in at least 4 pieces and be worthless. Of course, you'll probably end up back at the DMV anyway to get a replacement sticker. Ugh, thieves suck.


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