Although it’s illegal to have concealed plates while driving on the road, there are still plenty of reasons why you’d want to be able to hide your plates. A license plate frame can help provide privacy, or protect your plates from theft and damage. They’re a great addition for vehicles you take to the track, car shows, or for those spending extended time in storage. Depending on how the frame conceals your plates, you may even find improvements in the aerodynamics of your vehicle.
Whatever the reason you want a hidden plate frame, there are a couple of concerns to think about before making your selection. Making small adaptations to your car doesn’t have to be a difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be easy either. If you don’t look before you leap, you can end up with a plate frame that doesn’t even attach to your vehicle.
Choosing the Right Hidden License Plate Frame
The first thing to think about is the way you want your plate frame to hide your plates. Most hidden license plate frames use a simple shutter design, lowering down to block your plates from view. But some plate frames have more unique solutions, so you’ll want to look closely at how each works. Many hidden license plate frames include two frames, but only one which can close. Depending on the kit you choose and the expectations you have, you may have to buy two plate frames, or select a kit that can remotely close both.
Moreover, you’ll want to know you control the hiding mechanism. In most cases you’ll be given some kind of wireless remote to help you remotely manage the plate frame. But there may also be more direct mechanisms you can use, like a lighter-powered controller.
Aesthetically speaking, you most likely want a frame that closer matches your vehicle. That means an ordinary looking frame that blends invisibly into your car. For any product that’s fixed to the outside of your vehicle, you’re going to want to know about weatherproofing. If your plate frame can’t survive being splashed or stored outside during winter, then it has no business being on a car.
Unless you want to attach junk to your vehicle, having a well-constructed frame is just as important as the frame having all the features you’re looking for. When you’re dealing with brands that you’re not familiar with, warranties and similar guarantees are one of the best assurances you have that you’re dealing with a quality product. User reviews are equally important because they can make product flaws transparent, or expose expectations they had which weren’t met.
Finally, you may want plate frames that are easier to install, or that include everything necessary for installation. Many car products are sold with the assumption that you possess a certain level of expertise, and even a certain range of tools. Some don’t include installation manuals, so ease of use is something to think about if you’re not a professional mechanic.
Hide-Away Cover Up Stealth License Plate Frame
Hide-Away license plate frames look exactly like something you’d see in an old James Bond movie. Their frame uses a plain black design that aesthetically matches up with nearly any vehicle. When you trigger its remote, the plate frames immediately respond and begin to mechanically lower a shutter over your plates. And it’s safe to say Hide-Away’s frame is one of the easier to install frames on the market.
This kit comes with two motorized plate frames, one for the front side of your vehicle, and one for the back. Each are installed using your existing licensee mounting points, meaning anyone can complete the installation in minutes with only the parts they have on hands. These plates should mount easily to virtually all common vehicles, including most trucks, SUVs, vans, and cars. For vehicles that don’t use American plates, there may be the occasional modification that’s necessary to make these frames attach.
Design and Features
The primary control remote is connected through your 12V cigarette outlet. Whether that’s a pro or a con depends entirely on your intended use. Someone who has a satnav or GPS powered by their cigarette outlet may find this remote completely inconvenient. But if you’re not using your outlet or don’t mind plugging in your frames every time you want to use them, this kind of connection works well.
If nothing else, it’s a great backup connection if you end up losing the included keychain-style remote. That remote is mostly like any other license plate frame remote, except it uses an extendable antenna which allows great connection distances.
As for the body of the plate frames, their design is composed of a hardened nylon that’s totally waterproof. The shutter on your plates can be remotely activated at any time, even when your vehicle is roaring down the track. From the moment you hit the button, the plate instantly begins to conceal. But the entire process takes about three seconds from the moment you’ve clicked the button.
No installation instructions are included with the plate. But that’s not really a bad thing because of how easy it is to figure out on your own. If you can manage to remove the plates on your car, then you should have no problem attaching these plate frames. This kit was intended to be used by a single vehicle, but it wouldn’t take much effort to adapt it for working on the rear plates of two separate vehicles.
Show N Go Electric Powered License Plate Frame
As far as custom car modifications go, the Show N Gro Electric Powered Frame is quite inexpensive. For the small number of people these frames were designed for, it offers a remarkably high value. But more than the value, what makes these hidden license plate frames distinct is the way in which they conceal your plates. While most plate frames conceal plates by lowering a shutter, these frames actually rotate the plate itself into a stowed position beneath the bumper of your vehicle.
It’s a design that’s made to work with any vehicle with an ordinary clearance between its bumper and the road. If you’re driving a lowered vehicle or your bumper is only barely above the ground, then it would only be a matter of time until you destroyed the plate frame. That’s why there are a handful of compatibility issues with the Z06, ZR1, and Grand Sport Corvettes constructed over the past 15 years. But standard vehicles shouldn’t suffer have any of those concerns.
Design and Features
Like with similar hidden plate frames, Show N Go’s electric frame activates with the push of one button. Their remote uses the typical keychain-design you see on most hidden license plate frames. And the Show n Go kit comes fully assembled, including universal mounting hardware. Even if you don’t have a bunch of tools hanging around your garage, you’ll still have no problem getting these frames attached. Whether you’re an enthusiast or an amateur, Snow n Go is an approachable choice.
The construction of these plate frames match their price. The design uses an exposed electric cable system that’s not protected from the elements. If you leave this plate frame in the rain, there’s no question it will die almost overnight. That weakness to wetness may be partially remedied when your plates are in the stowed position, protected under your vehicle. But it’s clear from the design of these frames that the vehicle wearing them should be stored in a dry area, like those stored in a protective garage.
With how the plate is lowered, you won’t want to activate the shutter while you’re driving at any significant speed. The only other thing to note is the metal body of the frame itself, which is flimsy and thin. That’s not a terrible thing because plate frames don’t need to be able to withstand a nuclear blast. But it does mean that if you’re not careful during installation, it’s quite easy to bend the thin body of each frame.
Avaparts License Plate Frame Shutter
Avaparts’ design is made to look like a completely ordinary license plate frame, but behind that unassuming appearance you’ll find essentially every feature you could want from a hidden license plate frame. It doesn’t go overboard with frills and extras, and it doesn’t use shoddy materials in its construction. If you’re looking for a dependable if not generic plate frame, then this frame is worth your close attention.
Design and Features
The design of this frame tucks away the edges of your license plate, making it far more difficult to steal. Your plates are completely sealed when you close the shutter, and they can’t be revealed manually without the use of special instruments. Closed designs like this are ideal for protecting your plate from dirt and dust. Unfortunately, each set of plate frames only include one hideaway plate. People looking to get a frame shutter for both their front and back plates will want to look for a different kit.
Like most other hidden license plate frames, you control the hiding action of the frame through an included keychain console. The Avaparts remote is particularly small and lightweight, allowing you to attach to your keys and forget about carrying it at all. There’s no additional ways to access or control the shutter, but many people will find being able to lock-away their plates more valuable than having multiple remotes.
With Avaparts hidden plate frames, what you’re buying is the sturdy metal and plastic construction. It has the rugged design and weatherproofing necessary to ensure the electronics in your plate frames won’t die from rain or cold weather. The aesthetic of these frames gives no outwards indication that they’re capable of hiding plates. If you’re only concerned about concealing either your front or back plate, then it’s hard to find a real flaw with Avaparts hidden license plate frames.
Choosing Between 3 Unique Plate Frames
If you’re installing a plate frame on a vehicle that’s going to only be used indoors, then the Show n Go plate frame is an inexpensive way to cover up your plates. For a vehicle spending its days on tracks and car shows, it’s good enough for getting those jobs done. And the unique way your plates are hidden make Show n Go frames a worthy consideration for any style-oriented vehicle. But the exposed electronics mean their frame isn’t well suited to wet environments, and it doesn’t add much in the ways of theft protection for your plate.
If you’re only concerned about covering one plate frame, then Avaparts frames are a great choice. Their standard closed-shutter design is paired with an incredibly sturdy design that does everything you expect it to do. Although this kit doesn’t come with anything to help you get installation going, that’s largely because Avaparts assumes most of its customer base has at least a couple of tools in their garage. Installation is easy because all you’ll end up needing is some way to remove and reattach the bolts on your existing plate frames.
Finally, the Hide-Away Plates kit is a dual-frame kit that’s good for someone intent on covering both plates on one vehicle. It includes both a remote and a cigarette-outlet powered remote, giving you more options for use than any other plate frame. It uses a design that can be safely activated at any speed, and closure of the shutter takes only about three seconds. Anyone who doesn’t mind paying for the best will want to grab Hide-Away’s plate kit.