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What To Do With Old License Plates Michigan

If you live in Michigan, you might have a few old license plates lying around. If so, do you know what to do with them?

In this post, we’ll go over what to do with your old license plates in Michigan. This is a state with strict laws on the books, so you don’t want to run afoul of them.

With that being said, there aren’t any strict regulations regarding the disposal of license plates. As a matter of fact, the Michigan Secretary of State doesn’t require you to turn in obsolete license plates.

What To Do With Old License Plates Michigan

If you do so, though, you should keep them in a safe place. Also, if you’re concerned about someone stealing them, the best way to prevent this is by storing them in a secure place.

What to do with old license plates Michigan

Keep as souvenir

Souvenirs are vital to many people.

They’re especially important to those who travel a lot for work or for pleasure.

If you want to get the most use out of your old license plates in Michigan, you’ll want to keep them as souvenirs.

These plates can serve as mementos of significant dates in your life.

You could put your old plates onto a wall and look back on them when the memories come flooding back.

Perhaps, the car you got them from is no longer around but served a sentimental purpose during your life.

Your old Michigan plates could serve as a reminder of that car and its purpose in your life.

Look into having specialty frames made for them so they’ll look impeccable on any wall.

In addition, make sure that you hang them in places where you can see them easily.

Another option is to make a collage of some of the most interesting plate numbers from throughout your state’s history.

Send them back to the DMV

The DMV is the state agency in charge of your license plates.

You’ll need to send the old plates there when you can no longer use them.

If you’ve kept them around longer than you should have, it’s time that they go back to the DMV so they can be recycled.

Usually, you’ll find several DMV facilities across the state where you can return old plates to.

Sending the plates back to the DMV is usually the easiest way to go about it.

You should get in touch with the appropriate DMV facility and find out how you should proceed with returning your old plates.

In most cases, they’ll recommend that you return them in person or mail them back.

Send them to a friend or family member

If you want, you can send your old plates to a friend or family member in another state.

Many people do this as an interesting way to give someone a unique gift.

If you could find someone who lives out of state, it could make for a great gift if they start a collection of old license plates from different states.

Some people are just interested in old license plates, so they might appreciate your offering of Michigan’s old plates.

Other people are into collecting old license plates because they want to preserve them.

They’ll appreciate receiving the plates you’ve got lying around.

With that said, only gift the plates to someone trustworthy and one that’ll appreciate them.

Think about the person you’re giving the plates to and what they’ll be doing with them.

You’ll have a better idea of whether or not sending the plates to them is a good idea.

Sell your license plates online

There is actually a market for old license plates.

If you’re able to identify a few people who are interested in buying old Michigan license plates, you could make a little money from them.

Keep in mind, most of the people who buy plates look for vintage or antique plates.

You’ll have to check the current market value of your old plates before you sell them.

If they’re worth a good bit, you’ll be able to get a nice price for them.

Also, make sure that you’re comfortable parting with the plates because you might not get them back once they’ve been sold online.

In most cases, they tend to be sold at auctions and are shipped directly to the buyer’s location.

Take old plates to a scrap metal facility

License plates are made of aluminum, so they can be recycled like any other aluminum products.

Your old plates could be turned into a brand new license plate or another product made from aluminum.

You’ll want to check the recycling laws for your state.

The best way to get rid of your old license plates is by taking them to a scrap metal facility in your area.

These facilities will pay you a small amount of money for the plates, and you’ll do something nice for the environment at the same time.

Take them to a recycling center

Recycling has immense benefits to the environment that you’ll appreciate.

Many people don’t know about all of the things that can be recycled.

This includes license plates.

If you want to be good to the planet, recycle your old Michigan license plates.

You can normally take your old plates to recycling centers near your home or work place.

Just keep in mind that you might not get paid for turning in the plates in this way, so it’s best to only do this if you’re doing it out of goodwill and not because of financial reasons.

Doing so will help keep your old plates from cluttering the environment by taking up space in landfills.

Additionally, chop up the plates and remove tags before dropping them off at a recycling center.

Otherwise, they might fall in the wrong hands and end up being used for unscrupulous purposes.

This can be dangerous as they may lead to identity theft.


In Michigan, you don’t have to give back your old license plates, so you can get creative! You can hang them up as cool reminders of past cars or special memories. If you’re crafty, you can even turn them into unique frames or art for your walls.

If you don’t want them, the DMV will usually take them back, or you can pass them on to a collector friend as a neat gift. Some people might even pay you for vintage plates if you sell them online. Or, be kind to the Earth and recycle them – just be sure to cut them up first to keep your info safe. Keep those old plates out of the trash and use them in fun, smart ways instead!


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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