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Mystery Hole

What the heck caused this? Something melted through the license plate holder, then through the plastic of the bumper, down to the metal body. A week ago I had the timing belt, plugs and water pump replaced by my mechanic here in Orlando. I didn’t notice anything when I picked it up but I didn’t really do a visual inspection of the front of the car either since it was parked facing a fence when I picked it up. Since then it has been driven by my wife to work 3 times. While there, she parks against and facing her building with only a row of shrubs in front of her. And at home it’s parked in our garage with about a distance of 3 feet from the washing machine. I asked at my repair shop and they said they had no idea what could have caused this other than a diesel truck, however there is no residue typical of a diesel exhaust. Can anyone solve this mystery?

Looks like somebody back into it with their exhaust pipe, left it there for a while.

I wonder if the mechanic left their work light dangling there while doing the work under the hood ?
The incandescent bulb drop light might do that.

It was certainly from the outside in - and roughly circular, it seems. And it didn’t come up from the ground in front of the car. So I’m going with a work light or exhaust pipe as guessed above.

Has it been empty of a plate or did you just remove it for some reason?

I’m guessing while in the shop parking lot someone backed a running vehicle up against it for 10 minutes or so. You’d be surprised how quickly hot exhaust will melt plastic.

I’ll add my vote for the “exhaust pipe” theory. That’s what it looks like to me.

Yours might have been that one in a million cars that got hit by a meteorite. I’m not being fascetious. I can’t even spell the word. Small meteorites hit the earth regularly. They very rarely hit anything, but perhaps you were that one in a million.

My vote is for the shop light hanging down too. They can get pretty hot where I don’t believe an exhaust would be that hot. Also if the plate is ok and no residue, they might not even have noticed they did it. I used a shop light to heat up a bumper cover to straighten a severe dent so they can get pretty warm.

TSM … don’t think it applies in this case, but there is at least one case of a car being whacked by a meteorite. 1992 I think, here’s a link, you can view photos of the damage done.

Just like the lottery I guess, someone somewhere has to eventually get hit by one.

I’m with @GeorgeSanJose. A meteorite would be traveling at many thousands of miles per hour when it hits the atmosphere. There would be much more impact damage behind the plastic license plate holder if a meteorite hit it. I agree that something hot in the shop is a likely reason for the damage.

Wonder who the moderator is? sure have trouble keeping a post up-Kevin

Take it back to the shop. They’ll probably tell you that “they all do that”.

It could easily be a hot exhaust pipe and the vehicle wasn’t still running when the two came in contact. Or a drop light. I wish it was a meteorite, but chances are it wasn’t.

You can get a replacement plastic plate mount.

Re: Cigroller’s question "Has it been empty of a plate or did you just remove it for some reason? "

It never had a plate. In Florida, we only have a plate in the rear. The photo is the front plate holder.

Maybe some fool kid was playing with a propane torch? Sillier things have happened!

A couple of years ago I took a long highway trip for Christmas. I put a cargo rack on the back of my CRV in the trailer hitch receiver and loaded the rack with a couple of plastic storage bins. We stopped for a break after an hour of driving and noticed a funny plastic smell. The exhaust had been blowing on one of the bins and melted right through.

Learned my lesson: don’t put plastic near the end of a tailpipe.

As round as it is I think I’ll lean toward the exhaust pipe theory. Yet, blaming it on the shop may only be anecdotal evidence as , perhaps, you’ve only just now noticed it though it happed at an entirely different time like in traffic of parking lots.

Jt, I agree that the speeds they hit the Earth at are thousands of miles per hour, and the amount of inertia of even a small meteorite can be dramatic, but many very tiny meteorites strike the Earth all the time. Minor damage from these is not unheard of. The too are travelling at extremely high speeds and are extremely hot.

It’s only one theory. I can’t think of anything else that might cause that type of damage.

Looks like you can buy a replacement plate holder and cover up the hole.

Wouldn’t 10 minutes of exhaust have left a lot of soot?