I'm curious if anyone knows how to reattach the rear hatch panel on a 1996 VW GTI which houses the license plate shown in the photo below. This panel additionally contains the lock and release mechanism for the rear hatch.

1996 VW GTI rear hatch

At present this panel appears to be securely hanging from the top portion of the panel. Additionally it appears it may just have been glued on, but that seems very janky to me.


  • Have you taken the panel off from the inside of the hatch? maybe there are some screws or clips that it attaches to. – Zencyl May 16 '11 at 5:57
  • I've not taken off the panel inside the hatch, however it's hanging out far enough such that it's clear there are no screws. – bboe May 16 '11 at 8:02

After properly taking it apart, I learned the plastic mounts were actually broken and the "glue" that was there was likely do to a previous repair job. I went to a local WV dealer to get the part replaced and they informed me that they no longer manufacture that part. Bummer!

After additional inspection, I learned that the flat-headed bolts, which the plastic mounts used to slide over, were actually long enough to secure the piece from the outside. I drilled holes through the piece and successfully secured it with the flat part of the bolt

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You should detach the panel and inspect it thoroughly. Perhaps there are some screw mounts and/or broken clips.

Depending on inspection results various solutions may appear (using new screws, or complete replacement). It's impossible to fix without better inspection.

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  • You are correct, additional inspection was needed. It appears there were flat bolts that were to be inserted into these plastic mounts (the broken pieces) and then placed on the hatch and secured via nuts. – bboe Oct 7 '11 at 0:39

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