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attaching license plates

Does anyone have the measurement of the bolts required to mount the front and rear license plates and where to get them? I've never had a car that didn't include them before. Are they all standard?

They are standard. The bolts should have come with the car. They put mine in a little bag and put it in the glove box until my plates came in.

Hmmm. The glove box was the first place I checked but no luck. Guess they missed putting them in. I thought it was strange. Thanks.

FYI, I've driven without a front plate around the Puget Sound area for the past five years (and the past three months with my Model S) and have not had a problem.

I opted to not have Tesla mount my front plate but they still gave it to me in a plastic bag in the rear footwell, including the bolts. I'm going to go as long as I can without mounting the front plate.

While in the service center last time I was told they have a ton of them. If you are close to one, you can stop by and they should have some. Were you given a front mounting bracket?

I chose to not have mine installed and am holding on as long as I can. I have a Skene design bracket ready to go on if it's ever called for.


Anyone know if you get pulled over without a front license plate, is it a "fix it or ticket" or are you fined right away in WA?

Still awaiting delivery, but was thinking about leaving the front plate off and just keeping the license plate in the frunk.

We just got a $47 citation by a meter maid on 1st in Belltown last night while out for dinner for not having a front plate. Crazy! We even had a valid parking sticker for street side parking. I cannot believe that a meter maid is nailing appropriately-paid parkers for non-parking violations. This won't make me put the front plate on, however.


Meter maids should all drive electric Smart Cars. Scofflaws would never hear them coming!

Go to the. Service center and theyll install in 2 minutes

I just installed the plates. I found the four bolts in the glove compartment. By the way, the car still looks cool with the front plates installed. I even istalled the eazy pass transponder on the front plate. IT IS COOL!!

Just finished installing the front plate, with NO drilling. Took about twenty minutes total.

Picked up two 5/16-8 3" J-bolts ($0.79 ea.) and two Nylock 5/16 nuts ($0.14 ea.). Found these at Stoneway Hardware in Seattle where they have perhaps the largest assortment of fasteners in the area.

1. Reamed the two outboard holes on the Tesla backing plate just a bit to make the bolts an easy fit.

2. Centered the plate below the nose cone, noted which two slots in the cooling grill matched the holes.

3. Inserted the J-bolts in those two slots with the hooks horizontal.

4. Baked off the two nuts that came on the J-bolts until the threads extended through the backing plate just far enough for the Nylock nuts to fully seat.

5. Used a 1/2" socket wrench to tighten the Nylock nuts, then a 1/2" end wrench to tighten the other two bolts behind the backing plate.

6. Used four of the Tesla furnished self-tapping screws to attach the license plate to the backing plate. (BTW, these are screws, not bolts, and should only be tightened using the correct size Star driver, NOT a Phillips screwdriver which can damage the screws.)

7. Then used the same Star driver and the four Tesla screws in the pouch marked "rear" to attach the rear plate.

8. As the front plate now extended just a bit ahead of the front "bumper" I undid step 6 to install a flexible rubber license plate frame to protect the front plate from those drivers who parallel park by ear. (Found this clever frame on It also covers the four screws for a much cleaner look.)

Both front and rear plates are very snug and rattle free. Took a few pictures which I will be happy to share with anyone sending an email to mountainbooks at juno . com


The rear plate attaches with quite different self tapping screws. These require a 1/8" Allen driver or wrench.

Another correction!

Just heard from someone that the posted email address didn't work. They were correct, it was a no longer active address.

Correct address to see pictures via email: mountainbooks at comcast dot net

Perhaps someone who is a whiz at such things could convert these pictures to a url that could be posted here, and elsewhere?


Just finished mounting my front plate with J-bolts. Works well. How did you attach the top two holes in the plate to the backing? Mine aren't tapped. Looks like they'll need some small bolts to secure them. Also how tight did you cinch up the nylocks on the J-bolt? I'm a bit worried that dirt will get between the edges of the mounting plate and the nosepiece and scratch it.

@ brandtlings

If you inverted the mounting plate, it will be low enough that it will not touch the nose cone.

The four screws from Tesla are self-tapping. No nuts or bolts needed.

First, place a 5/16" thin flat washer on each side of your mounting plate. Turn the Nylock nut until it is fully seated on the bolt, with no threads exposed. Then use an end wrench to tighten the rear (non-Nylock) nut until things are snug. The Nylock nut will keep them snug.

I have not had front plates on my Mercedes for 11 years. When I was pulled over police have never said anything about the front plates...I did get a ticket from a meter maid at the court house, when my car was parked. I park in pay lots have no trouble since.


How much was the Ticket?

I haven't decided if i'm going to put my front license plate on yet. I did acquire some of these, per the suggestion from another Tesla owner and they look really nice, will use them if the ticket cost is too much:

I did get a mocking question from the US Border guard as I re-entered the country from Canada "So do you have a *rear* license plate?", clearly disgusted that he had to leave his box and walk to the back of my car to verify that my US Plates. But nothing more than that. Not yet anyway.

THose border guards can be rude. How irritating from a public servant, since many states dont require front plates.

However since they have authority to trash your car (or private plane) to 'look for drugs' without any obligation to pay damages... you have to tolerate their unpleasantness.

I've been wondering about making a duplicate of my actual front license plate on a vinyl wrap material. I supose it wouldn't be technically legal, but it would in principle satisfy the purpose of the law. That is to make your license plate information visible from the front of the car.

Any lawyer out there that can address this issue?

And your goal is to wrap the nose cone so that it wouldn't affect the aerodynamics?

I think it would probably look weird and attract more attention than if you just didn't have the plate at all.

@David70 Cool idea! wonder if Metropolitan detail would do that for you? (or me for that matter).

@ Bperry01

If memory serves, is was $47.00. A price I'm willing to pay on occasion to keep the plate off the front end..

I took mine to the service center, and they installed the plates in about 15 seconds with the bolts, which they had. No charge.

I took a couple of 14" long aluminum bars (3/4"X1/8") and bent them to 90 degrees. They screw to the bottom of the car and the plate holder is screwed to the upright part. The plate can easily be removed and sets lower than what TM does. Its location, low in the front has a pro and a con. When pulling into a curb for parking, the plate will hit the curb and bend. This hurts the plate but saves the car.

Anyone else having trouble getting the rear plate screws off? They look like Phillips but I'm not sure if they are. They just look different.

The rear plate screws are Torx, also called star screws. Best to use a Torx driver or socket.

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