Tesla 3 California HOV Decal Placement Guide

Tesla 3 California HOV Decal Placement Guide

Wondering how to place these hideous things on your beautiful new Model 3?
I made a guide:

cornellio | 27. Juni 2018

Would I look like a total jerk using the HOV lanes if I don't put these hideous things on? I still have the world's best license place, "ZERO EMISSIONS" and isn't it pretty obvious to people this car qualifies?

I can't bare doing it yet. The thing is, so many people are cheating around the Bay Area, driving SUVs and German gas guzzlers solo in the HOV lanes. I see nobody getting cited. I don't mind risking the citation, I just don't want people to think I'm cheating.

Magic 8 Ball | 27. Juni 2018


Nice, well done. I was thinking getting a red car so they blend in better but as I understand it everyone will have to apply for new stickers at end of the year (I think the red ones are a temporary measure till then). Do you have any intel on this?

rxlawdude | 27. Juni 2018

I wish CHP would conduct a two week dragnet on HOV lanes. A good 30% are HOV lane cheats (single occupant ICEbelchers).

But I expect CHP to also get down on Teslas with no stickers after 1/1/19, as a bunch of us lose our access and there's no easy way to tell which are eligible for the extension (e.g., stickers after 1/1/17) and which of us got screwed.

RSavage_92024 | 27. Juni 2018

Yeah doesn't much matter where you put the hideous still trashes the look of the car. I'm still wondering why one each, front and rear, isn't seems to be fine for license plates. Oh wait, I'm trying to be bad.

CST | 27. Juni 2018

Nice garage! Also, thanks for helping us.

cnistal1 | 27. Juni 2018

My placement is almost identical to yours. Except, the front sticker is under the turn signal. I thought it was less obtrusive. Also have White. :)

Chris | 27. Juni 2018

@cornellio The decals aren't free ($22), and they're only available if you decline the $500 Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (which many Tesla owners will not qualify for anyway due to income restrictions), so it's not enough to simply be an EV.

If caught, minimum fine is $481.

dgstan | 27. Juni 2018

I would never in a million years apply stickers to the painted surface. I'll put them in the rear windows like I did with my Prius and the Prius before that.

cnistal1 | 27. Juni 2018

You don't apply them directly to the paint. I used Xpel underneath the stickers (cut to size). Several videos on this process on Youtube. They still look ugly though!

lilbean | 27. Juni 2018

I just put my kids in the back. They are easily removable.

cornellio | 27. Juni 2018

rxlawdude, good to know. I wasn't aware of the date some of us will lose access. A dragnet on HOV lanes is what we need.

dgstan, good idea, putting mine in rear window too.

Magic 8 Ball | 27. Juni 2018

Putting stickers in the window does not conform to CA requirements.
Just letting you know in case you run into a CHP having a bad day.

mfong | 27. Juni 2018

I placed mine in almost the same places except my front sticker I put way down below the left turn signal light. Also my side rear stickers I placed slightly lower. They are a little less noticeable on Midnight Silver than on White.

dgstan | 27. Juni 2018

douwe is 100% correct. FWIW, though, I've driven with stickers in the windows since 2005 and never had a problem. Still illegal, but perhaps not enforced.

cnistal1 | 27. Juni 2018

I've seen one CHP sting on the 405 in the last 5 years. I had my stickers on my previous EV, so I was good. However, those without the stickers in the correct locations were getting pulled over. Lots of cheaters on the side of the road getting tickets as well.

Jmereminsky | 27. Juni 2018

Nice - I went "as low as you can go" on my Pearl White. You can barely see the front sticker - good luck to me!

Magic 8 Ball | 27. Juni 2018


dgstan | 27. Juni 2018

One reason I originally put the stickers in the windows was that, way back when, there were reports of people defacing and/or tearing the yellow stickers off the Priuses. I figured they wouldn't damage the windows.

I've driven right through those stings on the 405 (SOC) with no stickers visible from the front. No one ever batted an eye. I guess I've been lucky.

leo.d.chen | 28. Juni 2018

I prefer this look on the front:

On the back, did similar to yours but I left off the side one and just scooted the small one over a bit.

Magic 8 Ball | 28. Juni 2018


nicktrash | 28. Juni 2018

I've seen several Model s around here (and this is the densest part of the country for Tesla's, with the stickers on the rear window behind the C pillar. I know it's not completely compliant with CHP law, but what does CHP do if/when they see this placement? Is it a full violation of the HOV lane penalty, or a fix it ticket?

I mean, probably well over 80% of the Teslas on the road out here have no front license plate. That's a violation as well (25$ administrative fee after fixing the violation). I don't see people rushing to comply with that code.

Magic 8 Ball | 28. Juni 2018

You break the rules you take your chances ; )

I think it is up to the discretion of the CHP as to what they hit you with. Keep in mind when they pull you over for one thing other things may be brought to their attention.

cnistal1 | 28. Juni 2018

I'm going to guess that the front HOV sticker was recently added for a reason. When the CHP sets up their stings, on the left side of the Freeway, the front sticker will help identify the cheaters very quickly (don't have to wait for the car to pass).
I personally don't have time for "fix it" tickets. So, I decided to apply all my stickers as recommended using Xpel. If I change my mind, or sell the car further down the road. I can easily remove them without damaging the paint.
For now, I'm dealing with the ugly stickers. :)

czamara | 28. Juni 2018

The guide did not mention anything about minimum height from the bottom for the side decals, just that they had to be behind the rear wheel. So I put them at the very bottom of the car and you can barely notice them. If I get pulled over I have the instructions in the glove box, not that the cop would care, but it shows I'm willing to take it to court. So far have passed cops watching the carpool lane without incident.

richard | 28. Juni 2018

I am more concerned how to remove them at the end of the year without leaving marks. Did you have photosync all the way in the hatch?

dgstan | 28. Juni 2018

cnistal1 - The front stickers were specified in 2005 when I got my first set (yellow).

nvjx | 28. Juni 2018

Anyone have a link to instructions on how to use the xpel with stickers?

posinator | 28. Juni 2018

I ordered Under Sticker Decals from RPMTesla and there's this video to explain how to install: / kyuP9l8PCeg

jwitkin | 28. Juni 2018

Ditto RPM Sticker Decals. I already had my car ceramic coated and was concerned the PPF wouldn't stick, but no problem so far. They work great, and are pre-cut perfectly.

The new red HOV stickers will probably be changed to some other color in a year. I gather the tamper-proof adhesive on them is really gnarly --- wouldn't want to apply it directly to my car!

cnistal1 | 28. Juni 2018

Well, they weren’t specified with the white sticker set I got for my original EV. 0nly 3 stickers in the set. Never seen a yellow sticker in the front. Have only seen the recent red sticker on the front.

dgstan | 28. Juni 2018

I never had the white. Only yellow and green. Both came with 4 stickers (2 large, 2 small). Each time, I put one small one in the back window and the other small one in the rear side window. I've got both large ones of each color. Maybe I'll donate them to a car museum or something.

When I lived in SoCal, the stickers were highly desirable. Here in the Bay Area, the carpool lanes are just as messed up as the rest, so no one cares too much.

Magic 8 Ball | 29. Juni 2018


cnistal1 | 29. Juni 2018

Nice to see that RPM now has precut templates for the HOV stickers. Would have saved me some time and money. Great idea!

Magic 8 Ball | 29. Juni 2018


lilbean | 29. Juni 2018

That makes it so much easier for the person who wants to steal them.

eejoby | 29. Juni 2018

I stuck mine on much lower.

cnistal1 | 29. Juni 2018

Haven't heard of anyone trying to steal an HOV stickers in years. It's near impossible to tell the HOV stickers have the protective film underneath. If they steal them with the film underneath, my paint won't have all the residue to remove. Which would require paying a detailer to remove it professionally. If your stickers are stolen, it's possible to reorder a new set from the DMW. Hopefully, that won't happen!

billlake2000 | 29. Juni 2018

Is it okay to just cut a rectangle of xpel, or should ya cut it to the exact shape of the decal?

cnistal1 | 29. Juni 2018

I think it's preferable to cut to size. Looks better and not as easy to spot. Or opt for RPM precut option. Very good price and will save you time.

ST70 | 29. Juni 2018

I haven't put mine on and never had an issue in 3 years...I haven't put them on my wife's 3 and she hasn't had any issues. We don't drive that often in the HOV lanes though. Now that they are expiring mine in another year (since the new Teslas get lower Zero emissions???) maybe there will be issues. Any Cops here that can comment?

kevcabrera | 29. Juni 2018

I am picking up my car tomorrow and am prepping to submit all my documentation for the California rebate. Does anyone have any useful advice? Am I submitting the final purchase agreement?

sroh | 29. Juni 2018

I used the RPM Tesla cutouts. It's not cut perfectly to size. It's a bit bigger than the stickers. I personally recommend just buying some ppf on Amazon and cut to size.

Bryan.whitton | 30. Juni 2018

One other possible advantage, if you get into a fender bender and need to replace/repaint the fender you won't have to order replacements. This happened on my wife's Honda FIT EV. A guy side swiped her gently and had to get a quarter panel repainted. If we had used these the body shop could have simply removed them and placed them back on after the paint was applied. Instead we ordered new ones that DMV shipped to the dealer. The dealer didn't know why they received them or who they were for. We kept contacting DMV and they kept saying that they had already shipped. It took a couple of weeks but eventually she went to the dealership and picked them up. This would have been cheaper and faster with no down time.

Magic 8 Ball | 30. Juni 2018


Chris | 17. September 2018

OP here. So I got rear-ended and had the rear bumper replaced, meaning I have a chance to do this over. I still have the left-rear decal I omitted the first time to use (otherwise you need to send in another $22 for replacements.)

This time I'm going to use an Xpel underlay, and I'm going to only apply the larger sticker to the right side--omitting the small rear sticker. I rarely see police drive in the HOV so I think rear visibility is less important than side visibility. We'll see.

I remain happy with the front sticker placement but I do think czamara's placement inside the wheel intake vent is a great option that looks "right."

zach | 06. September 2019

This guide was super-helpful, except the part about placement of the sticker on the front left bumper — unless I’m reading this incorrectly the Small sticker goes on the front right bumper:

“Small Decals-
For white decals, place on the right side of the rear bumper only, with the state seal pointed up on the bottom of the decal.
For green and red decals, place on the right side of each bumper, front and rear, with the state seal pointed up on the bottom of the decal.”

The relevant text is “place on the right side of each bumper, front and rear”. Nothing about the left side of the car, which would be a puzzling location.


lbowroom | 06. September 2019

Right side when facing the front bumper is the left side of the car. It's for CHP who are sitting in the center divide looking at oncoming traffic. From what I remember there are diagrams that come along with the text that clearly show it on the drivers side of the car.

Los Angeles | 06. September 2019

Flexible magnetic sheets. Put the sticker on there and then cut around it. When you need to go into the HOV lane slap them on when your alone. When you don't you dont have to look at them.

Magic 8 Ball | 06. September 2019

Magnets don't work on plastic.