Carpool Lane Stickers Ugly for California

Carpool Lane Stickers Ugly for California

California Tesla Model S Owners are entitled to drive in California carpool (HOV) lanes with just the driver and no passengers in the vehicle. To do so the registered owner needs to apply to the DMV, pay $8.00, and place three stickers on the vehicles: right and left rear quarter panels and the rear bumper.
The quarter panel stickers are larger and aesthetically ugly. They ruin the lines and pleasing look of the vehicle, as does the rear bumper sticker.
When I was recently supercharging in Buellton, California, out of five other Model S's charging while I was there, not one had the stickers affixed to their rears. Yes six Model S's in the same place at the same time!
I just removed my stickers and am keeping them in my glovebox. If I get stopped, I intend to show my stickers to the officer and hope I get off.

tcung11 | July 25, 2013

I agree. I took off the 2 larger stickers for the sides & only keep the small one on the back. I have had motorcycle CHP passing me from behind without problems.

TeslaLandShark | July 25, 2013

This topic has been posted several times before. In a recent thread a MS owner was ticketed because the stickers were not displayed, even though the owner showed the officer that the certificate and stickers were in the glove box.

And yea, those stickers suck. I had them scotch taped from the inside in the little triangle windows in the back seat and the rear window for several months. I got worried that would be insufficent to avoid being ticketed. And I was sure that the one time it happened it would be my wife driving! So I got removable decal replicas made and stuck those on the very lowest point where they would still be visible. I remove them and reapply them before washing the car.

Darmok | July 25, 2013

At least you get to use the HOV lane. Nevada DOT can't be bothered to get around to allowing it here.

sfriedrich | July 25, 2013

Where did you get the replicas made? I want to do that with mine.

JPPTM | July 25, 2013

Please to search this forum, and also go to and search. There are many posts on this topic with a range of opinions. CHP can and will ticket you for failure to attach the stickers (they do not want them shared/moved between vehicles). You can look at the various solutions employed to meet the CA DMV requirements.

TeslaLandShark | July 25, 2013

Well, it’s actually an embarrassing story. I happened to see this web site that makes car magnets. I thought, hey why don’t I have them make magnet replicas of these stupid stickers and I can just slap them on the car and then peel them off and throw them in the trunk when I arrive at my destination.

Just one problem, the MS has an aluminum body! I didn’t actually know that. So I ordered two magnets (the bigger ones) and when they arrived they of course would not stick to the car. They stick just fine to my wife’s SUV but that doesn’t do me a lot of good.

So, I called them up to complain and they said that they have these removable decals and would be willing to send me those at no additional cost (the magnets were about $66 for the pair with shipping).

The magnet solution would have been totally cool, but oh well at least I got something for the money I spent. The place is called I think the decals are actually about $20 more than the magnets so it’s a pretty pricy solution.

JohhnyS | July 25, 2013

Consider it a badge of honor to have HOV stickers. I have had several jealous friends make comments about them. I mounted them as low as possible on the paint. I saw a model S with them mounted on the black trim below the paint.

bt77057 | July 26, 2013, while your idea sounds like a good one, I am here to prove that your idea may not work.

I had just received my stickers, had them with me, got pulled over and got a ticket. Simple as that. He had no patience that I did not have them on my car.

Drive at your own risk...

TommyBoy | July 26, 2013

Did you get an equipment compliance ticket ($40) or a carpool violation ticket ($300) ?

bt77057 | July 26, 2013

Carpool ticket. Failure to display stickers.....blah blah blah

JPPTM | July 26, 2013

...and that is exactly why I mounted mine to the black bottom skirt below the bumper and the fenders. Less obtrusive, yet legal.

Anonymous | July 26, 2013

JPPTM, how about a picture?

EcLectric | July 26, 2013

I've heard two stories of tickets for having the stickers in the glove compartment. I haven't heard of anyone being ticketed when they are actually displaying the stickers. I read the law and it says you have to display the stickers and also says that the CHP has the right to determine how the stickers should be displayed.

I believe the main reason for the tickets is that the CHP wants other drivers to know why you are alone in the carpool lane. They don't want other drivers to see you and think "if he or she can drive in the HOV lane, why can't I?". I would recommend that you make sure that a typical driver can see the stickers. Mine are in the small triangular windows on the sides of the back seats. The angle allows them to be easily seen, and who would steal them? Someone without 8 bucks after their Tesla purchase?

bt77057 | July 26, 2013

Search the tesla motors forum. I saw it on there. That's where I mounted mine as well.

Since then I have had CHP.pass me to pull over a another carpool was a bittersweet moment...

JPPTM | July 26, 2013 to search these forums, and also look at There are photos of various approaches including ones that mimic my installation.

JohnnyMac | July 26, 2013


I also mounted mine to the black bottom skirt below the rear fenders. Much more discrete. Going without the third rear sticker for now as you can clealy see the to side stickes from directly behind the car.

SCCRENDO | July 26, 2013

Me too. Wear them as a badge of honor.

Brian H | July 26, 2013

See, you should have specified the aluminum magnets!

david.cheney | July 27, 2013

I so hate the stickers that I sacrifice travelling in the HOV. Scoff if you will, but I have the luxury of a reverse commute :)

TeslaLandShark | July 27, 2013

Brian H;
Maybe that will be Elon's next big invention!

Mark Z | July 27, 2013

Here is the link to the photos. Scroll down to see them on the thread.

portia | March 6, 2014

I resisted getting them for the longest time, because they were ugly and did not want them on my car, but finally got them to try out the replica idea,
I ordered a sheet of clear decal from, yes look for the product called clear decals, I stuck the HOV sticker on the clear decal, cut out the shape, so now I have reusable stickers (really decals)
make sure the car is clean, then just cling them on, smooth them out, and they stayed on through rain and even a hand car wash by Tesla (I forgot to warn them those were not really stuck on)
I only apply them when I need them.

carlk | March 19, 2014

@portia You mean they are really reusable? How many times you have taken them off and reapply them?

AmpedRealtor | March 19, 2014

Why can't CA do something like what AZ has done, i.e., every AF vehicle must have an AF plate and vehicles with AF plates get HOV access. It's based upon your plate, not an ugly key-shaped sticker. Or why don't they make a simple sticker that can be placed on your license plate? Hybrids in Arizona qualified for HOV access for a short period of time, and those vehicles received a special "hybrid" plate sticker that allowed HOV access.

The solution seems simple, no?

NKYTA | March 19, 2014

Indeed @AR. But here in CA our leaders don't particularly like common sense. ;-)

San Diego Tesla | March 19, 2014


Can you provide more information about the product you purchased. I called and was told that the clear decals are not intended to be re-applied. Thanks

Schlermie | March 19, 2014

I saw a Model S over the weekend and noticed one of the side decals peeling off the car. I would say at least 60% of the leading edge had peeled off and was curled up from being continually beaten by the wind. I'm guessing this is one of the risks you assume when you fashion a reusable decal.

I've had my HOV decals for over a year now and still haven't affixed them to my car. It's not that I strongly object to them. It just hasn't been a priority. I'm sure I'll get to it eventually.

hsadler | March 19, 2014

The intent of the 'law' is to inform authorities that the car has access.

I believe one sticker placed on the black section below the rear bumper (facing towards the rear) is much less obtrusive AND serves the intent.

Our authorities are not that incapable of spotting the sticker or we would have to wrap them around all sides and hang a flag out each window. | March 19, 2014

@AmpedRealtor - They are designed to be hideous so only people who really-really want one are willing to plaster these things all over the car. Rather sad (and yes I have them and hate the way they look).

I'm surprised AZ has it figured out. A far better design.

AmpedRealtor | March 19, 2014

The one time AZ did something right... LOL!

Thomas N. | March 19, 2014

One small one on the rear right bumper and never been stopped. I don't spend a lot of time in the carpool lanes, however.

KWTESLA | March 19, 2014

Stickers are not all that bad if you have a white car as I do the white sticker does not look that bad.
Just put the sticker on and enjoy the ride . It is worth $8 for 2 years !

SCCRENDO | March 19, 2014

Applied my stickers only once. Have had my car a year. All stickers tend to peel. I have had to apply adhesive to get the peeled up plastic part to stick back onto the paper backing. 27000 miles mostly HOV lane so have no real choice,

Chuck Lusin | March 19, 2014

They maybe ugly, but it is sure fun passing everyone else, with out the ugly stickers!

info | March 19, 2014

All aspects of a car's ID (HOV, license #, VIN#, etc.) are capable of being read by a patrol cars RFID scanner. This includes ICE vehicles. The need for all this crap, stickers, license plates, registration forms are all very outdated. | March 19, 2014

@VIN20353 - I wasn't aware any car had RFID tags. Also RFID usually works for very short distances (usually under an inch), so that patrol car would need to get awfully close!

There are also privacy issues about broadcasting all this information. At least it would allow for targeted advertising - perhaps electronic billboards would read your VIN, and then display the appropriate ad - "Get Preperation H". Then again maybe blasting billboards with personalized information might be a bit uncomfortable!

There is a lot going on in the regulation/technical level in the auto industry on how to broadcast information between cars (speed, GPS, direction of travel, etc.) for safety avoidance, yet retain a high degree of privacy. A really complex problem. | March 19, 2014

arggg! remove "avoidance" above.

info | March 19, 2014

Tap. No, I didn't say cars had RFID, it would need to be embedded in the license plate or some type of sticker. RFID has a much longer range the just inches, depending on the ID type and scanner used. Currently your credit card can get scanned at a self-serve gas station (for you ICE owners) by a car parked near you. When you walk into many stores, you will soon be identified to the sales people by your cel phone. | March 19, 2014

Sorry I misunderstood you. I should have checked on RFID range too. It looks like you can get 100 ft or so if battery powered, and 3 ft (or less) if the RFID tag is not powered. The range does go down considerably if next to a metal object, but it could be mounted on the glass hatch to reduce this effect. Attached to a metal license plate could be a problem for range.

I was thinking of NFC, which is a very short distance, now found in most Android Smartphones in the last few years. Apple seems to be ignoring NFC for now and doesn't offer NFC in any devices.

It will be interesting to see where it goes in the next 3+ years.