Front license plate

Front license plate

CA requires the installation of front license plate. Can you have the frame installed when you pick up your new car or have it delivered to your house?

jvcesare | July 18, 2018

The frame is in the trunk. It uses double sided 3M tape. You can install yourself or just pay the $12 fine you get a ticket. Most Teslas I see in CA have no front plate.

markr7 | July 18, 2018

They (TESLA) will install it for you if you request them to, however, be aware it is a simple installation, just peel off the 3M adhesive, center the plate on the front of the car & press firmly - Done!

rkalbiar1EV | July 18, 2018

I do believe they will install it though, if you ask. Service, not delivery.

gballant4570 | July 18, 2018

MD requires a front plate also. I live just a few miles from PA, which does not. Lots of no front plate cars around here.... I may leave it off.

CharleyBC | July 18, 2018

I’m pretty law abiding, but I find I’m tempted to “forget” to install the front plate. But supposing we do install it, does anyone know how aggressive the adhesive is? Can it be removed without damaging the paint or leaving gunk behind?

CharleyBC | July 18, 2018

@jvcesare, are you sure about the $12? I seem to recall someone reporting a fine a while back of about $170 in San Francisco.

jvcesare | July 18, 2018

@CharleyBC It depends on the jurisdiction. Some places are more aggressive (SF, Santa Monica)

gyinsu | July 18, 2018

Thanks all. Self installation sounds easy. I thought I need to drill holes on the front.

markr7 | July 18, 2018

I’m pretty law abiding, but I find I’m tempted to “forget” to install the front plate. But supposing we do install it, does anyone know how aggressive the adhesive is? Can it be removed without damaging the paint or leaving gunk behind?

@CharleyBC - They use a high-grade 3M tape, it will either damage the paint or leave residue if you need to take it off. If you do decide to mount it, check out RPMTesla, they have a backing you put on prior to mounting the plate to prevent such damage.

jrzapata | July 18, 2018

For those of us in Texas:

Effective September 1, 2013, Section 504.943 of the Texas Transportation Code entitled, Operation of a Vehicle Without License Plate, was amended to provide punishment for not displaying a front license plate. It is now an offense to operate a vehicle that does not display two licenses plates, and the punishment for failure to have both license plates is a fine of up to $200.

AAAND, the license plate must be visible within 50 feet. Also it must be mounted on the exterior of the vehicle.

Google is my lawyer

gyinsu | July 18, 2018

@markr7 When they (Tesla) install front plate, do they use such a backing you mentioned to prevent peeling damage?

rkalbiar1EV | July 18, 2018

Yes, it uses 3M VHB. If the bond takes well, especially in hot climates, it will not come off without damaging the paint. BUT would you ever really need to take it off anyway? I mean, in most cars you have to drill holes and they just stay there forever...

gyinsu | July 18, 2018

Interestingly, most Tesla in CA don't have front license plate.

jamey.winchester | July 18, 2018

From our delivery, we were advised that placement is critical so as not to interact with the vehicle's sensors. If you're close to a service center, might as well have them install it. If they screw it up, it's on them.

gadget63 | July 18, 2018

thank goodness I live in a one plate state!

markr7 | July 18, 2018

When they (Tesla) install front plate, do they use such a backing you mentioned to prevent peeling damage?

@gyinsu - No! They will just stick it on & walk away... My advice is NOT to have them mount it. If I was to mount a front plate (which I'm not) I would use the RPM Tesla product, or something else, like The LAW, etc...

RichardKJ | July 18, 2018

There are installation instruction diagrams on the back of the license plate holder. In particular it shows you how to line it up horizontally.

sroh | July 18, 2018

If you think you are going to remove it at some point, you should definitely put a layer of ppf (paint protection film) underneath. As previously mentioned, RPM Tesla will sell you a pre-cut sheet. But you can also just buy a small amount of ppf and cut yourself. Very easy DIY. While you're at it, you may want to buy enough for HOV stickers, door edges, door sill, etc. Doesn't cost much more for a slightly larger roll.

kroll.susan | July 18, 2018

Got my car early March. In San Francisco and have been driving without a front plate since. Going to risk it. My brother also lives here and has been driving for 3 years without a front plate and has never had an issue.

4barkie | July 18, 2018

Not planning on putting the plate on mine. It still in the trunk. There are so many cars without plates in the Bay Area I am not at all worried.


RIP ICE | July 19, 2018

The car looks better with the front plate installed. Why would you ever remove it or worry about what might happen to the paint if you removed it? The Tesla unit is better looking than the aftermarket units because it’s curved to match the lines of the bumper. It takes 30 seconds to install and has alignment marks so there is zero danger of interfering with sensors. Why risk the un-fun experience of an unnecessary conversation with a highway patrol officer?

iflatow | December 28, 2018

For $25 You can buy a clear 3M film wrap, same as used to wrap an entire car, and install it on the pain surface of car first to protect the paint. Plate is adhered to the film and can be peeled off without harm, as seen in this video. can buy the same film directly from Amazon, cut it to size, for $6.99 yourself.

ODWms | December 28, 2018

I’d investigated a possible solution for installing my plate holder, but didn’t want to use screws. I already have the front of the car PPF wrapped, but I was told it isn’t a good idea to attach the bracket via the adhesive strips because the weight of the bracket can pull down on the PPF. This solution seems to nullify this concern. Has anyone here had experience with attaching their bracket to PPF on the bumper?

TAC | December 28, 2018

Put all the necessary hardware to install your front plate in the trunk / frunk and install it on site if you get pulled over. That way you can drive legally after and no risk of getting it towed.

dgstan | December 29, 2018

My car was parked today in Hayes Valley (SF). Came back to the car and found a $121 ticket for not having a front plate. It's a "fix-it" and gets reduced to $10 if I install the plate and get it signed off. But, that means installing the plate.

I'm trying a 3D printed solution first before I tape the stupid thing on.

brad | December 29, 2018

There are options to add a front license plate without sticking anything to the paint.

I purchased the second one, but have not installed it yet. I don’t plan on installing it until I actually have plates.

They are a bit pricey, but cheaper than a ticket and do not touch the paint at all.

pnarsipur | January 11, 2019

I used the Tesla provided front license holder for my M3. It looked better than any other 3rd party products. It has a curved surface which does not create any air pockets. It does not cover up any sensors or the grill is left untouched for the airflow.
Why spend >$100 outside, when Tesla provides their own designed product.
In NJ it's a Law so is with Majority of the States
I think it is better to be in compliance with the law than worry about something sticking to front bumper. All the cars anyway has them attached.

RICHWRF | January 11, 2019

brad: I too thought that the Bandit was a good solution until I received it and noticed that they warn against going through a car wash. It attaches to the plastic grill and it could be ripped off along with the grill by the car wash's rotating brush. Duh. I returned it.

jeffshops1 | October 10, 2019

Hello, I have just received my carpool stickers and am considering putting the front license plate on my new Tesla as well. But I wanted to use some paint protecting film (ppf). My understanding is that 3m makes good film, but never having done this before can someone tell me if there is a specific thickness, or type or # for a PARTICULAR 3m film as I know there are several types; for example is clear Bra a specific thickness or a type, ie is there clear Bra 1 clear Bra 2, etc.? Just looking for some guidance as to which 3m ppf to buy. Not looking to coat the entire car, just looking to cut some pieces to place on the car below the license plate holder and HOV stickers. Thanks!

While I'm here my second question would be, which 3m product would you recommend if you wanted to protect some small areas of the car where normal wear and tear will cause scratching, such as door handles, etc. Same question as above, what grade of ppf might be best for this type of protection?

Thanks in advance for your help.

wasabi5858 | October 11, 2019

I don't work in the industry and I havent bought many to test/see the texture/thicknetss elasticity etc for myself. I just a consumer that search around on amazon and I ended up getting this
VViViD 3M Scotchgard Clear Paint Protection Vinyl Film -- mostly because it showed up, revies looks good, pic of user submitted uses looks good/real also. is there better film? poissbly, this served me well enough for spot treating (and yes, i did put it behind licdense plate and will be using it for my hov since i am waiting.
product with multiple sizes

jvcesare | October 11, 2019

After driving over a year without a plate, I decided to install a front license plate wrap, which are now legal in CA. Looks great.

Tesla-David | October 11, 2019

Live in Edmonds WA and have been driving our M3 over last 20 months without front license plate. Haven't been pulled over or ticketed. Also have 2015 MS85D without front plates, and never ticketed over past 4 years.

jrweiss98020 | October 11, 2019

I decided on the SnapPlate ( It will go on & off in an instant if you need, and a single screw can be inserted to make it "permanent" (until you unscrew it). It standa off the body so you can wash behind it, and will take any license plate frame you may want to add.

I also happen to live in Edmonds, and have noticed quite a few cars without front plates. Since I have personalized plates anyhow, I'm not willing to roll the dice with the law.

bjrosen | October 11, 2019

Tesla did the registration and installed my plates, I live in MA, don't the do that in CA?

TranzNDance | October 11, 2019

Based on the photos, the license plate wrap doesn't look that great. It's not its fault, the default California plate doesn't look good. I wonder if it would have looked better if the wrap could blend in with the car color. I suppose that could be achieved with clear vinyl.

JPPTM | October 11, 2019

I initially tried the OttoSteer magnetic mount. Worked great but I did not like seeing the mounting hardware. Got the SnapPlate. Looks and works well for the times I have to park the car in a 'high risk' zone.