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Rear license plate--preventing scratches

kendallpb

Model S: P 8061
Oct 29, 2010
1,253
53
MD, USA
I installed my front plate on the black plate holder, but the back has nothing and the plate will just scratch the car--it didn't arrive in the mail flat, but even if it had, it looks like screwing it on would scratch the car anyway, the way the edges of a plate go in a little. I'm checking with Rockville today to see if they got in any of the rear frames, but I don't know if that actually encloses the edges of the plate, so it may not help with my slightly-warped plate anyway. But if I just screw it to the car, it will scratch, I can tell. I'm surprised it doesn't come with a sheet of black plastic like a thinner version of the front plate holder.

Any suggestions? Do car places sell something that would sit behind the plate and keep it from scratching the car? Do people just not worry about scratching it (does aluminum not rust?), or use a cut-up old t-shirt, or what? Googling is getting me nowhere but my Google-fu sucks.

Also, the "screws" in the back aren't like the front star ones. The back ones look/feel like plastic and have an odd opening--are these screws or is this what the screws go into and I'm missing screws? I stuck a flathead in but it looked like I might damage them (again, felt like plastic) so I almost immediately stopped trying to turn them. Anyway, I figure Tesla can install the plate for me with some special odd-shaped tool they must use, if these are the screws, but just wondering if others have used a flat-head with no problems, or if you had Tesla install your rear plate, or if I'm an idiot and just missing screws. ;-) Here's a too-fuzzy picture of the back screw? place a screw would go in? whatever it is?...I've never seen the like.

photo.JPG


Sorry if these are incredibly stupid Qs. I haven't bought a car in 12.5 years, gimme a break! ;-) Thanks!

Mods: Let me know if you move this so I don't lose it, thanks.
 
Last edited:

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,870
Toronto, ON
My other car's rear plate only attaches with two screws at the top. I found that it would "rattle" over bumps when the bottom portion of the plate would "flap" against the car. I just bought some peel-and-stick weatherstripping at the hardware store and put it around the edges of the plate on the back. Rattle problem solved. In your case, it would also serve to provide a padded surface between the car and the plate.
 

kendallpb

Model S: P 8061
Oct 29, 2010
1,253
53
MD, USA
My other car's rear plate only attaches with two screws at the top. I found that it would "rattle" over bumps when the bottom portion of the plate would "flap" against the car. I just bought some peel-and-stick weatherstripping at the hardware store and put it around the edges of the plate on the back. Rattle problem solved. In your case, it would also serve to provide a padded surface between the car and the plate.

Thanks, that's a great idea! Even if my plate weren't a little warped, it seems like it would scratch, being bolted directly to a panel of the car with nothing between it. You didn't find that to be the case?

BTW (noticing your footer), congrats on your recent delivery! ;-)
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,028
1,017
I'm checking with Rockville today to see if they got in any of the rear frames, but I don't know if that actually encloses the edges of the plate, so it may not help with my slightly-warped plate anyway.

My plate "snapped" into the frame, making it more rigid. As far as I can tell it doesn't scrape/scratch.

Any suggestions? Do car places sell something that would sit behind the plate and keep it from scratching the car? Do people just not worry about scratching it (does aluminum not rust?), or use a cut-up old t-shirt, or what? Googling is getting me nowhere but my Google-fu sucks.

Look for a license plate frame at an auto parts store that holds it more rigid. As you screw down the plate it should straighten it out and hold it firmly so that it doesn't scratch.

Also, the "screws" in the back aren't like the front star ones. The back ones look/feel like plastic and have an odd opening--are these screws or is this what the screws go into and I'm missing screws?

You're missing screws, these are the grommets that you screw the screws into.
 

jcadman22

Tesla Owners Club Maryland
Apr 21, 2012
391
88
Wheaton, MD
My other car's rear plate only attaches with two screws at the top. I found that it would "rattle" over bumps when the bottom portion of the plate would "flap" against the car. I just bought some peel-and-stick weatherstripping at the hardware store and put it around the edges of the plate on the back. Rattle problem solved. In your case, it would also serve to provide a padded surface between the car and the plate.

The plasti/chrome Tesla plate cover does cover the edges of the plate, but as MKnox noted, there are only holes at the top for mounting to the car. I just left the bottom screws in the anchors and that's enough to keep the bottom of the plate flexed and not in contact with the painted surface.
 

Al Sherman

It's about THIS car.
Nov 29, 2012
1,687
4
Batesville, IN
I think those screws are called torx screws. Any hardware store has the screwdriver. I used felt furniture slides all around the plate and screwed the plate through the round ones. We'll see how that works. The weatherstripping also seems to be a decent option.

I got the Tesla holder but frankly (not whining just saying) it's too chincy to put on the car.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,870
Toronto, ON
Thanks, that's a great idea! Even if my plate weren't a little warped, it seems like it would scratch, being bolted directly to a panel of the car with nothing between it. You didn't find that to be the case?

Tesla had my plates on the car when I picked it up, so I haven't even checked yet. It was installed with one of their "Tesla" chrome frames. Based on these observations, I'll have to take a peek this weekend. (I still have a ton of weatherstripping that I bought for my other car:smile:)

The only license plate thing I've done is to put a clear acrylic cover over my front plate to protect it from stones and debris. I did notice Tesla used Torx screws on the front T-20 sized, I think.
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,882
3,351
Ottawa, Canada
Tesla put my rear plate on without any kind of frame. But the plastic nut inserts are holding it off the metal by about 1/10th of an inch. Since there are four screws it is quite stable. I don't think it needs anything else.
 

byt

Member
Nov 26, 2012
224
15
Redwood City, CA
I originally bolted mine in with just the top two screws, good to know, I'll add padding to the bottom of the plate for this reason, Carbon Fiber plate frame doesn't have lower holes.
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,028
1,017
I think those screws are called torx screws. Any hardware store has the screwdriver. I used felt furniture slides all around the plate and screwed the plate through the round ones. We'll see how that works. The weatherstripping also seems to be a decent option.

I got the Tesla holder but frankly (not whining just saying) it's too chincy to put on the car.

The front plate screws were Torx but the rear were standard slotted screws on mine.
 

kendallpb

Model S: P 8061
Oct 29, 2010
1,253
53
MD, USA
Many thanks for all the replies! I stopped by the Rockville service center--should've done that before posting!--and worked this and other very minor items out.

Nathan, who is awesome, got the missing screws for me, put the plate into the frame, which he said would protect the edges/car, and installed the plate. It looks like more torx screws. I didn't realize at the time, but the Tesla frame appears to only have two screws. But it holds it firmly in place. One slight bummer is the stupid Maryland commemorative plate I was sent (yay, War of 1812...) is poorly designed and didn't have totally clear (unpainted) spots in the top corners for the two stickers. I put them there at home, but the frame slightly covers them up, which I hadn't realized would happen. Oh well. The next ones will just go a bit down and be fully visible instead of mostly visible. It's not a problem, but I'd've put them lower down if I'd known. I might be able to pull them off in two years, though...more likely just cover them up with the next ones.

Anyway, all's well that ends well and thanks again for the ideas and reassurances and other comments. And many thanks to Nathan in Rockville for this and other things the took care of.
 

tezco

Sig P85
Nov 9, 2012
819
4
Colorado
I used four faucet washers behind the plate to hold it off the paint. Also allows any moisture behind the plate to dry out quickly, and I can wash out any road salt easily.
 

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