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Remove the Front License Plate

Discussion in 'Model S' started by scottflys, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. scottflys

    scottflys Member

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    So is it hard to remove the front license plate? I've seen a vid or two and there appears to be some special bolt thats hard to get off.
    I'm also in Texas, where I believe your suppose to have a front plate and not sure I want to do it but it would sure look better
     
  2. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Supporting Member

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    There was a recent thread started by someone who had Tesla drill holes to attach his plate. So you may want to check to make sure that's not the case with your car.
     
  3. pilotSteve

    pilotSteve Member

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    I just had my front bumper wrapped with Expel and they removed the license plate. He showed me: its a combination of some bolts at the bottom of the bumper (these are the "security" screws that you need a special tool to loosen) and thin double-stick tape on the back of the frame. Hope that helps.
     
  4. Wuggado?

    Wuggado? Member

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    If you're talking about the refresh MS with the new nose, getting the bolts off is not that hard if you use the curved needle nose plier approach (do a search). Just note that getting the bolts off is only step 1. Step 2 is prying the frame that has been glued on away from the bumper. I didn't find that to be anywhere close to easy.

    As to whether you should even do it to begin with, of course, is up to you. If it was me I would try and get a feel for how closely that law is enforced in Texas. One thing to keep in mind, you don't see it at all when you're driving, and after all isn't the driving experience why you bought the car to begin with?

    Good luck
     
  5. HX_Guy

    HX_Guy Member

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    Theres a thread in the Int/Ext forum I believe. It's not hard to do, I did it with a dremel to cut a slot into the specialty screw heads and then used a regular (short) flathead screwdriver to remove the screws. After that, I used a blowdryer to heat up the the area (not sure this did much) and then used a pair of pliers to grab onto the black bumper frame holder and pulled hard (a lot of people seemed to complain about using their fingers to try to grab on to it, pliers made more sense).
     
  6. bharned3

    bharned3 Member

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    I am in Texas and gotten pulled over before for no front License plate
     
  7. norm

    norm Vendor

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    Send me a PM I have some tools I made to remove the screws
     
  8. Steve1081

    Steve1081 Member

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    You can also remove the screws with snap ring plyers. It is an easy job if you are handy.
     
  9. gghahram

    gghahram Member

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    This worked great for me except I used some snap ring pliers from harbor freight and didn't need a Dremel. The passenger side half of the plate seemed more stuck on and required 5 minutes more or so of hearing to remove.
     
  10. Sawyer8888

    Sawyer8888 Member

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    For the quick version of what is to follow, here it is in a nutshell: Remove the three screws from the painted portion of the license plate bracket. Pull the loosened bracket away from the thick black plastic bracket which is affixed to the car with double-sided tape. The loosened portion of the holder will still be attached to the car with two unique screws. Using snips or a decent pair of scissors, cut the painted plastic holder away from the bumper. Make your cuts somewhat close to where the two unique screws are located. Using the remaining cut plastic portions of the license plate holder as a sort of grip, turn counterclockwise and remove the unique screws. Then use steam to heat up the double-sided tape that is holding the thick black plastic license plate bracket to the bumper. Pull the bracket away from the bumper and then pull away any remaining double-sided tape. Wipe up the condensation and you're done.

    Unfortunately Tesla still requires the Model S to be delivered to a customer with the front license plate bracket affixed to the front of the vehicle. At this time, no matter how many requests you make to have it removed prior to you taking ownership, Tesla will always respond with a firm, "no". This is non-negotiable.

    Tesla claims the plastic holder is "easy" to remove. Easy is a relative term, especially in this case. After reading several forums and watching multiple YouTubers, the following is the best way that I have come up with to remove the front license plate holder.

    Be advised that this method does not allow you to reuse the license plate holder. If you want to save this holder for future use, then you will need to buy yourself a pair of 90-degree needle nose pliers. You will use these angled pliers to grip and unscrew the two unique screws that keep the license plate holder attached to the vehicle. These two screws are located under the license plate holder in a hard-to-reach spot. The heads of these two screws are very unique, so your short screwdrivers and socket wrench set will not work on them.

    This TMC forum has been very insightful and quite helpful in answering many of the questions that I have had. I hope the following helps you through this tedious task of removing the front license plate holder. There are plenty of words to follow, however this should save you some time and maybe some money and get you out there on the road a little quicker without the front license plate holder detracting from the intended sleek design of the bumper.

    Ideally a YouTube video of this would have been best, however I skipped the video-making step of this job.

    The long version:

    Step one: Put all of your grinders and other rotary cutting tools away. We are working with plastic after all.

    Tools needed: 1) philips screwdriver, 2) cutting snips (or a very good pair of scissors), 3) steamer (or anything that creates a good deal of steam) 4) painter's tape (this is optional for added protection to prevent scuffs to your bumper during the removal process, and it could actually create a little more of a sticky-residue since the steam separates the tape's glue from the paper)

    Amazon link for a pair of snips:
    Stanley FatMax 14-563 9-7/8-Inch Straight Cut Aviation Snip - Nippers And Snips - Amazon.com
    This is also at your local Home Depot, Lowes or mom and pop hardware store. This tool will prove to be much more useful for you in the future compared to a 90-degree pliers.

    Amazon link for a steamer:
    Amazon.com - J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer with Plastic Steam Head, 120 Volt - Carpet Steam Cleaners

    Obviously you do not need to have this exact one, but when you're done using it on your Tesla, it is a great item to have to quickly get the wrinkles out of your clothes. There are many other less expensive steaming tools (travel size) as well as many other methods that you can employ to create steam. It has been suggested on a few YouTube videos that using other heat-related items, such as a hair dryer and a heat gun could cause damage to your bumper. Steam on the other hand is the safest, less-risky approach that will not harm your bumper (probably not). Steam does such a great job at loosening the double-sided tape that you will not even need any special chemicals or detailing liquids to clean up any residue. It literally comes off entirely without leaving any mess whatsoever. Tip: as seen in a YouTube video, once you get to this point, pull on the double-sided tape at an angle (similar to removing a 3-M picture hook from a wall).

    Real step 1) Remove the three screws holding the face of the painted plastic portion of the license plate holder. This will loosen the front portion of the holder, however it will still be attached by two troublesome screws from underneath. Locate these two unique screws that are holding the plastic to the car from underneath to get an idea of where you will be cutting in a moment.

    Step 2) Now, gripping from the top of the painted portion of the holder that you just loosened, pull it forward, away from the thick black plastic bracket that is affixed to the bumper of the car with double-sided tape. Then push the painted plastic holder down, creating a decent gap between the holder and your car's bumper. Keep the plastic help down, maintaining the gap. Then while still holding the plastic in place away from the bumper, use the snips to carefully cut the painted plastic license plate holder. Make your cuts somewhat close to the two unique screws underneath. You should have enough of a gap between the car and the license plate holder to maneuver the snips without touching or scratching the plastic of the car. If you do scratch it somehow, don't worry. This surgery you're performing is in the air intake portion of the car, so only you will know there is a mark there. There's really no wrong way to do this part. I do suggest however that you leave at least some plastic around the unique screws so you can grip it for turning purposes. At this point, your result should resemble two separate chunks of painted plastic from the license plate holder still being held to the car with the two unique screws. Of course the thick black portion of plastic will also still be on the car.

    Step 3) You can know easily remove the two unique screws by turning the small portions of the cut plastic that remain around those two screws. Turn each chunk of cut plastic counter-clockwise. Again, your "easy" may be different than my "easy" for this step, however it was quite effortless to get the screws moving once the large portion of the painted plastic of the holder was out of the way. The screws immediately loosened and screwed out when I turned the remaining plastic that surrounding them. No scuffs, no mess.

    Step 4) (This step is optional) Before moving forward, you may use painter's tape to protect the area of your bumper just behind the edges of the black bracket of the license plate holder. Use the tape to create a frame around the bracket. Be sure to slide the tape behind the edges of the bracket, between the bracket and the bumper. Doing so will help prevent scuff marks as you work on pulling the bracket off the bumper. I discovered I probably could have completed the job without the tape since I was quite careful when pulling on the bracket, making sure I worked slowly while also keeping steam on the area while I pulled.

    Step 5) Use steam to heat the double-sided tape that is holding the thick black plastic bracket portion of the license plate holder to the car. Apply steam directly to the bracket as well as from underneath, and the sides and top if you can, allowing as much steam as possible to get behind the bracket. I spent a good 5 minutes heating everything up before I started pulling.

    Step 6) Use a thick glove or a towel around your hand to avoid the heat of the steam and begin to gently pull the bracket away from the bumper. Once you get it going, it comes off quite easily. Be sure to continue using steam as you pull the bracket from the bumper. I was quite impressed as to how well the steam worked on disabling the effectiveness of the double-sided tape. Completely remove the bracket from the bumper. Some double-sided tape may remain. 90% or more of the tape came off with the bracket in my case. For the double-sided tape remaining on the bumper, pull it away on an angle and it should peal right off like a regular sticker without any residue being left behind. I actually had a little residue from the painters tape that I has used to protect the bumper, however with a little steam, that residue came right off as well.

    Step 7) Wipe off the condensation from the bumper, clean the area of the floor around your car being extra certain that you pick up any of the five screws that may have rolled away while you were working. Put your tools away before you get too distracted by the sweet result of your handy work.

    Step 8) Step back, look at your car and smile.

    All the best to everyone.
     
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  11. Sawyer8888

    Sawyer8888 Member

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  12. SDRick

    SDRick Member

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    It is best to remove all the screws before removing the bracket.
     
  13. James Anders

    James Anders Member

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