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Removing/Installing the Rear License Plate

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by NotMandatory, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. NotMandatory

    NotMandatory Member

    May 26, 2013
    St. Louis, MO (USA)
    I thought I would post this since I hadn't seen anything covering it for others.

    When our MS 85 arrived (mid-May 2013), we didn't have plates yet (since we ordered new custom plates). As a result, we had the nifty "TESLA" placard mounted in the rear plasti/chrome Tesla license plate cover. So when it came time to remove the placard and install our actual plates, it was not immediately obvious how to remove the two silvery caps at the top. Spinning them did nothing, and there was no mention of how they worked in the owners manual(s) that I searched.

    Tesla plate 1.jpg

    Turns out those little caps just snap on and off. So you'll want to pry them off gently with a small screwdriver if your nails aren't strong enough (I could only get one of the two off without a tool). Behind them was another surprise...namely Torx T20 screws. Fortunately, I had a Torx T20 screwdriver, but not everyone be aware that Tesla may now use those by default for front and back plates. (I think a T15 might also fit enough to work, but you might risk stripping the nut slightly.)

    Tesla plate 2.jpg

    Hopefully this will help others who were initially concerned about possibly breaking something when faced with how to remove the existing Tesla placard...
    • Informative x 1
  2. Musterion

    Musterion 18h 03m 37s −24° 23′ 12″

    Jan 10, 2013
    A followup tip is that if your Tesla placard is the plastic type (has "TESLA" in red letters on white plastic, rather than paper), you can use it behind the metal license plate to prevent your plate from scratching the paint over time. (Of course this means you can't display it in your garage or living room like I do with other old plates).
  3. MrOteece

    MrOteece Member

    Jan 19, 2013
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that spun those things a good while before figuring it out.
  4. Mayhemm

    Mayhemm Model S P85+ "Lola"

    Nov 9, 2012
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Bah! I have a TorX 15, 25, and 30 here at home but not a 20!

    Guess I'll check at work tomorrow.
  5. irishstoutaz

    irishstoutaz Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    Cave Creek, AZ
    Ours had regular phillips screws...
  6. JPP

    JPP Active Member

    Feb 4, 2013
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Mine had Philips screws, not Torx under the chromed plastic caps.
  7. N4HHE

    N4HHE Member

    Oct 15, 2013
    Madison, AL
    Mine were black oxide T15 heads with #10x5/8" threads. Only two came with/on the car so I went shopping and settled on philips stainless steel #10x3/4" to anchor all 4 corners. In retrospect #10x1/2" would might have been a better choice especially if using 4 screws.
  8. ausdma

    ausdma Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    Yea, I played with it and thought it might pry off but I didn't want to force it without being sure so I went by the service center and they did it for me. I didn't notice what kind of screws it had, but I guess I'll find out when my vanity plates come in. The front just had philips head screws so that was no problem.
  9. The Flash

    The Flash New Member

    Aug 10, 2014
    New Jersey
    Small screw driver prys it off easily. Great tip. Mine were Philips Head screws.
  10. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
    #10 Ulmo, Dec 31, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    Thank you. This was a mystery. With your instructions, I started with a knife (use eye protection in case the knife breaks and spits blade at your eyes), and it worked perfectly.

    #2 philips on mine. I have most the other bits though, so you almost got me excited :D The front plate also used #2 philips. Additional screws were also supplied during delivery (I forget where; they ended up in my "car" container inside zip lock bags, so easy for me to find, along with other stuff like Aquapel window cleaner, Aquapel windshield treatment, phone dock (premium package perk), specialized front plate holder removal bit from 3D printers thanks to a TMC user, etc.).

    Front plate also had one of two existing screws covered with plastic piece, which was loose, and explains why the other screw was missing one. The front plate has slotted plate frame that plate slides into which doesn't require bottom screws because it hooks in using 3 plastic tabs. When sliding plate in, slightly bend plate non-permanently to be compliant with sliding action. It will pop into place when slid into frame completely. Same for back frame.

    I used two of the four supplied extra screws to screw down bottom of rear plate, and reused top screws and plastic washers. No plastic washers were supplied for bottom screws. I'll go pick some up. The holes were slightly misaligned, so I had them all slightly loose until torque down (hand tight).

    I suppose a metal TESLA frame costs extra. I can pick one up when I exchange my plates for the vanities still waiting at the DMV for me Tuesday once they open up after holiday (they require the registration paper, which came with the plates, before releasing plates; if I were the government, I'd have the factory pre-affix my vanity plates and registration paperwork before the car even leaves the factory and I wouldn't have to deal with any of this nonsense, but I'd also have plate printers in every DMV office and car dealer, and same for registration papers, and there would be no such thing as waiting for plates or even temporary plates).

    I wonder how I will deal with the black screws. I could paint them white. I tried white silicon, which was messy and didn't work so I wiped it off. The primer looks more promising (using spare screws). Pictures attached. Also pictured is front plate holder removal bit. The part # is probably one of those numbers.

    image.jpg image.jpg

    IMG_5473.JPG IMG_5472.JPG

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