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Sto 'n Sho Aftermarket Front Plate Holder Install (+ pics)

nitzmahone

Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2018
60
156
Portland, OR
Like many others in "front plate required" states, I've been back and forth about how I plan to handle the front plate mount. My initial gut was to just leave the front plate off altogether, but my wife's been hassled by the police for license plate issues on my previous car, so I've been "strongly urged" ;) to come up with a legal solution.

I really dislike the Tesla-supplied adhesive plate mount. It breaks up the unique front fascia- one of the sexier (IMO) features of the car, and it seems like it would be difficult to clean around. I've looked at a couple of the different louver-attach solutions, but I've had bad experiences with people wrecking my front plates before when "parallel parking by Braille", and I don't want to find out the hard way how resilient those louvers are. I'm not opposed to drilling into the car/bumper, so long as the holes aren't readily visible. This led me to the Sto 'n Sho SNS145 - it appears to be a long-time choice of the car show crowd, since it allows for easy removal of the plate and bracket for cleaning/display. I have no affiliation with this manufacturer/reseller, just liking what I got...


Pros

Finished look: I'm pretty happy with the finished product. It leaves the front fascia shape much more visible than the Tesla-supplied mount IMO. I'll probably add a plate frame for a more polished appearance. It looks a little crooked in the straight-on picture, but that's just because I was having trouble getting straight-on with my phone camera. It's pretty easy to align properly, and it is indeed mounted straight.

Installation ease: Two needle-point bolts go through the mounting plate into the skid plate on the bottom of the car just behind the bumper, and a spring-loaded pin with a pull-ring is used to install/remove the plate bracket as needed.

No interference with radar/ultrasonic: TACC/Autosteer and the parking sensors all still work great when the plate is installed.

Ease of cleaning: So long as the sprung pull-ring keeps working, removing the plate for cleaning/detailing should be brain-dead simple. They do mention it's important to lubricate the mechanism and slides occasionally, probably more so if you're driving on salted roads a lot.


Cons

Vertical clearance reduction: It technically reduces the air-dam vertical clearance by about a half inch, but I doubt this will be any problem at stock height. If I do something that clips the plate where it sits, I've probably got much bigger issues.

Ease of stealing the plate: I don't really care about this one either- if someone really wants to steal a license plate, getting under the car and looking at the pull-ring vs just yanking on an adhesive-mounted plate or unscrewing one mounted "normally" seem like about the same amount of effort.


Unknowns

Range effect: If the aero wheel caps are really worth a 5% range boost, I could see this plate bracket eating that up and maybe more. OTOH, I so rarely need anywhere close to my full range, it's not really a concern for me.

Resiliency of the skid-plate mount: I'm most worried about this for the "parallel parking by Braille" crowd. The skid plate is pretty thick burly plastic, but it is still plastic... If there are problems later, I can just attach a metal doubler to the back of the skid plate and attach the bolts into it.

StoNShoModel3_Installed_Front.jpg StoNShoModel3_Installed_Underside.jpg StoNShoModel3_Installed_Oblique.jpg StoNShoModel3_Removed_Closeup.jpg StoNShoModel3_Removed_Distant.jpg StoNShoModel3_Installed_Side.jpg
 

nitzmahone

Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2018
60
156
Portland, OR
It looks like the upper part of the bumper sticks out further than the plate but it's hard to tell. Can you confirm?

Take a look at the last picture- the "lip" is pretty much even with the top front of the plate, and will probably be exactly even once I add a frame of some sort...
 

PoitNarf

My dog's breath smells like dog food
Jun 7, 2016
2,870
4,006
NJ
You may have sold me on this. I’ve been driving without the front plate for 6 weeks now and have been wondering how long I can go without being pulled over. The location of this mount barely detracts from the look of the front fascia at all, so it’s very tempting.

As for issues with others parallel parking in front of your car, I don’t think that should be a problem. The bumpers on most cars would meet the front bumper of the Model 3 several inches higher that where this mount is located.
 
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Mishakim

Member
Apr 4, 2016
147
125
Boston, MA
Looks great, thanks for posting! Very helpful.

When you think about the effort that goes into making those cars (cars in general) as aerodynamic and efficient as possible, it is pretty nuts to have front-plate requirements... /rant
Alternatively, I feel like with a majority of states, including most of the states with the highest populations, and all of Europe, requiring them, the car makers should design more integrated / aerodynamic mounting solutions in the first place.
 

derekmw

Member
Oct 3, 2016
626
894
San Diego, CA
I would never put a plate on my car even though it's required, but just curious...I think that looks really odd being positioned so low. Has anyone tried the tow hook plate mounts on the M3 yet? I wonder if that may look a little better compared to this one.
 

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