Rear License Plate Frame Removal

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Apr 12, 2016
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Turlock, California
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Model 3
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#1
Hello Owners,

I got my plates in the mail for my model 3 and I need to put them on the car (only rear). I am having trouble with removing the rear license plate frame. The screws that have the "zero emissions" plate on the back keep turning/rotating in the hole. I tried to pull them out but I have had no luck. Can anyone guide me? I do have tesla service coming soon to me (1 week).

Thanks,
Jaspal Singh
 

GregRF

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Aptos CA
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#2
Hello Owners,

I got my plates in the mail for my model 3 and I need to put them on the car (only rear). I am having trouble with removing the rear license plate frame. The screws that have the "zero emissions" plate on the back keep turning/rotating in the hole. I tried to pull them out but I have had no luck. Can anyone guide me? I do have tesla service coming soon to me (1 week).

Thanks,
Jaspal Singh
I have heard of people having this issue. The plastic nut is spinning freely on the backside of the trunk. You may want to let service deal with it.

If you want to try yourself, you could try tightening a bit to see if that seats the nut (but not hard enough to strip, I'm pretty sure these are plastic so be careful with this one). Or you could try putting some tension on the screw by pulling on the license plate frame while trying to turn the screw.
 
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Quicksilver

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#3
Or you could try putting some tension on the screw by pulling on the license plate frame while trying to turn the screw.
This. I have the same problem with only one screw on my back license plate. I removed the other three screws and place my left hand under the frame and license plate - creating tension - and slowly unscrew the "stuck" screw. This method has worked several times already.
 

mkg3

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#4
I have this exact issue with one of my screws on the rear.

I had to use a pick with a sharp point to steady the base while I unscrewed it.

Right now, my license plate is held on by the other three screws.
 

TheTony

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#5
I have heard of people having this issue. The plastic nut is spinning freely on the backside of the trunk. You may want to let service deal with it.

If you want to try yourself, you could try tightening a bit to see if that seats the nut (but not hard enough to strip, I'm pretty sure these are plastic so be careful with this one). Or you could try putting some tension on the screw by pulling on the license plate frame while trying to turn the screw.
Short of just forcing your local SC to deal with it, this is the correct answer. I personally had the same issue, but only on the last of the 4 screws I had to remove. I was able to extract it by gently pulling up/away on that corner of the plate while I turned the screw. Given that you can easily scratch the paint behind the plate frame if you're too aggressive with this, I'd recommend putting a piece of cloth, foam, microfiber or something soft in between the paint and the frame holder before you do so. In fact, if you place some additional material just behind the area of the spinning screw it may even provide additional leverage that'll help back the screw out with minimal pulling.

I did use a power driver to back the problem screw out (on a low speed setting) to help apply consistent pressure on the screw so I could focus on applying gentle but consistent pressure to the plate frame.

That said, you'll still have the takeaway that that you'll need to have that nut replaced or reattached to the trunk assembly properly.

If anyone here manages to find out the part number for that piece, I'd appreciate knowing it, since I'll eventually need to have it resolved permanently.
 
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Brett

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#6
I have this same problem on 3 of my 4 screws. I've got a mobile service appointment on Thursday to fix it (only 6 days after I made the appointment, which is nice). With only one working screw I wanted the nuts attached properly instead of trying to force it, so I didn't even try to remove them myself.
 

Brett

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#7
Just got done with my mobile service to fix this issue. Took the guy all of 15 minutes.

Turns out I was very wrong in how I thought the attachment system worked. I had thought the "nuts" were somehow attached from the inside and that he would have to remove trim panels inside the trunk in order to re-attach them, but that is not the case.

There are four square holes in the trunk lid where the license plate attaches. Square plastic inserts are pushed into those holes from the outside. The insets work like wall anchors in that they expand when you put a screw into them and that expansion is what holds them in place. The reason they spin freely is that the outside of the square insert is stripped so that it can spin in the square hole. That probably happens from over-tightening the screws rather then from some manufacturing defect.

The service tech just pulled out the old inserts and gave me four new ones.

TL;DR; Over-tightening the rear license plate screws causes the "nuts" to break loose so be careful when changing your plate.
 
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#8
I am surprised that Tesla has not instituted an assembly line fix for this issue since it has been a commonly reported problem (on owner boards) since production started a year ago that requires a service tech call. Waiting to get scheduled.
 

babula

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#9
Ran in to this issue today, got frustrated and scheduled an appointment because I didn't want to risk damaging the car.
 

SoCalWine

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#13
I am having a slightly different problem. The plastic inserts are popping out. Lost my rear license plate today at car wash. Luckily noticed not too long after was able to retrieve. Doesn't seem like they are expanding in the hole.

Thoughts?
 
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#14
I am having a slightly different problem. The plastic inserts are popping out. Lost my rear license plate today at car wash. Luckily noticed not too long after was able to retrieve. Doesn't seem like they are expanding in the hole.

Thoughts?
Tesla Service will replace all the nubs, just take it in or call for a tesla ranger.
 
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#15
Same problem here after “wrap” folks over tightened screws. Being slightly insane, I removed the wimpy plastic inserts, made the square holes slightly rounded with a 6 mm drill bit and installed a 6mm stainless steel rivet-nut in each hole. Probably not worth the trouble unless you already have the large rivet-nut driver required. But now I’m able to use nice stainless security bolts for a clean vanity plate install.
 
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#16
Just got done with my mobile service to fix this issue. Took the guy all of 15 minutes.

Turns out I was very wrong in how I thought the attachment system worked. I had thought the "nuts" were somehow attached from the inside and that he would have to remove trim panels inside the trunk in order to re-attach them, but that is not the case.

There are four square holes in the trunk lid where the license plate attaches. Square plastic inserts are pushed into those holes from the outside. The insets work like wall anchors in that they expand when you put a screw into them and that expansion is what holds them in place. The reason they spin freely is that the outside of the square insert is stripped so that it can spin in the square hole. That probably happens from over-tightening the screws rather then from some manufacturing defect.

The service tech just pulled out the old inserts and gave me four new ones.

TL;DR; Over-tightening the rear license plate screws causes the "nuts" to break loose so be careful when changing your plate.
I have the same issue. i have a service appointment at a shop in a couple of weeks. How do you get a service ranger instead?
 

Brett

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#17
How do you get a service ranger instead?
At the time the web interface had an option to schedule mobile service directly; they removed that option shortly thereafter though.

I did book another mobile service later (broken window replacement) by booking a normal service center appointment but listing in the notes that I was open to a mobile service instead. I got a call the next day to schedule the mobile service. I don't know if my note made a difference or if they would have tried to schedule mobile service for that type of issue anyway. I think it also depends on your location; I'm in the bay area so we have lots of mobile units, I don't know about everywhere else.
 
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#18
At the time the web interface had an option to schedule mobile service directly; they removed that option shortly thereafter though.

I did book another mobile service later (broken window replacement) by booking a normal service center appointment but listing in the notes that I was open to a mobile service instead. I got a call the next day to schedule the mobile service. I don't know if my note made a difference or if they would have tried to schedule mobile service for that type of issue anyway. I think it also depends on your location; I'm in the bay area so we have lots of mobile units, I don't know about everywhere else.
Thanks! Just tried that. I’ll see what happens!
 
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#19
I have the same "screwed-up" plastic nut bolt problem. I just picked up my personalized California license plate ("S BUT D" good luck on figuring this one out ;-)) and tried to remove my temporary plastic Zero Emissions paper-plate. I didn't want to strip the screw or accidentally scratch the paint) so I just just set an appointment with the Tesla Mobile Service Team for this matter (drove me "nuts!"). Earliest appointment available is now set for January 7, 2019.