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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I need some help please! I bought a 2015 Smart Car Brabus edition and the license plate was installed crooked on the rear panel. The dealer is to far away to return the vehicle to correct the problem so I need some advise and help from all of you.

Can I just raise the location up and re-attach? I see the two small horizontal marks on the rear panel that they put the screws through but it sits to low and it is also crooked! Is that a location that I can use to re-attach the license plate? Put new holes level between those marks? It needs to be raised up higher and re-attached so it is level. The screws are also only a half an inch long and won't affix the licesnse plate and frame to the vehicle. What length screw should I use?

Thank you for any and all help!!
 

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Was the car new or previously-loved when you bought it?

Did you see the issue before taking delivery, or after?

How crooked is the plate? Put a level across the edge of the license plate to measure.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The car was new and I didn't see it until after delivery. It's just slightly crooked. And the screws are only 1/2 inch long which is to short to attach a factory smart license plate frame.
 

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The car was new and I didn't see it until after delivery. It's just slightly crooked. And the screws are only 1/2 inch long which is to short to attach a factory smart license plate frame.

If your panels are nonmetallic, then you could ask the dealer to send you a replacement hatch panel which would come with a molded-in color that would be a perfect match.

Otherwise, you might consider modifying one hole in your license plate, so that you can adjust it to compensate for the minor variance.

I wouldn't want to mess with the existing panel, and risk making it worse without dealer involvement.

A "factory" license plate frame is thin plastic, and should fit regardless of the screw length.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Stevevillatoro,

The car is Silver if that's what you mean by matallic. The license plate frame is a brushed stainless steel and not plastic. The idea of adjusting the plate frame is good but it still doesn't answer the question if the placement can be can be moved up or down slightly on the panel. I could just move it up or down and put a small amount of silicon in the previous holes to prevent moisture if I knew the area that screws will take hold. I still don't have the answer that I'm looking for. What area on the rear panel will accept the screws?

Is there a built up area on the backside of the panel that is two inches by two inches or something like that? Will it accept the screws anywhere as long as it's close? Anyone have a picture of a removed rear panel? I sure don't want to keep adding a bunch of holes to my car only to find out the license plant won't hold on! This sucks!

Hartmn
 

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Your clarification helps a lot.

But I can't imagine it being possible to move the plate more than a fraction of an inch without (1) exposing your blobs of filler, and/or (2) causing a compliance issue with the license plate lighting during night driving.

I'd simply modify the plate holes by the tiny amount needed to level it, and get longer screws if needed. And leave the hatch panel unscathed. Why complicate it?
 

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I might suggest waiting until you take your car in for service and/or warranty work at the dealership if they are too far away for a trip just to fix the license plate. Live with it until then, but I'd sure go on written record of the problem and that you expect them to fix it. And don't listen to them when they tell you that you can fix it by letting the air out of the tires on the high side until the license plate is level. :)

Len
2014 EV
 

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Who drills the holes: the dealership or the manufacturer?

Can understand the OP's caution about further drilling.

When fixed/leveled, would the errant hole(s) be fully concealed by the license plate? If so, then a DIY fix might be easiest. However, if a filled hole(s) would be visible above the plate, then consider reaching out.

If it's the dealership who drilled, then they would have bent over backwards to fix it before the sale. Doubt they would've said "take it or leave it" if you pointed out the crooked plate before signing the purchase contract. You obviously didn't drill the holes, so there shouldn't be squabbling over who caused the crookedness after you drove off the lot.

Contact the dealership first with pictures, if a DIY fix will leave visible hole mark(s). Since they are located a long distance from you, then insist that they authorize you to have the work performed at your local smart service center with full reimbursement to you.

If it's the manufacturer who drilled, then contact smart USA. They could refer you to your local service smart center to have the work performed at no charge.
 

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MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
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MY15, new purchased from a smart Center?

Have you called the dealer or your salesperson? Pictures speak a thousand words and can support your case.

Sooner or later you may need to advise them of your issue/disappointment and I'd put the emphasis on SOONER.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the replays. The holes are not visible as they covered by the licencse plate and frame. We are only off by a small amount maybe one 1/8 inch or less. I have contact the sales person and he is back in the dealership tomorrow and will check on the longer screws. It's not very noticeable I didn't see it at the time of purchase and I'm very good at catching these types mistake so I agree I probably won't change it if I don't have to. But if things go south I diffently will be forced to take it to the dealer for repair. Of course they were the ones who put the holes in the car. It's part of the dealer prep.

The car had no front plate installed and I had to sign a paper stating that it was not legal. But I did make the give the bracket to put on a front license plate in case I was cited for it. The brackets are expensive. As all parts are. I have confidences in this dealer will the correct the issue if need be but as of yet no one has been able to answer my question. Can the screws be adjust up or down and have material backing and it will hold the screws in place?

Hartmn
 

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Can the screws be adjust up or down and have material backing and it will hold the screws in place?

No, they can't! Ordinarily, I'd be the first to advise rushing to the dealer for a fix.

But in your case, there's no secure way to reposition a hole drilled into plastic by 1/8".

That's why I'll bet the dealer will eff it up, and why I suggested – if it were mine – simply modifying one of the holes on your license plate by 1/8".

If they order a new hatch panel, it'll need to be painted. Good luck with the color match and risk of durability. BTW, silver is the hardest color to match. Then there's the potential for orange peel and other bodyshop defects…

Maybe they have another silver hatch on their lot which they can swap, and then order you a new BRABUS badge. This might be the best solution of all.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Stevenvillatoro,


Thanks for the response and agree that silver is tuff to match however I have had both left and right rear fender flares replaced and painted to match and the front lower valance as it too was damaged by a curb from someone pulling to far forward in a parking spot. You would be hard pressed to look at the vehicle and point out the three repainted body parts. The car vehicle was a dealer demo and had two thousand miles on it but was sold to me as new. I was the first registered owner minus one year of the warranty because the in service date was January 2015. The vehicle wasn't perfect but I got a fully loaded Brabus edition for $10,991.00 and the remainder of the factory warranty.

Some how someone managed to put scrapes on both left and right fender flares! Not sure how though. I also had the hood replaced as it had a smashed corner from what looked like it was dropped and it landed on the corner and when it was on the vehicle it was noticeable. I still have the right rear rim to replace from curb damage too! Smart madness is close to my house and has been selling off their Brabus factory parts at a great discount and they repainted the new parts for me except the hood which comes factory match Silver. They do fantastic work and Jason has been really great! I don't disagree with you but I find it hard to believe that the dealers placement of the license plate holes can't be drilled again up or down. As if the dealer placed them in the only" exact" location with no margine of error! However, I will agree it's best to adjust via using a dremel and make adjustment that way as opposed to putting four more holes in the panel! Hopefully the dealer will have screws that are little bit longer and that will solve this issue.

If the dealer says that's the ONLY screws that are available then I'll have to live with the fact the license plate is attached with no plate frame. Kind of crappy. I won't leave out the possibility to have the dealer correct it's blunder as it could very well get to that if the license place screws won't hold and the license plate starts to flop around when I close the rear hatch or it just plain starts to get lose. The dealer placed the license plate holes not me. So they may well have to remove the whole panel and fix it if push comes to shove. I'm not one to milk toast and run away from a fight. I will put the hurt on them if the license becomes a hugh issue-problem.

Hartmn
 

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Your tailgate panel is made from plastic and isn't very thick. I found on mine that 2 holes with 2 screws wouldn't hold my license plate and metal frame ( the holes wallow out easy). My license plate was held on with the 2 upper screws and they just thread into the plastic. I drilled the two lower holes of the license plate and all was well. You can drill any of that area if you are careful and it will accept screws. Just drill slowly and don't let the drill bit penetrate the panel too far or you might come in contact with the wires or latch mechanism.
If you want to investigate what is behind the body panel, open your tailgate, open the storage area cover in the tailgate and you will see 4 screws along the top. Remove these screws and carefully remove your panel to look behind it. It just curls around the tailgate on the bottom side and the top is held by the screws and there are wires attached to it for the release latch switch and the license plate lights, but you can still open it enough to see what is in there and determine a plan of action.



The picture is a little blurry because it's a sceen capture from a video I did. If you only need to move it an eighth of an inch you might drill the hole a little bigger and just use a short bolt with a washer and a nut on the back side. You'd have to open up the panel to hold the nut on the backside when you change your license plate, but how often do you change your plate? That would allow a hole big enough to level out the license plate and the fix would be hidden anyway. Hope this helps. DCO
 

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Discussion Starter #16
DreamCarOwner!


Big help!!! So I'll look for some different screws from the dealer and if they can't come up with a little longer and a little wider I'll have a bit more direction as to how to proceed. Thank you so much! Hopefully I will get through this without further new panel and painting. But I don't think it will come to that. It just sucks that dealers don't our employees that are more passionate about what they do. I see the car dealers on a regular schedule for service of my other vehicles and they seem to hire some really dults at all levels of employee. I guess that rear panel probably doesn't come pre painted like some of the others are. Correct?

Where can I watch your video?

Thanks for the great information.

Hartmn
 

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So I'll look for some different screws from the dealer and if they can't come up with a little longer and a little wider I'll have a bit more direction as to how to proceed.
Take one of the screws to a good hardware store or auto parts store. Match the head, diameter, and thread specs, but get the next longer size.

I guess that rear panel probably doesn't come pre painted like some of the others are.

All base panels (black, white, red, and yellow 451s) have molded-in colors; whereas all metallic panels have a painted-on color coat. Replacement panels for metallic cars are always shipped ready to paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Stevenvillatoro,

I replaced the hood on my vehicle and it came factory painted. So not all panel are primed for paint some are already to install painted. The rear fender flares and front valance had to be painted. I hope the dealer can just send me some screws so I don't have to go looking for screws. But it could happen that way! Does anyone happen to know if the rear panel comes factory painted?

Hartmn
 

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The only correct way to repair this issue, if the screw holes are not level is to replace the entire panel. The panels for the 451 are already painted. I understand that the 453 panels do not come painted. Since you are close to Smartmadness, they should be able to assist you with your concern. The screws are just generic drill & tap screws available at any hardware store. Make sure they are not too long, as you will drill into the tailgate storage compartment.
 
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