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My fellow Californians, what's the verdict on the front license plate holder? I just got word that my smart's in Long Beach (1182). I got the 10 days in port e-mail from the San Jose dealer and was asked if I wanted the plate holder installed. My first inclination is no. I don't want to have some clunky, third party, mismatched holder bolted to the front end. I wanted to hear from you other Smart drivers as to whether or not you've run into problems not having a front plate, or if you do have the holder, does it look like a clunky, mismatched, third party add-on? Thanks.
 

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It was too late for me. The dealer mounted it before I had a chance to say no. I hate fron plates! I have been driving another car with no front plate for years without being cited but I know another person in my town who was ticketed, so some cops are looking...
 

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My fellow Californians, what's the verdict on the front license plate holder? I just got word that my smart's in Long Beach (1182). I got the 10 days in port e-mail from the San Jose dealer and was asked if I wanted the plate holder installed. My first inclination is no. I don't want to have some clunky, third party, mismatched holder bolted to the front end. I wanted to hear from you other Smart drivers as to whether or not you've run into problems not having a front plate, or if you do have the holder, does it look like a clunky, mismatched, third party add-on? Thanks.
The one from: http://gominigo.com , goes into the front 'Tow-eye' hole, so you don't have to drill any holes. It's removable if you wish. The bonus is they also have a Euro plate adaptor that allows you to put a custom Euro plate on the front for Greet&Meets, shows, parades etc and back to state plate after (1 bolt).

Donald LaFavor
 

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I've seen the front license plate bracket that goes into the tow-eye (so you don't have to drill any holes) and it looks and works great. That's what I'm getting as plates are required on the front of your vehicle in Washington.
 

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I also recommend that website. You can use the mount without drilling holes in the front...the only thing is that it sits off-center. But for those of you who hate front plates, I recommend it!
 

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I've seen the front license plate bracket that goes into the tow-eye (so you don't have to drill any holes) and it looks and works great. That's what I'm getting as plates are required on the front of your vehicle in Washington.
I don't know where in Washington you are but 'Gominigo' is in Olympia (877) 652-2563 Dave or Meg, Tell them Donald said, "Hello".

If you opt for the Euro plate holder Dave will tell you where to get a custom plate, mine says "fortwo".

Donald LaFavor
 

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I wanted to hear from you other Smart drivers as to whether or not you've run into problems not having a front plate...
Ohhhhhh yes, we've had tix on other cars that the DPT so kindly gave us for no front plate while parked in SF (no idea if the rest of the Bay Area is as vigilant, but I am guessing that if they are not yet they will be). LEOs will also hand them out if they have you over.

But whatever you do don't buy the tow hook lic plate mount, I don't want everyone around here sporting it ;)
 

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I got 3 no front plate tickets last year with my other car, they are $100 each. So I now velcro my front plate when I park. If you park in SF you probably want to have front plate on when you park. I went to lunch with a friend in the Mission and his meter expired and he got a ticket for that and no front plate as well.

Our Smart already got holes drilled and front plate bracket mounted when we picked it up so I guess I will just mount a front plate. I was going to get the no holes holder as well.
 

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I opted not to use that plate holder because....

I was going to get the no holes holder as well.[/QUOTE]

I didn't want to have to screw around with removing it if I had to use the tow hook for any purpose...perhaps not having the wrench needed to remove it and just complicate a situation that may already be complicated.
I also felt that it could be ripped off or damaged by an automatic car wash since it does standoff from the car somewhat such that a brush or clothe drape that they use for washing could flip around it, get itself in a knot and then rip the plate off.....you know how those car wash things happen like that....:(.
So anyway..... I installed my own front plate holder....NON-BADGED. I drilled and tapped 1/4-20 right thru the plastic into the metal bumper just behind the plastic nose to attach the plate holder to the car....terra firma. I used some never sieze on the SSframe holder bolts to deter any rust at the tapped hole. Then I bolted the plate to the frame with 4 SS bolts so it's on there and isn't going to be ripped off anytime soon. I suspect that dealerships only attach the frame to the plastic but I don't know that for sure. The metal bumper was pretty hard drilling and tapping ...harder than regular old normal carbon steel and tap free use is advised.

So that's how I did it. The plate holder is ON THERE and as long as it stays in NY or any other state requiring front plates the holes will be non-issue.
If they become an issue for any reason, some plastic filler and touchup paint will make them go away. :)
 

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We have seen that a number of folks are making use of the GoMiniGo 'no holes' towhook license plate holders instead of the screw-in the front plinth, I went that route, as you know I don't want to drill any holes in my car.

You can also use a special double-sided tape holder, though I wonder how well these hold up in the heat of California (in the UK that isn't much of a problem, LOL!)

Here are links to both:

GoMiniGo 'no holes' towhook license plate holder
http://gominigo.com/NHLPB-Smart.html

These work for a variety of cars. Although they are more expensive than a plinth holder, they hold the plate very well.

There's pics here.. notice some have the towhook holder.
http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4962

Sticky License Plate holder
http://www.craigsplates.com/accessories/index.php?page=product-detail&product-id=79

(the GoMiniGo sticky plate holder thing is similar)

I talked this over EXTENSIVELY with the San Francisco smart center, and researched it with the California DMV, this is what I arrived at...

Important note: If you don't want the dealership to drill holes in your smart, let them know well in advance of your delivery date, and also bring the other plate holder with you when you come pick-up the car.

Why is this? Because a short time ago, California Mercedes dealerships had some bad past experiences with letting some of the higher-end models go without a front plate, which got them into a class-action lawsuit.

The management sympathizes with your need to find alternate ways to mount the plate or have your car painted (in my case) with no hole filling needed.. but this issue goes way beyond the brand manager or store owners.

Point is, they are not going to let you drive out of there with a Smart ForTwo or an SLR class or anything, without a front plate holder on it.

Solution? Just bring your towhook holder or what-have-you and install it when you pickup your car, simple as that.

For those that are interested, here is what the DMV says:

Front License Plate Bracket

11713.17. (a) Following the retail sale or lease of a motor vehicle for which the department issues two license plates, a dealer may not deliver the motor vehicle unless either of the following occurs:

(1) The motor vehicle is equipped with a bracket or other means of securing a front license plate.

(2) The dealer obtains a signed written acknowledgment from the person taking delivery of the motor vehicle acknowledging both of the following:

(A) The person expressly refused installation of a bracket or other means of securing the front license plate.

(B) The person understands that California law requires a license plate to be displayed from and securely fastened to the front of the motor vehicle and that the hardware necessary to securely fasten the front plate is available from the dealer.

(b) A manufacturer or distributor may not sell or distribute in this state a new motor vehicle for which the department issues two license plates, unless that motor vehicle is equipped or provided with a bracket or other means of securing the license plates.
Added Sec. 1, Ch. 365, Stats. 2004. Effective January 1, 2005.

5201. License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible. The rear license plate shall be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 60 inches from the ground, and the front license plate shall be mounted not more than 60 inches from the ground, except as follows:

(this goes on for handicapped and tow plates, which don't apply in my case) Note that this excerpt is from 3 years ago and doesn't take into consideration the aforementioned legal problems. If you are outside California, you may have other options as some states don't require a front plate at all.
In California, the front plate bracket can simply be "provided" with the car at time of sale. Being new, the car has no plates ** they're mailed later to the owner from DMV.

So, you can tell the dealer not to install the bracket (...along with their tackey advertising paper affixed in the frame).

I'm thinking the Mercedes issue you refer to probably involved dealerships not including the bracket at all during the sale.
 

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Call them NOW if you don't want it. I emailed them the DAY after I got the 30 days notice, they STILL put the front plate holder on there
 

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Call them NOW if you don't want it. I emailed them the DAY after I got the 30 days notice, they STILL put the front plate holder on there
I live in Nashville and was to pick up my smart this past Wednesday while on a business trip in Knoxville, I turned my rental car in before going to the dealer Wednesday afternoon.
When I arrived they had a "Mercedes of Knoxville" license plate on the front (Tennessee only has a rear plate. I had spoke to the sales associate there in February and specifically told her that I didn't want holes drilled and she told me they didn't do that.

When I mentioned it to her on Wednesday that I was not happy and they would have to order me a new panel. She said they would make it right. They had another white fortwo waiting to be picked up but would not be able to switch panels until Thursday. I told them I needed something to drive as I had another day of business there.
They gave me a black/black fortwo demo, which was fine with me to drive. I returned Thursday afternoon and the panels had been switched so I completed paperwork and drove back to Nashville.

Bill
 

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In IL the police cannot pull you over ONLY for a missing front plate, but if they pull you over for something else, they hassle you about it. Sadly my dealer pre-installed my Smart Car front plate also before I picked up the car, and later I ended up having to move it down about 1/4" inch because it interfered with the sports bar add-on bumper I bought. My choice was either drill new holes or leave the plate off entirely and have two drilled holes in my front bumper exposed. I thought the drilled holes looked terrible and put the plate back on to cover them. For any of you that haven't gotten your car yet, be certain to tell the dealer IF you want a front plate and WHERE you want the plate. Once they drill, its too late. You will have permanent holes in your plastic bumper.
 

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There are two slight dimples on the front bumper area to locate the plate holder. That is where they are supposed to be put. Most likely that is what the dealer went by to put the bracket on.
 

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make your own front license plate holder

I know this is an old thread, but in case other folks search for information about front license plate holder alternatives, I want them to find this. Having last had a Ford Focus, where aftermarket parts are plentiful and reasonably priced, I've been amazed at how much some companies are charging for smart accessories. I guess it's just because they can. If I could afford $189 for pedal covers, I wouldn't be driving a smart, if everyone will please forgive me for saying. I love my smart, but part of the reason I have it is because I could afford it.

Now that I'm past that - I also think $50 for a bolt and a piece of metal to mount your front license plate on is also TOO TOO much. I would have ordered this in a heartbeat for $20, maybe even $25. But not $50. I'm going to buy a piece of sheet metal from Home Depot to fashion the mounting plate from, and will paint it black for aesthetic reasons. And once I found the right terminology to search for - I found bumper bolts at a couple of different locations. Of course the first place I found sold them in pairs and wanted $40 plus shipping - that's no good, I won't even provide that link.

Okay, nevermind 4wheelonline.com - I ordered my part from them 13 days ago, had to wait 5 days before I could even inquire about tracking info, and when I did request tracking, I got nothing. (The site says if you request tracking in less than 5 days they'll simply ignore it.) I called them and while holding for about 15 minutes, I googled the site and the word 'reviews' and I see nothing but people complaining about them. I gave up holding - the automatic voice saying thank you for holding stopped saying that after about 5 minutes. So I hope nobody else ordered this part from them based on my post that I'm now changing. I guess I just lost $13. (This update was done on 8-28-10.)

It can also be purchased individually from this site, one of the approved vendors on this site:
http://www.smartmadness.com/servlet/the-745/smart-car-bumper-bolt/Detail
 

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The dealer already drilled holes and mounted mine in the standard black plastic mount. Mine has been backed into by stupid people that don't know how to park one too many times. I'd like to replace it with a new one that doesn't look so crunched/weathered. Do you know where I can buy one with out paying full dealer price? I saw some universal ones on ebay but I want to get the best looking one to use with my existing drilled holes.
 
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