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Front License Plate Woes

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Old 12-30-2017, 07:01 PM
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Default Front License Plate Woes

This post is a cautious tale for everyone who lives in dual-plate states (i.e., those that require both front and rear license plates) and opt to use the Audi-supplied front plate bracket.

As is common knowledge on this board, B9s in the United States come with a bracket to hold the front license plate if you don't opt for the front plate delete option. The bracket itself connects to the front grill using two screws. The bracket can be removed, and the screw holes can then be covered with a blanking plate to create a clean plate-less look. It's a pretty well thought out system that allows you to add and remove a front plate without any permanent damage to grill or front bumper. The front and rear plate brackets are installed at the factory, so dealers should not have to do anything to get them ready.

Nonetheless, as is my habit whenever I order new cars, I still gave my dealer two specific instructions in writing: (1) don't install any dealer badging anywhere on the car, and (2) don't drill/screw anything into my front grill/bumper, such as license plates. In other words, I want the car delivered to me just as it comes from the factory. Despite my clear instructions, when I picked up my car, the dealer installed front and rear vanity plates. Although I was perturbed because it went against my first instruction, I figured it wouldn't be a problem because the plate was attached to the factory-installed bracket, so the dealer couldn't have broken my second instruction. WRONG.

When I got home, I removed the vanity plate and the bracket, and to my horror, discovered that the screws used by the dealer to attach the plate and gone clean through the bracket and straight into the chrome on the grill.




This is because the screws used were too long, and because they were placed over the part of the bracket that straddles the chrome extrusions. Needless to say, I was pissed, and promptly notified the dealer of the problem. After speaking with the sales manager, and showing them the written instructions I had given them before my car was delivered, they agreed to replace the grill. They finished the swap today, and so I once again have a new grill without any damage. I hate to think what they would have done if I hadn't warned them, in writing, not to do what they did. But anyone can make a mistake, and I give them credit for making things right.

My dealer clearly screwed up. However, I can't stop thinking about how poorly designed the front bracket is to begin with. Part of it is ingenious: it CAN be easily installed and removed without causing any damage, which is good. But the plate attachment leaves much to be desired. Audi didn't provide any pre-drilled mounting holes or screws to use to attach the plate itself. That means dealers, or owners like us, have to obtain their own screws and figure out where to drill the holes as to not hit anything behind the bracket. And if you do it wrong, you will damage your car. This could have been avoided if Audi had provided a better system. I expect better for a car at this price range.

Anyway, in addition to installing a new grill, I also had the dealer give me a factory-new front bracket so that I could install the front license plate properly. Before I install it, I'd like to know what kind of screws you all used on your cars, and where you drilled the holes and screws to avoid hitting the grill. I don't want a repeat of my dealer's plate debacle. And hopefully seeing this post will save some of you from going through the same experience

Last edited by daniel1113; 12-30-2017 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:27 AM
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For those of you that are interested, I came up with my own plate mounting solution today. The problem with Audi's bracket is really with the 2 top screws. The grill is empty behind the 2 bottom screws, so there's nothing to hit down there, but there is plastic behind the 2 top screws. Which means the screws can touch the grill if you aren't careful. You can see what I'm talking about in this post:

https://www.audiworld.com/forums/a4-...mount-2917689/

Although it is certainly possible to find screws that are short enough to avoid hitting the grill, I didn't like the idea of using self-tapping screws or having screw tips poking out of the back of the bracket. So I ditched the self-tapping screws altogether and used 2 stainless steel fasteners with nuts to hold the bottom of the plate. To avoid any problems up top, I didn't use any bolts in the top holes. Instead, I used double-sided automotive body foam tape around all four holes. The tape has plenty of adhesion to keep the plate in place and stop any rattles. Combined with the two bottom bolts, I feel confident that my plate isn't going anywhere. For reference, I used 1/4 inch x 5/8 inch bolts.



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Old 12-31-2017, 11:43 AM
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Well done! That plate is well secured. Occasionally, with a little thought, we can do better than OEM. I don't live in a 2 plate state(fortunately), but I'm sure others can appreciate your post.
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:28 PM
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If it helps one more person, it will have been worth it

A small coda to the story. I went to install the plate after installing the bracket (the bracket must go on first), and realized there was no way to reach behind the grill to hold the nut in place while tightening the bolt (the best laid plans...). But I overcame that small obstacle by replacing the nuts with cage nuts. I squared the round holes with a file and the cage nuts snapped right in:



Btw, M6 cage nuts fit perfectly in the two square holes Audi made at the top of the bracket. Too bad they couldn't be bothered putting them at the correct locations for USA license plates. That would have been the cleanest and simplest solution to this silly bracket debacle.
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:12 PM
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thats crazy! How hard is it to make a $200 bracket that actually fits USA plates???
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:06 PM
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Default Tow Bar License plate holder


This is the best way I found to save the looks/grill.
Easy on/off
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:18 PM
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Ohio Is a two plate state...

I have never placed a front plate on..My Porsche/.Acura/Or My 2018 S4.. ever. .never will

This over the last four years



Law enforcement in this state will not pull you over for Just a no plate install..in fact its very common to see many vehicles without front plates . Its not an addressed issue ..Nor are burned out taillights


As I cover much of the state

.. The Highway patrol in this state is very thorough and they are more concerned with speeding.. However if you are stopped for any OTHER reason they may elect to write you a citation for no plate..
Minor issues here most likely will not go on your record. You may receive a warning..

If I ever do get cited for no plate Ill pay the fine..Enforcement will have to Justify the time.trouble for a plate violation ..They will not take the time for a "minor Issue"
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:30 AM
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New York is also a 2 plate state and I used to run no front plate on my Porsche. I've heard stories of people running no front plate and never getting pulled over... my experience is not the same. On my way to work, with the top down, a sheriff's deputy does a U-turn to pull me over. Writes me up for no front plate and says he patrols this road every day and will pull me over every time he sees me until I mount the front plate because I was headed to a client in that area every day for a while, I mounted the plate. Following summer, I remove the plate again as I'm not headed to that county any longer on a regular basis and my son was driving the car and a sheriff's deputy in another adjacent county pulled him over and gave him a ticket for the plate - he was pulled over for the plate, not speeding or anything else. Wasn't worth the aggravation of getting pulled over for no front plate, so I mounted it again and have left it on. Now I run both plates on all my cars as it's not worth the hassle.

I'd love to see a special rear only plate in NYS and I'd even pay a premium each year to have it. If I could run one plate, I'd definitely install the RS grill!
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:02 AM
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In Minneapolis, it's the parking enforcement officers who'll get you for no front plate. Guaranteed ticket if you're parked on a city street, or so I have heard from people who don't run one.

There are lots of early-20s dudes with blue Subaru WRXs around here who will put an unframed license plate propped up against their windshied. I have no idea if this helps avoid tickets, but to me the whole "plate in the windshield" thing looks 10x worse than if they had just bolted it to the front of their bumper like the law says you need to, and the whole tow hook mount thing looks even worse than that.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mplsbrian View Post
There are lots of early-20s dudes with blue Subaru WRXs around here who will put an unframed license plate propped up against their windshied. I have no idea if this helps avoid tickets, but to me the whole "plate in the windshield" thing looks 10x worse than if they had just bolted it to the front of their bumper like the law says you need to, and the whole tow hook mount thing looks even worse than that.
I'm not a fan of windshield or tow hook mounts either.
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