Why you need a front license plate
Why you need a front license plate
7:54

Why you need a front license plate

Cars
I haven't read every state statute in that of District of Columbia. But I'm told that in 31 states in DC you need one of these things a front license plates, the bane of pretty cars sticking out here loosen sloppy and just an afterthought. Let's find out why they say we need one and what you can do to make that a little less atrocious. [MUSIC] Since 31 states require you have a front plate that means, what? 19 don't? Here's the map. If those are one of your states, you can skip this video and I'll see you in the next one. For the rest of you, stick around. [MUSIC] But you're still here so I assume you're a member of one of the big 31. So let's decide why we hate front quite so much, should be pretty clear right first of all there's no well for most cars for a front plate to sit in Unlike the backs of cars, they have beautiful little homes for them on a Porsche, a Ferrari even on our damn van. There's a nice place for the rear plate to live. Nothing like that in the front. Then there's the idea that front plate sit proud, they stick out, they're the very front thing of a car, which means they get tattered and bent and crumbled and all of those Touch parking situations, they look nasty. Then there's the fact that a lot of folks say why do we have them? They don't even carry registration tags. Those are on the back. What's the point of having a plane on the front that has places for tags and no tags in them? It just seems superfluous. And the fourth one, probably less of an issue, is blocking a grill on some cars again, especially on some really nice performance and exotic cars. Where the plate wants to go is where there is a beautiful and often functional grille, not to mention this piece of metal interrupting aerodynamics that a car maker spend a lot of time worrying about. So, yeah, we got some reasons to hate these things. All these states didn't just make this up. One of the biggest reasons is really three reasons. Its meter readers, law enforcement and automatic license plate readers, which are a combination of state and private party actors who want you to have a front plate because, for all of their purposes, a second place doubles their chances to see you or at least do so conveniently and identify your car. Although frankly by that logic, why don't we have signed plates that's a bigger, far more visible part of a vehicle. No one ever thought of that. Don't start it. And aside from the officials, a front plate can help you ideal another car, sometimes via dashcam footage. So now that we've resigned ourselves to having a front plate Lets figure out how it has to be there. I'm gonna use California vehicle code because that's where I am obviously and California has the most cars registered in country by almost double the next state. Here's what California law says. It must be securely fastened. The plate must be clearly visible. Those last two are gonna get you a ticket for throwing your front plate on your dashboard. It cannot be swinging, I'm not sure what inspired that. It must be mounted right side up and read left to right, of course. It can be no more than 60 inches off the ground. No problem here, our entire car is only 50 inches high. And on the front there's no minimum height like the 12 inch minimum for the rear. No covers allowed unless it's just protecting the registration tabs. So that means no cover at all on the front and you may not remove any reflective coating on the thing. Those are the rules. Here's some ways to play by them without taking the drill to the front of your car. [MUSIC] Here's another problem with front plates. They get banged into the car in a way that the car wasn't meant to deal with and you get all these nasty gouges and Scratches from everyday parking. At least this car had factory holes made for those crummy little mounting blocks but yuck. Here's one thing that a lot of people do who have sporty cars ever seen one these little doors are little ports here that opens up on the front of a car. What that's meant for is a towing eye on cars like this. You don't normally do a **** and grab with a tow truck. You put one of these in there. That gives the towing truck ability to grab this to pull it up on a ramp, typically on a flatbed because cars like this require a flatbed, but what you can do is repurpose this hole which you almost never use, and instead, put in this stud that is made to hold a special license plate frame. Now once you get this guy threaded in, and those guys are really beefy. They're enough to pull the car, they can certainly hold a licence plate. And I'm just putting it in hand tight. And then you've got a female threaded area there, upon which you can mount this plate frame like so. Now you've got this thing that sits, At least away from the car, not requiring new holes in the body work. It does give you an offset look you've got to be okay with, and you can bend and shape this thing to get it, as square with the axes of the car as you'd like. But you can't do anything about the offset. It's a look It's one of those pretty popular again with people that have imports sports cars and that sort of road demon look. I think it's kind of cool. [MUSIC] Well let's say you don't have a car that have one of those ports over there for a tower, you got a regular car, nothing like that. So instead you can look at one of these things. These are kind of like, They kinda like [UNKNOWN] so what they do is they still require you drill holes in your car to mount these but they're holes where you don't see them. You see on the tops of these, these would go up underneath the body work and be screwed in there. And then give you a place here, where you would attach your license plate. You still go holes in your car But they're up here where no one's going to see them. Now as you're shopping around, you may find something that claims to be a magnetic, no drill license plate mount. These aren't those kind of license plate mount. These are meant for dealers and test drive. They're very temporary. You mount them on the back light so with this a smooth non scratching magnetic rubber side over here, and that's all well and good. But two problems arise. [SOUND] That's gonna happen. There is no metal up here, it hasn't been in decades. To get metal you gotta go up there. Well, first of all that looks stupid, second of all that's almost certainly gonna violate the law we just saw about being securely attached And fully visible, that's a weird angle. It's a weird place, and it's easily stolen. That's not what these are for. [MUSIC] Adhesive license plates are an interesting work around. These are essentially novelty products to be sure, but if you order one that is identical in layout and size to an actual state plate and of course it has your actual plate number on it. You stick it on your car, you have no holes and if you're lucky Police Officer might accept it as a plate properly positioned it checks off almost every box toward being a legal plate, except that it's not a plate at all. There are quick release plate mounts that require no visible holes. These are particularly good for the person who wants their car to quickly look good when they arrive at cars and coffee. Yes, there are even motorized front plate mounts to make the thing disappear with a button push. But the chin of a car is an unforgiving place. I have my doubts about the durability of these. Now if you are thinking all this crap can go away because we are on the verge of these connected digital license plates, which we have shown you before, think again, at least here in California, even if you have one of those high tech plates. You still have to put a piece of tin on the front of your car. There's no relief yet. [SOUND]

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