Front Plate Folly - 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Long-Term Road Test

2010 Chevrolet Camaro Long Term Road Test

2010 Chevy Camaro SS: Front Plate Folly

September 10, 2009

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Those of you who don't live in front-plate-states, consider yourself lucky. Living in the Republic of California, we're stuck with 'em. But hey, State's in a budget crisis and no-front-plate tickets are easy money-- and money we don't want to spend. Our plates arrived yesterday and I went down to the garage to install them.

Step 1: Get screwdriver. Step 2: Find front plate bracket (Hooray, it's in the car. I hate when dealers forget to include this.) Step 3: Find mounting hardware for front plate bracket. Damn. Not taped to the bracket. Not in the glove box. Not in the trunk. Step 4: Check front bumper for guide holes. Nothing. Not even dimples. I don't want to G8 this and have it all crooked. Step 5: Go to Santa Monica Chevy.

While I was waiting on the techs to get back from lunch, I figured I was bright and mechanically inclined enough to mount the rear plate all by myself. Screwdriver (the + kind) in hand I removed the dealer plate, which oddly enough was only attached at the bottom, and found this

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Yep, it was only mounted at the bottom because there were only tabs to hold screws on the bottom. I'd have thought this is something the guys at the dealer would've caught and fixed when they mounted the plate. Goobers. When I got to SM Chevy, I told them about the back plate. It's just a couple of plastic tabs that, unfortunately, they didn't have available right now.

The front plate, they said, would take about 30 minutes. I walked down the street for a coffee.

40 min later I came back and the car was ready to go. I walked to the front to check out the work and the damn thing was off center. Not crooked like the G8, but off center by about half an inch. Now, that's not huge, but the new Camaro has a crease down the center and the mounting bracket is creased to match-- essentially, what you've got to do when mounting the front plate is put a V on top of another V. When this is done correctly, it's a snug fit with no gaps, when done incorrectly there are gaps everywhere. I was too mad to take a picture, I just threw them the keys back said, "It's crooked. Fix it." and went back in the waiting room.

It took another 20 minutes but now the plate is on and almost right. It's now about a half centimeter off and there are some gaps at the edges, but I had been there two hours and wasn't going to argue anymore. Maybe Dan will fix this one, too.

The good news in all of this was our service advisor. He was as mad as I was that the plate was off center and apologized profusely. Though he wasn't good enough to waive the $49 flat-rate front-plate installation fee.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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