2016 Chevrolet Volt: Drilling Holes for a License Plate
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on March 17, 2016
"You don't want to do that," said the guy at Selman Chevrolet, where we bought our 2016 Chevrolet Volt. We were surrounded by three pristine Corvettes in the showroom.
In my head I was nodding in agreement like Angus Young. But my mouth said, "Yeah, but this car spends a lot of time in West L.A. and Santa Monica, places where parking enforcement would gladly write us up for no front license plate."
Because it's a requirement in California (and 30 other states,) a front license plate bracket came with the car. But the necessary attachment hardware was nowhere to be found. It takes 6 to 8 weeks for license plates to be issued, so it didn't matter until now.
"I'm here to get the pop-rivets and screws that were supposed to come with the bracket," I continued.
"You don't want to do that," he repeated, meaning something slightly different this time. "Bring it around and we'll put it on for you."
This time he was wrong. "Thanks, but I want to do it myself. Can you see if you have the parts?"
"You're the first person who's wanted to do that," he said. But he soon returned with a baggie containing the four pop-rivets and four screws I needed.
This is not a do-it-yourself piece. It's more of a fingernails-on-the-chalkboard exercise, a horror movie for those that admire a car's styling above all else.
I can't tell you how much I hate the front license plate requirement. But I understand the reality of it. And ultimately, this is no Lamborghini. Heck, it's not even a Miata.
The plate bracket itself has all the necessary directions molded right into it.
What you can't see is the Sharpie in my wife's hand, waiting for me to align the V-shape of the bracket with the nose of the car and fit the notches at either side up against a step in the fascia.
I have a spring-loaded center punch, and with it I placed a divot in the center of each of her Sharpie marks so the drill bit wouldn't "walk."
Speaking of drilling, this is the point at which the squeamish might want to look away.
The horror. The plastic. Did you think it would be made of anything else?
Incidentally, the molded bracket instructions called for a 7/32" drill bit, but I found that the less-common 13/64" bit I had in my drill index was a snugger fit.
Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.
Like it or not, it's done. And it's nice and square. Best of all, I can't see it while I'm sitting inside driving our Volt.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 6,033 miles