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2013 2.5i Outback Limited w/ moonroof
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227 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

My plates came in today, and when I asked how they mount to the OB they told me they drill out the dimples on the front and mount the plate itself.

I get this, but are there threads behind there? Do they just insert a machine screw through the plastic and it holds??

When I asked the sales guy he told me he didn't know. Should I buy something like this first?

https://www.subaruonlineparts.com/product_info.php?cPath=32_108_118&products_id=1279
 

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Premium Member
2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,526 Posts
That is correct - there are dimples. The quickest is to go to PepBoys, Wallmart, Trak Auto or similar and get 4 white plastic license plate plugs (round on the bottom, square on top) - they come with screws as well - push those into holes just drilled and you can attach your front plate.
Alternatively, go to your selling dealer and they should take care of it .... free of charge!
 

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2013 2.5i Outback Limited w/ moonroof
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227 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I the dealer is going to install the license plate for free, but they couldn't confirm to me if they would install threads inside the holes so the plate can be removed easily or not.

The impression I got was they just screw the plate into the dimples and call it a day which doesn't seem right to me.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,105 Posts
there are some more expensive, 'creative' license palte holders. check amazon.

some even stow away under the bumper - some are shifted over from the center, etc.
 

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'11 2.5i Premium PZEV
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271 Posts
The impression I got was they just screw the plate into the dimples and call it a day which doesn't seem right to me.
That is how my dealer did it. And the screws were HUGE wood screws I came to find out later. Annoying.
 

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2013 Outback Limited 2.5 EyeSight & 2010 Legacy Premium, 2010 OB Limited (traded)
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2,129 Posts
They use self taping screws and screw the plate, usually with a dealer advertising plastic frame around it, directly into the dimples. The proper way to do it is to use a front license plate bracket (Subaru or otherwise). But even that comes with self taping screws that just screw into the dimples. Then you screw the plate to the bracket. My Legacy is screwed directly into the dimples while my Outback has the Subaru license plate bracket. I think it's a cleaner look without the bracket. Here is a link with some discussion, pics, and links to the 2 available Subaru brackets: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...76-2013-front-license-plate-bracket-same.html
 

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Premium Member
2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,526 Posts
I agree with you and therefore, if you do it yourself (as I have described) you will have it right. I have done it; drilled a hole and inserted the white plug in and then used stainless steel screws that would fit nicely inside - see picture. It's my EU plate because in FL you don't need front license plate...
 

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2019 Forester Sport. Love the Orange.
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4,018 Posts
You are fortunate your dealer didn't tap your bumper. I told mine a half dozen times before deleivery not to. I got the giant wood screw treatment. Very aggressive holes. mpnret, hit it right on the money.
 

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2013 Outback Limited 2.5i
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15 Posts
Opposite problem question -- dealer put in front plate without asking, I don't need it as I'm in a non-front plate state. Advice on filling the holes with something that looks decent?
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i CVT Limited, Nav+EyeSight
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228 Posts
You are fortunate your dealer didn't tap your bumper. I told mine a half dozen times before deleivery not to. I got the giant wood screw treatment. Very aggressive holes. mpnret, hit it right on the money.
This. I didn't even think to ask them not to - but it might not have made a difference. They didn't even use a plate holder - they just screwed the plate right to the bumper. Put a pair of screws right in the vertical center of the front bumper, making the plate hang down into the "mouth". Bumper scratched a bit by the plate itself, both front and rear.

I went to Advance Auto and picked up a $5 License Plate Bracket, for both the front and the back. The front plate screws were centered on the bumper, so I was able to use the center mount points of that bracket to get the plate centered properly (instead of hanging off the bottom into the gap. Rear one fit fine as just a spacer.

Ignore the plastic spacers on the screws in the photo of the front plate. I wasn't able to find screws of the right thread that were short enough, so I used spacers until I got around to dremeling off the excess length of the screws.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,526 Posts
Simple solution: use any black push button clips to fill the holes. Measure the hole diameter with a caliper and then buy those in any auto parts store.
 

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2013 2.5i Outback Limited w/ moonroof
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Discussion Starter #12
I took it over and they offered me a $30 bracket which isn't as nice as the one at the online store. I asked if there was anything else they could do as my other concern was the metal plate rubbing against the paint.

They still machine screwed it in, so it didn't help my original issue, but they had a couple rubber bushings laying around from a previous car repair and it worked perfectly. It keeps the plate about a 1/4" away from the car to give it that slight air space. It held on a lot tighter then I expected.

Best part was it didn't cost me anything.

Mike
 

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2013 Outback Limited 2.5 EyeSight & 2010 Legacy Premium, 2010 OB Limited (traded)
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2,129 Posts
Nothing wrong with those self taping screws. That's the way 99.99% of the front plates are attached. Even the front brackets when ordered with the car come attached with them. The bracket gets factory (or port) installed when ordered with the car.
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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838 Posts
Opposite problem question -- dealer put in front plate without asking, I don't need it as I'm in a non-front plate state. Advice on filling the holes with something that looks decent?

When I moved from MD (requires front plate) to WV (no front plate), I replaced the front plate on my car with one something like this:

Amazon.com: Deluxe Pittsburgh Penguins Logo Hockey Stick License Plate: Everything Else


There are plenty of different versions out there for whatever your favorite team is.

I would say "Go Pens," but they would have to play for to get that. *&%$ing stupid lockout. :28:
 

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Premium Member
2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,526 Posts
Speaking of that - what's up with the NHL season this year? Do you have any "insider" info? Life without hockey is boring!
 

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If you live in a parallel parking area avoid any raised license plate frames on your front bumper given the whole parallel parking thing will result in the frame cutting into the plastic bumper cover and causing more damage than its worth.

Self tapping screws the largest you can fit through the license plate holes are best. I had to put front plates on my recently purchased 07 Toyota it had very small dents in the plastic where the license plate sits. I simply drilled a small pilot hole for each one then used a socket driver to install the self tapping stainless screws picked up at ACE Hardware.

Wife had a license plate frame on the VW and we have a very sizable cut through the bumper due to parallel parking peeps doing the park by brail method. Our old subaru simply had some minor scratches on the front bumper no damage other wise it only had the license plate held in place by self tapping screws.
 

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2020 OB Limited XT
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336 Posts
You're on the right track

Hello,

My plates came in today, and when I asked how they mount to the OB they told me they drill out the dimples on the front and mount the plate itself.

I get this, but are there threads behind there? Do they just insert a machine screw through the plastic and it holds??

When I asked the sales guy he told me he didn't know. Should I buy something like this first?

https://www.subaruonlineparts.com/product_info.php?cPath=32_108_118&products_id=1279
I purchased the front license plate holder you are looking at from Subaru Parts Online. If memory serves me correctly this website is that of a New England dealer and the part in question is made by a firm other than Subaru. It works perfectly and I have it on my 2011 OB 3.6R Limited. I highly recommend it. Take a look at the two attached pictures and you can decide.

My $0.02. YMMV

Fred Meloan
 

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2013 2.5i Premium 6mt, Twilight Blue
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