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After receiving a $120 ticket for front license plate on my Volvo 244 Turbo, I decided that both of my cars should run with license plates to avoid any more tickets. I would never run with the factory license plate bracket on my Miata, especially because my factory front bumper has no holes or dimples- a damage all too common in the Miatas resulting from bumping into something with the factory license plate bracket. Some have flipped the stock bracket so it hangs over the Miata’s “mouth,” but I prefer not to sacrifice radiator air flow or my front bumper’s clean form. In the end, my choice to get the Garage Star bracket was an easy one; the end result of license plate installation looks the best, and it removes the most potential for damaging the bumper with the license plate, which I appreciate.

The installation process is easy, and minimally involving. Anyone with basic knowledge of tools should be able to install it in about 30-60 minutes, depending on how quickly you work. I completed my installation in about 45 minutes while documenting the process here in this DIY thread.

What You’ll Get:
1x License Plate Bracket
1x Tow Hook Mount Adapter
3x 17mm Bolts
3x Lock Washers
2x Washers
1x 17mm Bolt
2x Allen Bolt/2x Lock Washer/2x Washer/2x Locking Nut (all together)

What You’ll Need:
1x 17mm Wrench
1x 17mm Ratchet/Another 17mm Wrench/Crescent Wrench
1x 5/32 Allen Key
1x 11mm Wrench
2x Your Hands

Step Zero: (Optional)
Remove the plastic radiator air feed for extra work room. I strongly recommend taking the time to do this, as it grants you a good amount of room to work with.

Step One: Attaching the adapter piece
Identify the tow hook mount adapter. Take two of the 17mm bolts, and thread one lock washer onto each.
Identify the mount for the tow hook on the chassis, it should look like this:

Sorry for the garbage picture quality.

Take the tow hook mount adapter, and thread one 17mm bolt through the leftmost of the two holes (the ones closest together). Then, thread the bolt through the leftmost of the two front factory tow hook holes. Repeat this process with the rightmost of the holes. Using the 17mm wrench, tighten the bolts down.

The result should look like this:

If you have trouble threading the two 17mm bolts in easily, make sure that you are threading the bolts into the chassis straight to the threads. The holes are at an awkward angle, so it may not be easy to thread them in at first. Keep at it. It’s also possible that there is rust in the threads, in which case you will have to clean it out with a small bottle brush or something of the sort.

Step Two: Attaching the License Plate Bracket
Take the last 17mm bolt, and thread a washer onto it. Take the license plate bracket, holding it upright, as it would sit on the car, and thread the last 17mm bolt down through the top of it. Then thread the bolt through the remaining protruding tow hook mount adapter hole. Take the remaining washer, and thread it onto the bolt. Then thread the remaining lock washer onto the bolt. Finally, take the nut and thread it onto the bolt and tighten it down with the 17mm wrench and 17mm Ratchet/17mm Wrench/Crescent Wrench.

Should look like this:

At this point, take a look to see if the bracket sits flat while flush with the body. Mine was at a slight angle, so I contacted Ken at Garage Star to see if this was normal/what to do to remedy it. He told me that it was normal, and that sometimes the brackets need slight adjustment. To adjust it, take both hands and gently bend the bracket so that the bracket is no longer at an angle.

The result should look like this:

Step Three: Attaching the License Plate to the Bracket
Take the remaining hardware (2x Allen Bolt/2x Lock Washer/2x Washer/2x Locking Nut) and disassemble them. Thread them together on the car in this order: Allen Bolt-Washer-License Plate-License Plate Bracket-Washer-Locking nut

Heres a picture of how my car turned out, I think it looks terrific!

63 Posts
What an un-necessarily complicated bracket.

Why doesn't it simply do away with the first part and use the tow hook instead?

262 Posts
I love my garage star license plate mount. Super super easy to put on if your car still has it's baby teeth. I too was confused why it was crooked at first but I quickly figured out that you have to bend it a little.
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