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The Rule of Thumb

Where and how the transponder gets installed is critical to successful reads. The “Rule of Thumb” is our guide on how to do it right the first time, every time.

The guidelines:

  1. Place the sticker horizontally
  2. Place the sticker at least 2 inches from materials containing metal whenever possible
  3. Place the sticker so that it faces the antenna

Stickers must be placed horizontally.

We all know the beautiful angles of a Porsche make you want to have the sticker follow the lines of the headlight, but we need you to resist (or accept that the driver is going to have to get within 6 feet of the reader for it to work)


The two inch rule is easy enough, and possible to follow on all but the smallest of headlights. We include an install card in every box of HeadlightStickers™, and that card has a two-inch ruler for your convenience.


The goal is to face the sticker face-to-face with the antenna at the point it has to open the gate. It sounds intuitive but can be a fairly complex three-dimensional problem.

Fortunately, most of us have a great tool for quickly assessing the directionality of a sticker: your thumb.

Stick your thumb on top of the center of where you want the sticker. Does it point toward the antenna? You’re good to go!

Where is your antenna?

When assessing where to place a HeadlightSticker™ for optimal efficiency, it is essential to know where the antenna will be, relative to the entering vehicle:

  • Is the antenna on the left or right side?
  • Is the antenna down low by the barrier arm, or mounted on a six foot pole?

Question 1: Which side?:

This one is common sense. If the antenna is on the driver’s side, place the sticker on the driver’s side headlamp.

And vice-versa: if the antenna is on the passenger’s side, place the sticker on the passenger’s side headlamp.

Question 2: How high is the antenna?:

A typical sedan may not have many options, but vehicles with large or complex headlight shapes have more options for placing the HeadlightSticker™. In such cases, you may want to place the sticker on a fairly front-facing part of the headlamp (for a lower antenna) or toward the top (for a higher antenna.)

Here is a great time to use your rule of thumb to find a place where your HeadlightSticker™ will point at the antenna. Keep the base of your hand flat against the headlight, and point your thumb out. If your thumb points toward where the reader will be, you’re good.

This vehicle (above) has very angular headlights, offering several possible mount points. Pictured above is an upward facing mount point to meet a high mounted antenna.

Tips for the Rule of Thumb

When using the Rule of Thumb to figure out the best point for mounting a HeadlightSticker, it is important to do so from where you want the read to happen.

For instance, if you want the arm to open only a vehicle is right in front of the barrier arm, you’ll want a high mounted antenna pointing downward. Then you would want to put the sticker as high as possible.

Or if you want a long 30-40 foot read range for a gate, a low reader is ideal, and you want to use the Rule of Thumb from that far back to position the sticker.

When you are ready to install the sticker, park the vehicle in the target read zone if you can. For wherever you’re planning to install the sticker, double check with the Rule of Thumb: does your thumb point at the antenna?

If so, the read will be optimal when the car is at this particular location. If not, move your hand and find a spot that works better.

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