Narrow driveways with inches to spare on each side. Overgrown roadways with bushes and tree branches sticking out into the center. Crowded garages filled with bicycles and lawn equipment strewn everywhere. Supermarket parking lots where shoppers push their carts errantly close to get by.
Sooner or later, we all face one or more of these situations where our vehicles are in peril. And when we do, the odds are good that ugly scars, scrapes, and gouges will find their way onto our vehicle's side mirror housings before we know it. Because they stick out further than anything else on the vehicle, side mirrors take the hits first - and odds are, the marks left on them won't buff out.
Replacing or repainting OEM mirror housings isn't cheap. Many customers who visit our site or call us are asking if any suitable alternatives exist. In this article, we'll tell you what we tell them - chrome mirror overlays hide scratches and add a splash of brightness to your vehicle, for less money than you'd think. We'll also cover the steps involved for installation so you can see there's no complexity involved in reaching the finish line.
Even if your vehicle has no mirror damage, chrome mirror overlays create areas of attractive chrome shine - because side mirrors are in such a position that they catch the eye when you're looking at your vehicle's side, front, and even rear profile. Chrome mirror covers will also serve as a first line of defense against scratches - taking the hits so that what's underneath stays pristine.
Should your chrome mirror covers get damaged themselves, we can assure you that they're a lot less expensive to replace than OEM mirror housings are. In fact, many of the mirror covers we stock also sell for less than the cost of repainting OEM mirror housings. So it's fair to say that chrome mirror overlays achieve high marks in both form and function.
With one or two exceptions noted below, all of our chrome mirror overlays are made from ABS plastic and plated with real chrome. Some even offer a choice of a gloss black finish for those who prefer it. Regardless, all overlays we offer are "vehicle-specific", meaning they are sized and shaped to fit tightly and snugly over every dimension of your OEM side mirror housing. If your vehicle has built-in turn signals, other lights, or sensors on the mirror housings, the overlay pieces will feature cutouts necessary to ensure none of them are obscured.
Once you enter any overlay product page, you'll see the words Vehicle Specific noted in the top right hand corner, and you'll be asked for your vehicle's year, make, and model. Depending on available options for your vehicle, our system may also ask if your mirrors have integrated turn signals, are heated, or if they are equipped with automatic dimming. On some trucks, you may need to let us know if you have standard mirrors or optional oversize towing mirrors.
Once all information is supplied, variations available for your specific car or truck will display after the information is entered. You may be presented with a choice of finishes or surface coverage options such as full overlays, top half overlays, or bottom half overlays.
If full mirror covers with chrome finish are where you want to start, we've got SAA Mirror Covers, SES Trims Mirror Covers, RI Chrome Mirror Covers, CCI Chrome Mirror Covers, Zunden Chrome Mirror Covers, Bully Chrome Trim Mirror Covers, AVS Chrome Mirror Covers, and Marquee Chrome Mirror Covers designed for a wide range of makes and models back to the 1990s.
Putco Chrome Mirror Covers offer a selection of mirror base area overlay pieces for vehicles that have extra black space where the side mirror is anchored to the vehicle. On the Putco page, you'll find traditional side mirror overlays as well.
If you'd like to take a look at side mirror overlays that offer a choice of gloss black finish or chrome, AMI V-Tech Mirror Covers are available for select American trucks from 1999-2008. Some makes and models are even available with a contoured flame pattern design.
If you prefer the idea of painting mirror overlays yourself, Dorman Mirror Covers can be selected in unfinished plastic for a lower price. Paint them any color you like, or choose the option of chrome finish. Either way, these Dorman covers are the only ones we sell that are designed to snap in place instead of using adhesive tape.
The Rugged Ridge Chrome Mirror Covers kit gives 2007-on Jeep Wrangler owners a choice of chrome or black cover pieces for just the mirror housings, or both the mirror housing and arm pieces.
And if you own a 2015-on Ford Mustang and would like to accentuate it with carbon fiber, DefenderWorx Mirror Covers are made with the real thing. Like other mirror covers we sell, 3M double-sided adhesive allows quick installation, and the carbon fiber pattern is available in a choice of matte or gloss finish.
We've also got side mirror "door" trim overlays, which are essentially partial edging pieces that cover just the area nearest the mirror glass. We'll point out that door overlays make a striking match for vehicles with fashionable-looking chrome trim around their windows, rocker panels, or belt line areas.
Check out the URO Parts Door Mirror Trim Rings, or the Zunden door style Chrome Mirror Trim pieces for select Mercedes and BMW models. And if you prefer to accentuate your mirror glass piece itself, the ACC SS Mirror Trim is a set of brushed stainless steel trim pieces that adhere to the glass.
Installation Of Mirror Covers
Installation of mirror covers is extremely simple, quick to perform, and designed with the "DIY" owner in mind. With the exception of the Dorman Mirror Covers that snap into place, all of our mirror cover overlay pieces (and related base pieces) use 3M double-sided tape as the method of attachment. This tape comes with a protective backing that peels off when you're ready to install the overlay pieces. In most cases, those overlay pieces will come with the tape already applied to them - so you'll only need to peel and stick the one side that will be mated against the mirrors.
Given how effective the tape is, we can say it is extremely easy to work with during installation. Once installed, its foam middle section permits a lot of flexibility when outside temperatures change. This provides excellent durability - even on the most irregular of mounting surfaces. In fact, a lot of automobile manufacturers use 3M tape on their assembly lines to attach trim pieces because they know it performs well under all conditions.
First, it's extremely important to wash and prepare the surface areas of the mirror housings where the tape will be applied. To get a general idea of how much gunk is on those surfaces after you wash them, firmly press a piece of masking tape onto the housings where you'll be installing your trim pieces. If the tape peels easily or doesn't stick, it's because remains of a wax/silicone treatment is still on the mirror housings. This must be removed. We recommend using a wax-and-grease remover safe for paint, which is available in automotive supply stores.
The next step of the cleaning process is to clean the surface with alcohol, then wipe it dry. If your cover piece kit comes with pre-saturated alcohol cleaning pads, use those. Once the surfaces are dry, apply new masking tape to see if it adheres well. If not, repeat the prior steps until it does. At that point, use any adhesive promoter that your kit may supply to help your overlay pieces adhere.
Once you've passed the cleaning stage and your mirror housings are dry, peel a small portion of the backing strip away from the 3M tape at the top and bottom areas of the overlay piece you're going to install. With the tape peeled at just the ends, position the piece onto the mirror housing. Apply pressure to the ends so the peeled adhesive keeps the overlay in place (make sure the ends of the backing strips stick out visibly, because you'll need to grab on to them in order to pull the tape all the way off).
Adjust the position of the overlay until you're satisfied. Once the cover has been lined up, grab onto the backing strip ends and pull until they've been completely removed. As you peel, apply pressure along the way. The tape will hold instantly, but will need 24 hours to bond fully.
Once you've got attractive mirror overlay pieces on your car, the way it looks is going to grow on you quickly. In fact, why stop there? Be sure to explore all the other chrome trim available for your ride. But even if you stop for now with just the mirror housings, we think you'll agree that you have found the perfect solution that provides both protection and beauty!