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What You Need To Know When Ordering A Replacement Outside Mirror

When replacing or upgrading a side mirror glass piece or entire assembly, we point out features it’s essential to consider (for compatibility) before placing your order.

It's a dismaying feeling seeing side view mirror components damaged. Whether you know how the damage happened or not, you're faced with what might be an extensive, costly repair and the dreaded hassle of figuring out what replacement parts are necessary - or where to go for the repair. Maybe it's only the glass that's cracked, or perhaps the whole assembly is hanging loosely by a wire.

Exploded Rear View Of Typical Side View Mirror Assembly
This exploded rear view of a typical side view mirror assembly shows 2) triangular-shaped door mounting piece, 3) top cover piece, 4) structural base plate, 5) lower cover piece with built-in turn signal lens, 6) frame, 7) mirror motor, 8) LIN bus for mirror motor, and 9) base.
Exploded View Of Side View Mirror Assembly
This exploded view of a side view mirror assembly allows a look at components from a driver seat angle. Visible here are 1) the cover piece, 3) base, 4) mirror glass piece, 8) door mounting piece, and 9) swivel arm.

In this article, we'll discuss the different components that make up a side view mirror assembly, and we'll guide you through what's important to know when ordering replacement mirror assemblies. If you're not in front of your vehicle or are unable to determine which features are on it by looking, online repair guides and your owner's manual are good sources of information.

Minor Damage - Glass Only

Glass pieces can sometimes be purchased separately if that's the extent of the damage. This can save you significant money compared to the purchase of an entire mirror assembly. Once you’ve entered make, model, and year information in the Product Options field of any of our glass pieces, you’ll be prompted with questions such as the ones show below – if they apply to your vehicle.

Side Mirrors Select Product Options
Once you've entered make, model, and the year of your vehicle, you'll be prompted with these questions - if they apply.

If you’re looking for individual replacement glass pieces for cars, 4x4s, and vans from the 1990s on with modern features referenced in this article, you’ll find the best selection from Dorman, K-Source, and Replace.

CIPA offers individual, larger-size glass pieces to match those found on their towing package mirrors for 1980s GM El Caminos, pickups, and vans as well as later Dodge and Toyota 4x4s. Additionally, they've also got replacement glass kits that include the plastic mounting brackets behind the glass for 1990s and 2000s Chevy and Dodge full-size pickups among others.

Replacement Glass Piece For Towing Mirrors by CIPA
CIPA offers replacement glass pieces for their towing mirrors.
CIPA Magna Extendable Replacement Mirror Glasses Kit
The CIPA Magna Extendable Replacement Mirror Glasses kit also includes replacement pieces for damaged mounting brackets behind the glass.

Heated Glass?

Whether you need to replace just a broken glass piece or the entire assembly, make sure you know if the mirror glass piece is heated. Many vehicles optioned for winter climates are equipped with cold weather packages that include mirrors with integrated heater elements. One way to tell is to look for a pin-striped heating grid on the back of the glass with a small wire connected to it.

Back Of Heated Mirror Glass
Visible in the back of this heated mirror glass piece are elements that look like fine lines, shaped like a maze. Typical mirror glass pieces are designed to snap on and off, and can be replaced easily if that is the extent of the damage.

In any of our sub-section main pages, you’ll find check boxes under the heading “HEATING” along the left side of the screen. Select the Yes box to view replacement mirrors with equipped with heated glass pieces.

Auto-Dimming?

Activated Auto Dimming Mirror
On this auto-dimming mirror that's been activated, you can see the contrast between areas that do and do not dim (look along the mirror's edge). These mirrors feature electrochromic gel between two pieces of treated glass, so it's important to look for replacement mirror glass that specifies auto-dimming if your vehicle is equipped with the feature.

Does your vehicle have auto-dimming side view mirrors? This technology sandwiches a layer of electrochromic gel between two pieces of glass treated with an electrically conductive coating. Based on input from sensors that compare brightness from behind with ambient outside light, a varying level of voltage is applied to the gel to darken the mirror and reduce glare. Unless this special type of glass is fitted on the vehicle, the auto-dim feature will not function.

More Extensive Damage To Mirror Base, Mounting Points, And More

Badly Damaged Mirror Assembly

If your mirror assembly is badly damaged from a harder impact, you'll want to consider a few additional factors before ordering an entire replacement mirror assembly. Is the glass piece operated by a power motor or moved manually? Power mirrors will have some sort of driver-operated switch, typically mounted on or near the driver's door panel. Some older vehicles had one power and one manual mirror; if that is the case with your vehicle, be certain you know which is which. Fully manual mirrors that are adjusted by moving the glass piece with your hand are found only on classics, and most non-power mirrors since the 1980s are connected to a cable that allows "remote" adjustment from a toggle switch inside the vehicle.

Bolted-On Side Mirror Assembly
In most cases, side mirror assemblies are bolted on by the base of the A-pillar, as shown here. After removing a small interior trim piece to access hold-down bolts, the mirror assembly can be removed quickly and easily. For easy replacement, wiring is designed for easy coupling and uncoupling as well.
Typical Door Mounting Piece For Mirror Assembly
A closer look at the typical door mounting piece for mirror assemblies. The multiple wiring connector usually indicates your mirror is power-adjustable. It may also be equipped with a built-in turn signal, heating grid, and a motor that folds the mirror assembly sideways for tight spots - all features watch for when ordering a replacement.

Memory Settings For Your Power Mirrors?

If the mirrors on your vehicle are power-operated, do they have a memory feature that automatically moves the mirror into a pre-set location with the touch of a "memory button"? If so, a "LIN bus" control module will be mounted inside the mirror assembly next to the motor. LIN bus refers to serial communications technology developed for the automobile, and this module issues commands to the mirror motor in order to align it to a pre-memorized position. If power operation and memory features were standard equipment on the vehicle you're shopping for, be certain that they are also in the replacement assemblies you order.

Black Pebble Grain Texture?

Mirror Cover With Grained Matte Finish
Shown here is a mirror cover piece with a grained matte finish that is not designed to be painted.
Paint To Match Mirror Cover
If you intend to paint a replacement mirror cover, make sure you purchase one that's indicated as "paint to match".

If you're ordering the entire mirror assembly, note whether you're purchasing a black plastic part with a pebble-grain textured surface or one that's smooth and plain. Textured surfaces are designed to provide a higher level of style without being painted, and smooth surfaces are designed to be painted to match the vehicle. If you are replacing both outside mirrors, it's a matter of preference. If you're replacing only one side, be sure it matches the other. Some older vehicles had mirror assemblies that were chrome-plated, so you may also see that choice if it applies.

Replacement Mirror Section
When browsing through our replacement mirror section, note that each product cover picture you see reflects only one of multiple mirror housing designs available from each manufacturer.

Folding Mirrors

Folding Side Mirror
This Ford F-150 side view mirror is designed to be folded inward manually with hinges at its base. Also visible in this picture are built-in turn signal lenses. If ordering an entire mirror assembly, make sure the part you're ordering matches any such features on your vehicle.

Do your mirrors fold inward? As overall size of side view mirror assemblies has grown in recent decades, automakers began mounting them on hinges so drivers can avoid damage while maneuvering in tight spots. This feature is probably standard on your vehicle if it was built in the last decade, but lower-priced cars and some base models may not have them in order to keep costs down. Most folding side mirrors are designed to shift into position by hand, but many luxury vehicles now offer power retracting mirrors. Knowing if, and how, your vehicle's mirrors fold is important when ordering an entire replacement assembly because you’ll be asked this question in the Product Options field.

Mirrors Designed For Trailer Towing

Mirror Designed For Trailer Towing
Mirrors designed for towing extend further outward from the vehicle, and are usually equipped with two separate mirrors. One mirror is angled to allow clear vision of the next lane over, and a second mirror has a curved lens that allows you to keep an eye on the trailer. All of the towing mirrors we offer are designed to manually fold inward.

Do you do a lot of towing? If so, you’ll benefit from mirror assemblies specially designed to extend further outward from the vehicle. Towing mirrors are actually equipped with two mirrors – the first one allows clear vision of the next lane over, and the second one allows you to keep an eye on the trailer thanks to a lens that’s curved. Because of their greater overall width, towing mirrors also fold inward by hand. All of the towing mirrors we offer are designed to manually fold inward.

Released Mirror Head
CIPA's Magna Extendable Replacement Towing Mirror has a mirror head that can be released and slid outward 4.5 inches to add visibility for towing.
K-Source Clip On Towing Mirror
The K-Source Clip-On Towing Mirror snaps over your existing factory mirror assembly to provide a second mirror that's helpful during towing.

We’ve got the Sherman Towing Mirror and K-Source Towing Mirrors, both of which feature built-in lights to match any such original equipment on your make and model. CIPA’s Magna Extendable Replacement Towing Mirror offers a unique feature. Its mirror head is designed to slide outward an additional 4.5 inches – extending trailer visibility when you need it, then retracting out of harm’s way when you don’t. Because of its sliding design, the Magna Extendable Mirror does not offer built-in turn signals.

We’ve even got clip-on mirror pieces such as the K-Source Clip-On Towing Mirror and the CIPA Extension Towing Mirror that slide snugly over your existing factory mirror without blocking it. The add-on mirror protrudes further out, giving you a beneficial vantage point for pulling a trailer.

Built-In Lights?

Does your side view mirror have built-in lights? Many modern side view mirror housings feature a built-in turn signal lens because their high visibility location increases safety. These may double as "puddle lights" if their location in the bottom of the mirror housing provides lighting for the ground below the vehicle. In some cases, turn signal indicators come in the form of LED lights behind the mirror glass itself.

Rear View Of Side Mirror With Built-In Turn Signal Light
Side Mirror With Built In Turn Signal Light
This photo shows a turn signal light that is part of the glass rather than being located in the housing.

In any of our sub-section main pages, you’ll find check boxes under the “TURN SIGNAL” heading along the left side of the screen. Select the Yes box to view replacement mirrors with equipped with integrated turn signals.

Lane Change Detection For Safety

K-Source Lane Change Alert Cam Side Mirror System
The K-Source Lane Change Alert Cam Side Mirror System.

If you’ve got a 2007-on Chevy, Cadillac, or GMC full-size pickup or SUV, K-Source lets you add an incredible safety feature with the Lane Change Alert-Cam Side Towing Mirrors. This replacement mirror assembly comes with its own built-in camera sensor that detects if vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians are entering your blind spot area – preventing accidents and injuries. When an object does enter the blind spot fields, an exterior LED will light up and/or an audible beep will sound from the mounting base inside the vehicle depending on your preference.

Classic Cars

Replacement Side View Mirror For Classic Vehicle
CARiD also offers replacement side view mirror components for classic vehicles.

For certain older classics and trucks, we’ve got you covered as well. For example, 1968-79 Volkswagen Beetle owners can look at K Source, 1966-on Ford Bronco restorers will find what they need from Dorman and K Source, owners of mid-1970s Jeeps should check Replace and K-Source, and 1973-91 full-size GM pickups/Blazers/Suburbans will find glass pieces from Replace and K-Source.

And if you’ve got a 1963-67 Corvette, 1970-74 Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Barracuda, 1968-on Toyota Land Cruiser, Dorman has glass pieces for these cars, plus the widest selection of American and Japanese models from the 1970s. Note that the vehicles we just mentioned are not the only ones those manufacturers produce mirrors for – just some of the more unique models where parts are harder to find.

Custom Mirrors

APR Performance Formula GT3 Carbon Fiber Mirrors
The APR Performance Formula GT3 Carbon Fiber Mirrors.

In our custom mirrors section, you’ll find replacement mirror assemblies designed to enhance style. For example, do you like carbon fiber? If so, we’ve got the APR Performance Formula GT3 Carbon Fiber Mirrors and Carbon Creations Custom Mirrors with housings made of the real thing. For a little less, IPCW Custom Mirrors feature plastic housings that look convincingly like carbon fiber.

IPCW M3 Style Custom Mirrors
IPCW M3 Style Side Mirrors feature plastic housings that look convincingly like carbon fiber.
Oracle Lighting Red Concept Custom Mirrors
Oracle Lighting Concept Custom Mirrors.

Oracle Lighting’s Concept Custom Mirrors feature slim, streamlined shapes with a choice of clear or “ghosted” glass. Depending on the application you select, the mirror housings are available in up to a dozen colors. Spec-D Custom Mirrors feature a dynamic grid of LED lights built in to the housing.

Spec-D Custom Mirrors
Spec-D Custom Mirrors.
CIPA Optic Glow Replacement Mirrors
The CIPA Optic Glow Replacement Mirrors are designed to add lighting on vehicles not originally equipped.

If your vehicle wasn’t originally equipped with mirror-based lights, CIPA’s Optic Glow Replacement Mirrors allow you to add this feature with just a small amount of wiring. With colored LEDs built in to the base and behind the mirror glass, they can either be wired to blink with turn signals or stay solid as running lights when ignition or headlights are switched on.

Off-Roading

Bestop HighRock 4x4 Mirror Replacement Set
The Bestop HighRock 4x4 Mirror Replacement Set.

For owners of some Jeep vehicles dating back to 1959, we’ve got Bestop’s HighRock 4x4 Side View Mirrors that provide extra clearance for off-roading while allowing continued use of the mirrors. Because both the base and the mirror can be adjusted, it’s possible to fold the arm close to the vehicle while pointing the mirror to the exact angle needed to see behind you. Most folding mirror assemblies are only hinged at the base and are not designed to swing inward and pivot at two points. Vintage Jeep and other truck owners can also find OEM-style replacement side mirrors from Replace.

CARiD Side Mirrors Main Gallery

To help guide you through our selection of side view mirrors, we have set up our website to show you all the choices that will fit your ride. Once year, make, and model information is entered, you'll automatically see a choice of mirror components and whether any variations existed for your vehicle originally. Because you’ll need to click through a number of choices, here’s a summary of details you may need to provide about your mirror assemblies:

  • Driver side or passenger side?
  • Power-operated mirror or manually-operated mirror?
    • If power, is there also "memory"?
    • If manual, is there also "remote" or "cable" control?
  • Paintable ("paint to match"), black textured, or chrome?
  • Heated mirror glass or not?
  • Foldable or not (also called "fixed")?
    • If foldable, is it power-foldable?
  • Auto-dimming glass or not?
  • Built-in turn signal light or not?
  • Puddle light or not?

Being prepared to answer these questions when ordering your mirror assembly will guarantee that you are getting the exact mirror replacement as your car or truck was assembled with at the factory, or an enhancement that's tailored for your vehicle.

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All manufacturer names, symbols, and descriptions, used in our images and text are used solely for identification purposes only. It is neither inferred nor implied that any item sold by CARiD.com is a product authorized by or in any way connected with any vehicle manufacturers displayed on this page.

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