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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.