A QUICK GUIDE TO CUSTOM TOWING MIRRORS
Custom towing mirrors have been around for decades, and major innovations have been made regarding the functionality, and durability of the mirrors. Although towing mirrors come in all shapes and sizes, the core value of the mirror remains the same; to give the driver an increased and unobstructed view to what conditions surround the vehicle while towing. Custom towing mirrors have been developed to fit over a vehicle's existing exterior rearview mirror to increase the visibility to the rear and sides of the vehicle while towing. There are numerous variations in the design of custom towing mirrors that enable them to fit exclusively on specific vehicle applications. With all of the different variations and styles of towing vehicles available to consumers, mirror manufacturers must be aware of the demand and popularity of some vehicles over others. The main purpose of the dealer is to provide a simple, smart and effective answer to customer's towing mirror needs, all while minimizing inventory and shelf space, and maximizing profits. Factors to consider when purchasing/selling Custom Towing Mirrors include the following:
Quality and Craftsmanship
Vibration can be a major frustration for users of custom towing mirrors. The mirror plate in superior custom towing mirrors are attached to the housing with a ball-and-socket (gimbal) assembly, which allows the mirror glass to remain stationary during use, while retaining adjustability. In quality custom towing mirrors, the gimbal post has support columns and an additional support ring for increased stability, which eliminates unnecessary movement of the mirror and drastically reduces unwanted vibration which will be found in US made towing mirrors. Custom towing mirrors should be constructed from high-grade ABS plastic which resists wear due to extreme weather conditions that may be encountered while towing. Thickness of the plastic can range from .14" to .17", and the towing mirrors may weigh up to 1.5 pounds. The best mirrors are heavy enough to provide stability, yet light enough not to hinder the performance of the mirror. Dealers and consumers should look for custom towing mirrors that utilize First-Surface OE grade glass which increases resistance to image distortion and eliminates the occurrence of "ghosting" and multiple images. This can happen with second-surface mirrors, due to the user having to look through the thickness of the glass before a reflection is seen.
Custom towing mirrors use several ways to attach to the vehicle. Some use clamps, while others snap in place on the mirror. Higher-quality custom towing mirrors use a wedge-lock system for mounting and installation of the mirrors to a vehicle. Typically, the mirror slides onto the vehicle mirror and a form-fitted wedge is placed between the mirrors to eliminate vibration, as well as aid the ease of application. A tightening knob is used to tighten and secure the mirror to the vehicle. Felt tape strips are adhered to the wedge where it makes contact with the vehicle mirror to prevent scratching. Installation and removal of custom towing mirror should be easy, taking only a few seconds, with no tools or drilling required.
When mounted, custom towing mirrors should extend the actual rearview mirror surface up to 5.25" further out from the vehicle, than standard OE rearview mirrors. The custom towing mirror can extend the rearview vision of the vehicle to 48 degrees from center to provide a wider angle of viewing to the rear of the vehicle, which virtually eliminates blind spots while driving. Custom towing mirrors are designed to expand rearview vision without obstructing the original view provided by the OE vehicle mirror. The best custom towing mirrors are aerodynamic, so vibration caused by road conditions and turbulence is minimized.
When choosing custom towing mirrors, the key to keeping the customer satisfied lies in the efficiency of the support offered to the customer. Retailers and dealers must have fast access to replacement parts for the products they sell. With custom towing mirrors that are US-based, replacement parts are easy to obtain. Vendors should have local customer service departments that can assist the business in obtaining parts, answering inquiries, and handling warranty issues, when required. Vendors should also maintain current fitment information for the custom towing mirrors, including discontinued models and new vehicle fits.
The selection of a custom towing mirror should not be a daunting task. Quality materials, availability for most popular towing vehicles, ease of installation, proper performance and manufacturer support are all factors that will help you offer the best custom towing mirror selection for your customers.
ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MIRROR STYLES DEFINED
INTERIOR REARVIEW MIRRORS
Wedge mount mirrors are generally standard on vehicles manufactured in the United States, regardless of vehicle make. However, there can be exceptions. Wedge-style mirrors must be removed by loosening a small screw or clip, and pushing the mirror up towards the roof of the vehicle. If your vehicle's mounting system looks similar to the photo at right, you have a wedge-mount mirror.