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Replacing Side View Mirrors: Your Ultimate Guide!

Replacing Side View Mirrors: Your Ultimate Guide!

No matter how careful you are with your car, accidents and damage to your car can still happen. External damage can happen anytime or anywhere, even if your car is just parked. One of the components that are prone to external damage are the side view mirrors. Minor scratches are fine but when the damage on your side view mirrors are distracting to you or you can no longer make out what you see in the mirror, then replacing side view mirrors should be done. Replacing side view mirrors is necessary if the mirror’s glass is broken, damaged, extremely scratched up, or if the entire assembly is missing.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Replacing side view mirrors when they are damaged is vital for your safety. These side mirrors enable you to see what is on your side and what is in your blind spots. Plus, it is also required by law. Most states have some requirements when it comes to the mirrors on the cars. Some states need you to have at least two working mirrors while some states require all three. Replacing side view mirrors will usually cost anywhere from $100 to $500, including the parts and labor. You can replace the side view mirrors yourself. You will have to use special tools for it such as a hooked pick, 4-in-2 screwdriver, panel removal lever, and trim pad remover.



Replacing Side View Mirrors: Is it Illegal to Drive with a Broken Side Mirror?



A car usually has three mirrors. These are the side mirrors which are found at the front of each of the car’s front doors and a rear view mirror found at the top of the windshield inside the car. All these three mirrors are responsible for helping the drivers to see the full surroundings as they drive. These mirrors allow them to navigate the road. In this article, we will focus more on the side view mirrors.


The side mirrors may be small but they play a very important role in the overall safety of the drivers when they are on the road. The side mirrors allow the drivers to see what is happening around your car, including the blind spots. This is needed to make sure that you don’t accidentally hit another car on the road.


Older cars have side mirrors that can be adjusted manually but many of the cars today are equipped with side mirrors that have an automatic adjustment with controls inside the car. It is important that the angles of the mirrors are adjusted to the drivers’ specific preference to provide a better view since it can vary from person to person, depending on the driver’s height and the position of their seats.


Since the side view mirrors are placed extended beyond the main body of the car, they are susceptible to damage. Plus, the glass heating elements, motors, and lighting can also wear out over time. There are also times that the side mirrors or one of them is missing. When this happens, replacing side view mirrors is necessary. But, many people still ask, “is it illegal to drive with a broken side mirror?”.


There are some requirements when it comes to car mirrors in most states. There are states that might need to have at least two mirrors in your car that are working and not damaged while some states need all three mirrors. To make sure that you won’t be driving your car with a broken side view mirror illegally, look into your own state law. If it is illegal, then repairing or replacing side view mirrors should be done. You should be driving with a functioning side view and rear view mirror at all times.


Even if your state law does not require it, if your side view mirrors or one of them is damaged or broken, you still have to repair or replace it since driving with a damaged side view mirror is very dangerous. You won’t be able to see clearly the surroundings of your car or the blind spots which can lead to a higher risk for getting in an accident.



Replacing Side View Mirrors: How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Side View Mirror?



Car owners should always keep their side view mirrors in good conditions to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers. Without properly working side view mirrors, you might get pulled over depending on where you live or you could put yourself in danger. While some car owners are lucky enough, not having to replace their mirrors, some need replacing side view mirrors due to some reasons. It might be because of severe scratches, broken glass, or if their side mirror is missing. If this is the case, then replacing side view mirrors is necessary. You should take your car to an auto service shop and have it replaced.


Many people might ask, “how much does it cost to replace a side view mirror?”.  It is probably one of the most common questions car owners want to know so they can prepare a budget for it. Replacing side view mirrors usually cost around $100 to $500. The cost can vary depending on the type of car and who is replacing side view mirrors. If you will do the replacement yourself, you may be able to save some money, but you need to ensure that you will do it properly and correctly. If you make mistakes, you might end up spending more on repairs. That is why the experts are recommending that you let the professionals handle the side view mirror replacement.


The cost of replacing side view mirrors can vary depending on the make and model of your car. It also depends if you are having the entire assembly of your side view mirror replaced or just the side mirror glass. The location of the service shop that will do the replacement may also have an impact on the total replacement cost. If the shop is located in some rich areas or cities, then it is more likely that they will charge more for its overhead costs.


If you go to a dealership to get your side view mirror replaced, the cost will be more costly than having your side view mirror replaced in your local repair shop. If you use the official manufacturer’s parts, it will also be more expensive than buying the aftermarket ones. However, some aftermarket side mirrors may not fit on your car. So before purchasing one, you need to make sure that it is compatible with your car.


Many car owners are also asking, is the side mirror covered in insurance? If you are fully insured, you might be able to reduce the cost of the replacement of your side mirror glass. Your auto insurance should cover the replacement cost. If you hit someone else’s side mirror, the repair costs should be paid by your liability insurance.  However, if you have full coverage, your insurance company might need to pay a deductible to get the coverage. Plus, it may lead to an increased insurance premium. Sometimes, paying for the replacement yourself might save you some bucks than asking your insurance to cover the cost. You need to compute and do the math to determine which option is cheaper before making a decision.


In addition, if your car has side view mirrors that have additional features such as a camera, replacing it will be more expensive because it will require more part replacements. The labor cost for it will also be more costly since the task in replacing this kind of side view mirror is more complicated. Aside from that, if the mirror has obtained physical damages, its control switch is most likely damaged as well.



Replacing Side View Mirrors: Can I Replace a Side Mirror Myself?



Replacing side view mirrors can be done yourself. But, as mentioned above, you need to make sure that you won’t make any mistakes. If you know your way around cars, then it might be easier and cheaper for you to do the replacement yourself. You just need to purchase a new side view mirror and prepare the necessary tools such as a hooked pick, 4-in-1 screwdriver, trim panel removal lever, and trim pad remover.


When replacing side view mirrors, you need to do the following steps.


  • Remove the door panels


When removing a power mirror, you will have to remove the door trim panel first in order to gain access to the electrical connector of the mirror.  But, if your car has a manual mirror, skip that step and just pop off the mirror trim panel and loosen and remove the three retaining screws.


It can be scary to deal with wires or opening panels, but it is easier than you think. You will just have to get the right tools for it. Remember that door trim panels are designed to be removed to do necessary repairs or services like repairing window mechanisms and door handles. The only part that seems to be a bit challenging when opening door trim panels is locating all its hidden fasteners.


To remove the trim panel easily, you need to determine where the trim panel screws are located since they are usually hidden. You will usually spot them behind the decorative vanity caps or DVC or in concealed recesses. You can start searching for these screws under your armrest, in the finger pull areas, or behind the speaker grilles. If you spot a round cover that seems to serve no purpose at all, it is most likely a DVC.


If you have found the DVCs, remove it by using a hooked pick. Once removed, you should see a hidden screw. You need to find all the other hidden screws. When all the screws have been removed, use the trim panel removal tool and remove the fasteners, that look like a Christmas tree, from the door. You will have to feel around to find these fasteners, prying around the trim slowly.


When you find them, insert the removal tool behind it and remove it out of its hole. Once all of the fasteners are removed, lower the window and lift the trim panel up to remove it. Make sure that all the fasteners come out of the door properly, if there is any sign of damage, it is best to take your car to an auto repair shop. Do not remove any other components.


  • Disconnect the cable


If there are no signs of damage and the door panel has been removed, you need to follow the cable from the mirror to find the electrical connector. Once you have located the electrical connector, disconnect it.


  • Remove the damaged mirror


Of course, when replacing side view mirrors, you need to remove the old one. To do this, you need to remove the screws that hold the mirror in place and remove it from the door.


  • Install the new side view mirror


Before installing the new side view mirror, you need to make sure that the mirror assembly you bought and the old mirror assembly have the same design. If it is, you can then install the new mirror. Mount it and reinstall the mirror assembly mounting bolts and tighten them carefully until they are snug. Make sure that they are not overtightened. You can check the factory repair information to know the recommended manufacturer specifications.


  • Reconnect the electrical connector


You can then reconnect the electrical connector. You need to test the newly-installed side view mirror to make sure that it is working properly before putting all the parts back into place. You just need to reverse all the procedures done to reassemble the door trim panel. Reinsert the trim panel fasteners and put the screws and the DVCs back in place.



If your side mirrors or one of them gets damaged in any way, it is important to have it fixed or replaced as soon as possible. Replacing side view mirrors is pretty easy but if you are not confident enough to do it on your own, it is better to have a professional handle the replacement.