Damage to your vehicle can happen in many ways, and no part of your car is immune. Busted fenders, dents, scratches and broken windshields are among the most common instances of external damage. But there are two specific areas that can also be susceptible to damage—the side view mirrors.
If you’ve recently sustained damage to your side mirrors, you’re not alone. According to industry estimates, more than 15 million side view mirrors break each year. This doesn’t even include broken mirror housings.
Why Your Mirrors Matter
The typical vehicle has three mirrors—a side mirror at the front of each of your front doors and a rear-view mirror inside the car at the top of the windshield. This helps you, the driver, to see your full surroundings and to safely navigate the roads that you share with tens of millions of other drivers. While the rearview mirror allows you to see what is behind you, the side mirrors allow you to see not only what is on your side, but also what is in your blind spots.
In older cars, the side mirrors may adjust manually. But most modern cars have an automatic adjustment with controls inside the vehicle. Adjusting the mirrors’ angles to your specific preference is very important. The view they provide can change dramatically from person to person based on their height and seat position.
Plus, it’s the Law (in Most Cases)
Most states have some kind of requirements regarding mirrors. Some states may require at least two mirrors to be in working condition, while others may require all three. Feel free to look into your own state law more closely, but you should always have properly functioning side and rear-view mirrors on your vehicle at all times regardless. This is for the safety of you and everyone around you. And think of it this way—if you’re missing a side mirror completely on one side, or the other one is noticeably cracked, chances are you’re doing a pretty good job of drawing the attention of a law enforcement officer.
Maintaining Your Side View Mirror
If one of your side mirrors is broken or defective in any way, you should fix or replace it as soon as possible. It is a relatively easy problem to solve and will go a long way in ensuring your safety and effectiveness on the road.
So what’s the best way to go about getting it fixed? Of course, there are people out there in do-it-yourself mode who want to replace the mirror themselves. This is possible with the right tools and the right replacement parts, but that’s not what we will recommend. While you may be able to save a few bucks by tackling the task yourself, a reputable glass specialist will ensure quality service and parts. Just as we insist regarding your windshield and other car glass, we recommend you go to a trustworthy professional.
Who Services Side View Mirrors?
There are a few kinds of specialists you can go to, and it doesn’t hurt to shop around. Make sure you’re getting the best deal (and the best quality).
Customers will often first call the car dealership, which usually results in a steep price quote and long lead times. Dealerships may charge anywhere between $250 to $600 or more to replace your side view mirror. And it’s likely not going to be top priority for them considering the quantity of much higher-priced jobs they are taking on in a given day. Still, many end up going to the dealership because they were unaware of the other options available.
It’s possible you may find some luck with your dealership. However, it’s likely that an auto glass shop or auto body shop will be able to take care of you quicker and for a more reasonable cost.
Auto glass shops don’t necessarily advertise their mirror replacement capabilities in a big way. They primarily focus on repairing and replacing windshields and side window glass. However, auto glass technicians are highly skilled at replacing most things glass-related. That includes mirrors. Is there an auto glass shop that gave you a good experience in the past? If so, make them your first call.
If the entire housing of the mirror is broken, an auto glass business still may be able to help you. But in this case, it’s also a good idea to shop around to you nearby auto body shops. This may be more in line with what they do on a day-to-day basis. Either way, work on your side mirror could require removal of your door panel so mounting hardware can be accessed. Simply put, the job may be more complicated than you’d think. It’s always a good idea to go to a specialist rather than trying to take it on on your own.
Also, keep in mind: if your mirror includes any additional features such as a camera, the replacement of the parts may be significantly more expensive. The service will also cost more, as well, given the added complexity of the job. If your mirror is physically damaged, the mirror control switch may also have sustained damage. A specialist can determine this.