Rear view mirror are some of the most important elements in any car. After all, they allow you to see everything happening outside the driver’s field of vision.
Though they are an essential element, all car mirrors must be well-adjusted. Otherwise, they can make driving difficult and, in many cases, contribute to road accidents.
It is therefore important to know how car mirrors work. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
What are rear view mirrors?
A vehicle’s mirrors extend the driver’s vision, providing drivers with a clearer view of what is going on behind and on both sides of their vehicle.
What are a car’s mirrors used for?
To benefit from this piece of equipment, vehicle mirrors must be properly positioned.
What types of vehicle mirrors are there?
Before reading about how to properly adjust your vehicle mirrors, find out about the different types of car mirrors available.
Although a single wing mirror was commonly used in the 80s, always placed on the driver’s side, nowadays, vehicles have three mirrors: 2 wing mirrors on the outside of the car and one rearview mirror inside.
Internal rearview mirrors
Internal vehicle rearview mirrors can be found in the main section of the vehicle, except in closed-cab commercial vehicles, which are only fitted with wing mirrors.
These should be adjusted to reflect the entire rear window of the vehicle, or at least as much of it as possible. Its purpose is to allow drivers to see behind their cars with only a flick of their eyes, without having to turn their heads to look behind them.
External wing mirrors
As their name implies, external wing mirrors are located outside vehicles: the left wing mirror on the driver’s side and the right wing mirror on the passenger side.
These complement the internal rearview mirror, providing a wider view to either side of the car.
These mirrors decrease blind spots and increase security, especially when switching lanes and overtaking. They are also extremely useful for parking manoeuvres.
Do you know how to adjust your car mirrors properly? Although this seems like a simple, basic task, adjusting their mirrors is something not all drivers know how to do correctly.
Adjusting car mirrors correctly
To ensure your vehicle mirrors are correctly adjusted, follow these steps:
- Sit in the driver’s seat;
- Stretch your leg as far as possible, pressing the clutch pedal down as far as it will go;
- Ensure your chair is correctly positioned so that you are neither too far away nor are your knees pressed up against your steering wheel;
- Slowly turn your rearview mirror until it is reflecting the entire rear window of your car (and as little of the car’s interior as possible);
- Adjust your wing mirrors so that the horizon (the point at which the road disappears) is in the centre of the mirror.
As has been said previously, a car’s mirrors are undoubtedly essential elements and must therefore be kept in good condition.
Why should you replace your car’s mirrors?
You should replace your car mirrors to:
- Provide more visibility while driving;
- Pass vehicle periodic inspections.
How can you get your vehicle mirrors repaired?
Vehicle mirror repairs can vary, depending on the nature of the problem. As such, you should follow some general steps to help you determine the source of the problem:
- Check if the problem is with the mirror itself or the mirror mount. If the problem is with the mount, you may need to replace the entire mirror;
- If the problem is with the mirror, check if it is broken or scratched. You will probably need to replace it if it is broken or cracked. If it is scratched, keep reading to find out how to solve the problem;
- If the mirror is loose, try tightening the screws on the mirror mount;
- If the mirror is misaligned, try adjusting its position within the mount. Some mirrors have a built-in adjustment mechanism that allows you to move them up, down, left, or right;
- If the mirror is foggy, try cleaning the surface with a glass cleaner. If it remains foggy, it may be a sign that the mirror is damaged and needs to be replaced.
In addition, if you want to carry out the repair at your own risk, you’ll need tools such as wrenches or a hot air gun.
Installing a rearview mirror
Firstly, if you want to install a rearview mirror at your own risk, it is essential that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
However, you can follow some general steps for a successful installation, as well as to glue your rearview mirror in place:
- Make sure you have the correct rearview mirror for your vehicle. There are different types of mirror mounts and mirror sizes available;
- Clean the area where the mirror will be installed to remove any dirt, dust, or residue from previous adhesives;
- Apply the adhesive supplied to the base of the rearview mirror. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you use the correct amount of adhesive;
- Position the mirror in the correct area of the windscreen, in line with other car mirrors. Check that the mirror is adjusted correctly to reflect what it is supposed to and that the mirror is level;
- Hold the mirror in place for a few minutes to allow the adhesive to set properly;
- Test the mirror to ensure it is fixed and does not move out of place. If the mirror is not fixed correctly, repeat the installation process.
Alternatively, the ideal option is to take your car to a specialised garage.
How can you remove scratches from your mirrors?
It is very common to get scratches on your wing mirrors, whether left or right. If this is the case, you should:
- Clean the mirror surface with glass cleaning fluid to remove any dirt or dust;
- Apply a car polishing compound to your mirror, rubbing gently with a soft cloth in a circular motion;
- Rinse the mirror with clean water and dry it with a soft cloth.
If the compound does not completely remove the scratches, you can try using a glass polish to remove deeper scratches. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using this type of product.
If you can still see the scratches once you have polishing your mirror, you may need to replace it.
If you need to replace any of your car’s mirrors, make sure to take your vehicle’s make and model into account. In addition, you should buy original parts, avoiding scrap metal, as mirrors can be easily damaged or deformed.
Where can you buy a car mirror?
You can find vehicle mirrors in places like:
- Online stores;
- Car parts shops;
- Brand concessionaires.
Remember that your car mirrors help you adopt preventive driving and prepare you to perform manoeuvres, especially overtaking, comfortably and safely.
Now that you know how important they are and how to repair them, you must surely be wondering how much car mirrors cost.
How much do car mirrors cost?
Firstly, the price of a car mirror depends not only on the model and brand of the vehicle but also on the type of vehicle, whether it is a light passenger or a heavy goods vehicle. That said, the cost of a car mirror can vary between tens and hundreds of euros.
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As you can see, keeping your car’s mirrors positioned and in proper condition is important. Doing so ensures you are able to drive both comfortably and safely.
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