Your vehicle’s side mirrors are vital for your safety. They allow you to see what’s happening around the car. There are usually three ways you can fix a car mirror. You could either have shattered glass, a broken plastic housing, or a car mirror that has snapped off and is hanging by its wires.
All three situations require a different approach when trying to fix them. In this article, we’ll go over a step-by-step process on how to fix a car mirror. We’ll also answer some of the most common questions regarding the repair and replacement costs. Use the table of contents below to jump to a specific section.
How to fix a car side mirror glass only
What you’ll need:
- Protective gloves
- Eye protection
- New pre-cut side mirror glass
- Loctite epoxy glue
- Masking tape
Step 1: Remove broken pieces
Put on your protective gloves and eye protection. You’ll be dealing with glass which can be dangerous.
Start by picking away at the broken side mirror pieces one at a time. You can use a flat-head screwdriver or pick to pry out the pieces.
Use a little force when removing the pieces attached to the snap clips at the back. Be careful as they can break easily.
Be extra cautious when removing glass that is attached to a heating element wiring. Once done, put the pieces in a plastic bucket for proper disposal.
Step 2: Apply epoxy glue
Use a microfiber cloth to clean the new side mirror glass. It will have adhesive strips at the back of it that allow you to attach it to the rubber or plastic base.
Apply Loctite epoxy glue on parts of the base that the adhesive strips won’t reach. This strengthens the bond between the mirror and its base.
Step 3: Install the new side mirror
Carefully install the new side mirror while paying attention to its orientation. If you had disconnected any heating element wires, start by reconnecting them before installing the mirror.
Step 4: Hold the mirror in place
Use masking tape to hold the new mirror glass in place until the epoxy glue dries. Wait at least 24 hours before removing the tape.
How to fix broken side mirror plastic housing
The mirror plastic housing is also known as a mirror cover. For some cars, it can be ordered as a separate unit while for others, it is sold as part of the entire mirror.
This part of the article applies to side mirror covers that are available as separate units. Move to the next part if you need to remove the entire side mirror.
What you’ll need:
- New mirror cover
- Plastic trim tool or flathead screwdriver
- Painter’s tape
- Epoxy glue
- Spray paint (optional)
Step 1: Remove the old plastic cover
Use the side mirror control buttons to bend your mirror towards the car. This gives you leverage and more access to the cover.
Use a plastic trim tool or flathead screwdriver to carefully pry the plastic mirror cover off. The cover is held secure by plastic clips.
Work your way with the trim tool from one corner and go around the cover to unclip all the plastic clips. This will separate the cover from the housing.
Step 2: Install new cover
Once the old side mirror cover is off, take a look at the back of the entire unit to confirm that none of the clips is broken. Also, confirm the orientation with which the new cover goes in.
Pop the new cover in by working from either the bottom or the top. You should feel or hear the plastic clips connect to the cover as you push on it. Confirm that everything is lined up.
Step 3: Paint the cover
Most side mirror covers can be ordered from the dealer with the matching color of the car. However, some aftermarket pieces come in a different color.
You’ll have to repaint your side mirror cover to make sure it matches with the car. Start by finding the specific paint color code for your car.
This information can be found on a sticker on the driver’s door. Take this code with you when buying new spray paint.
Thoroughly clean the cover, protect the side mirror glass and parts with painter’s tape, and paint your new cover to match the car. Apply three medium coats with a ten-minute drying interval.
You can finish off with a clear coat on top to give the side mirror a shine and protect the paint from UV light. Remove the painter’s tape once done.
Read more: How to Fix Scratches On Your Car Window And Windshield
How to fix hanging or loose side mirror on a car
There are two ways to fix a car mirror that has popped out. One involves removing just the small triangle panel that hides the bolts holding the side mirror in place and the other involves removing the door panel.
The decision on what to do depends on the car’s design. Before diving in to fix a car mirror, inspect your car to find out how the side mirror is installed. We will cover both repair and replacement methods here.
How do you reattach a side mirror
You can temporarily reattach your side mirror using some duct tape as you wait to fix it. Depending on how damaged the unit is, you may have to completely replace it.
Can you use super glue a side mirror? You can use super glue to reattach your side mirror. However, if you just want to hold the mirror temporarily as you wait to replace it, duct tape is the best option as it is easily removable.
Super glue is a cost-effective solution if you’re not looking forward to replacing the mirror or taking it to a mechanic for a proper fix. It also works where the mirror itself is attached to the car using nothing but an adhesive.
Read more: How to Fix a Stuck Car Window That Won’t Roll Up or Down
How to replace a side mirror on a car
What you’ll need:
- Brand new side mirror
- Philips Screwdriver
- 10mm socket and ratchet
- Plastic trim removal tool
Step 1: Remove the triangular trim piece
Check if the triangular trim cover can be removed. It’s located on the inside part of the door just behind the side mirror. It hides a set of screws that hold the side mirror in place.
Use a plastic trim tool to remove the small panel and a screwdriver to remove the screws. This will release the side mirror completely. If you have manual windows that have no electrical connections, move to step 3.
The same applies if you have power mirrors that have their electrical connector just behind the mirror. If your car’s design doesn’t allow you to remove the triangular trim piece, or the side mirror has its wiring going into the door, you’ll have to remove the door panel.
Step 2: Remove the door panel
The door panel is normally held in place by screws and plastic fasteners and clips. These may be hidden by plastic pop-off covers that you’ll need to pry off.
Start by unscrewing the interior door handle to get it out of the way. If the handle doesn’t have any visible screws, pry it out using a flathead screwdriver or plastic removal tool.
The next step is to remove the window switch panel. This can also be pried out or unscrewed using the appropriate tool. Disconnect the electrical connectors that go to the switches and set that panel aside.
Remove the bolts and screws that secure the door panel. You’ll typically find bolts in the middle of the panel and screws on the side. Use a socket and screwdriver for this job.
Grab onto the door panel from the sides and pull it out. Work your way around it. If you can’t get your hands behind the panel, use your flathead screwdriver.
Remove the panel completely and set it aside. If it comes out with the car’s speaker, disconnect the speaker connector to separate it completely.
Step 3: Remove the side mirror
Removing the triangular trim piece and door panel allows you to gain access to the mounting area at the back of the side mirror. Support the mirror from the other side to prevent it from falling.
Simply remove the bolts holding the mirror housing using a socket. You’ll most likely see an electrical cable going to the mirror if you have power side mirrors. Look for the electrical connector somewhere along the cable and disconnect it.
Step 4: Install the new side mirror
Install the new side mirror where the old one was and screw it in place. Reconnect the electrical connection and put the door panel back.
Everything should sit nice and flush. Reconnect the window switch connections and reinstall the switch panel. Fix the interior door handle and voila!
Test your brand new mirror as well as the window switches. Ensure everything works.
Read more: How to Replace a Door Handle On a Car
How to fix rear view mirror on a car
Fixing a rearview mirror that has fallen off the windshield is way easier than figuring out how to fix a car side mirror. Most rearview mirrors are attached to the car’s windshield using an adhesive.
What you’ll need:
- Rearview mirror adhesive kit
- Philips Screwdriver
- Razor blade
- Mark where the rear view mirror was attached to on the windshield
- Use a razor blade to scrape off the old glue from the windshield.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the screw located at the attachment point of the mirror.
- Slide the metal piece out of the attachment point.
- Scrape off the old glue from the metal piece using a razor blade.
- Clean both the windshield and metal piece using the cleaner that comes with the kit.
- Apply glue on the metal piece and attach it to the windshield
- Hold the piece there for about two minutes until the glue holds
- Leave it to dry for 30 minutes.
- Simply slide the rear-view mirror in place and screw it on the metal piece.
If you happen to attach the mirror in the wrong orientation, buy a metal piece and attach it next to the bad one using another adhesive kit. Trying to remove the badly oriented metal piece can cause the windshield to break.
Read more: How to Get A Dent Out of a Car With A Hair Dryer
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to fix a side mirror?
It can cost between $15 and $300 to fix a side mirror. This depends on which part of the side mirror needs fixing. A new mirror glass typically costs $15-$150. The plastic cover that holds the back of the mirror starts at $22 on Amazon.
An entire side mirror unit costs between $50 and $300 depending on the type of car you own. Furthermore, you can save a lot of money by getting a used unit from a junkyard or on eBay. Remember to confirm that the part matches the car’s features.
How much does it cost to replace a car mirror?
A new replacement side mirror costs between $140 and 420$. The price depends on the brand and model of the car you drive and its year of manufacture. Also, expect to be charged differently for an aftermarket part compared to an OEM mirror.
Labor for installing the new car mirror ranges between $50 and $100. For some cars, the mechanic has to remove the entire door panel to replace the mirror. In others, it’s as simple as removing a small panel behind the mirror.
Expect to pay more if you’re taking your car to the dealership for a side mirror replacement.
Can I replace a side mirror myself?
Yes, you can. Simply identify the part of the side mirror that needs replacement and follow the instructions on how to replace it.
If the parts of your side mirror cannot be bought separately, simply head over to the dealership or your nearest auto parts store and buy a new unit.
The replacement process is easy to follow and doesn’t require any special tools. You can save a lot by replacing the mirror yourself.
Does insurance cover broken side mirror?
The insurance only covers a car mirror that is broken as a result of an accident. The comprehensive cover will also pay for a new side mirror if the old one was damaged due to a natural disaster or vandalism.
Can you drive a car with a broken mirror?
Most states require that you have at least two functional side mirrors when driving. While it may not be against the law to drive with a broken mirror, expect a cop to pull you over.
This is because driving with a broken mirror is a safety risk for the driver, passengers, and other motorists. You’ll basically be driving blind when overtaking and pulling out of traffic.
A quick solution would be to reattach the mirror using duct tape if it pops off and hangs by its wires. If you only have a broken glass, replacing it is a quick DIY task that you can do.
Can I drive without a side mirror?
No. It is not only illegal but also dangerous to drive without a side mirror on your car. All cars must have two working side mirrors as they are an important safety feature. If your side mirror is broken, have it replaced as soon as you can to avoid getting into trouble or an accident.