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How To Change Glass for Outside Rear Mirror


The rearview mirror is an important safety feature. As a driver, it is essential to have them as they aid security and safety. If, by any chance, you notice you have a broken mirror, then you know it requires fixing as soon as possible.

Here is everything you need to know about replacing the glass of an outside rear mirror.

Table of Contents
Car mirror glass replacement
Outside rear mirror damage
Fitting a car wing mirror
The cost of replacement

Car mirror glass replacement

Car's rearview mirror damaged from behind

Replacing a car’s side view mirror mostly depends on the mirror type and attachment. Most recent cars used by modern drivers often use Advanced Drivers Assistance Systems (ADAS) for mirrors. It is important to note that completely replacing these side view mirrors should be left for experienced mechanics or repair technicians to handle because the network system of these calibrations can be tricky and carelessly operated.  

However, there are a few factors that may require you to take the issue to a team of professionals. Some of them include:

  • When you figure out that outsourcing it to a proffesional will cost you less than doing it yourself.
  • When your user manual specifies that professionals best fix damages like that. 
  • if you notice that the damage is beyond DIY repairs and you have insurance.

Removing broken mirrors

The first step to replacing a side view mirror is to use a plastic pry bar to create a gap behind the mirror. The gap behind the mirror makes it easy for your hands to go in it while getting the mirror to remove the clips and unplugging wires before removing the mirror. Some side view mirrors with extra features like heat mechanisms or built-in signals may have a few intertwined wires attached to the mirrors. 

Inserting the clips and tabs

The second step is to insert the clips. Every vehicle type uses tabs and clips of various systems depending on the model. The clips and the tabs have to align perfectly with each other to avoid loosening. If either of the clips or tabs break on the mounting plate, you should replace them before attaching the new mirror.  

Placing the clips and tabs

After inserting the clips and tabs, the next step is to line the clips and tabs in place before moving the side view mirror to the mounting plate position; then, you can reconnect the wires (depending on the car’s features). 

Fixing the mirror in place

After the insertion and line placement of the clips and tabs, press until you hear a click sound for confirmation. 

Readjusting the mirror

The final step is to clean and readjust the new fixed side view mirror. To test the firmness of the mirror, adjust the rearview to rectify the fix. If it is sturdy, the side mirror adjustment has been successful!

Wipe off any smudge that may be on the new glass, and you are ready to hit the road. 

Outside rear mirror damage

Parking vehicles in precautionary places like a designated private driveway or parking lot can risk having the side view mirror jammed or damaged. The damage could be on the glass or the whole side mirror.

Damage to the outside glass

When there is damage to the outside glass, the first and safest precaution is to pull over and examine the damage to the side view mirror. 

Authorized car repair shops share different side mirror sizes to suit the vehicle model. The technicians will conclude on the damage level and fix it. 

Damage to the whole side mirror

If the outside glass and the protective layer of the side view mirror are completely damaged and left dangling at the side of the vehicle, this will require a lot of work and time, which would in turn mean that you might be off the road for some hours. The damage will require the entire mirror replacement from scratch, the panel reconnected, and the systematic wiring readjusted. 

Different suppliers of side view mirrors deliver pre-cut outside glasses to car technicians and repairers of vehicles of different models. Prepping a side mirror for repairs will require specific procedures including:

– Firstly, ensure you have protective eyewear and rubber or leather gloves on. You can leave the old adhesive glue or cement in place, then wipe off the glass and plastic mirror base remains. 

– Secondly, apply a quarter-inch bulb of thick dark sealant to a cleaner or more precise side of the new mirror retainer. The same applies to the new side mirror. The adhesive strips behind the new glass come with it and keep the glass in place. 

Fitting a car wing mirror

The car side view mirror is a fragile part of any vehicle because of its exposure, so it would require guidelines to protect it from damage. Let’s discuss a few aspects to keep them safe:

Clean the mirrors

Source: Adobe Stock

The side view mirrors have very fragile glass and must be treated with care and caution. When cleaning the glass mirrors, gently clean them with warm water and a soft absorbent towel with ammonia-free soap (optional). Avoid using rough wipers or abrasive cleaners on the side mirrors. 

Be environmentally conscious 

Side view mirrors usually get bashed while driving or parking carelessly on a busy road or congested parking lot. To avoid this, carefully navigate through the traffic and go slowly when in congested parking spaces. This always helps with preventing hits on the mirrors.  

The cost of replacement

When a side view mirror is faulty, broken, or defective, the average cost of replacing it would be between $100 and $400, depending on the level of damage done, the vehicle model, and the car technician. The price will include the cost of the mirror backing plates, the side view glass, and the other parts of the side mirror. 

Some may wonder if driving around with defective side mirrors is illegal. The laws regulating vehicle mirrors may differ in various jurisdictions, states, and countries. But the fact remains that there must be at least two side mirrors that allow you as a driver to view behind and at the sides of a vehicle. Sometimes, it might not be illegal, but police officers will still pull over drivers without an intact or approved side mirror. 

Getting pulled over for a defective side mirror can be inconvenient for a business owner. So, it is highly advisable that all three side view mirrors are intact while on the road. 


Side view mirrors are essential in driving and parking, so they must be in good shape before hitting the road. With this in mind, this article offers safety features and guidelines on protecting and avoiding damage as well as repair tips for side view mirrors. 

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