The rear view mirror glass in your car is an essential safety feature that most car owners take for granted. Whether it is the traffic or kids, rear view mirrors help you keep an eye on what is going on behind you.
Replacement differs depending on the kind of mirror and how it’s attached. In modern vehicles that use ADAS or advanced driver assistance systems in the mirror, replacement must be left to the pros. Such systems are delicate and if the mirror glass is replaced, it is necessary to recalibrate. If your vehicle does not have any of such systems, below are some of the things to consider when replacing your rear view mirror glass.
Look for a Replacement Mirror
Typically, you can’t replace the mirror glass only, you have to replace the whole unit. If your mirror is using an electrochromatic technology or an auto-dimming glass, search for an OEM replacement mirror from your car dealer. If your car does not use this technology, majority of generic rear view mirrors are compatible with several models and makes.
You may find a generic replacement mirror at any local auto parts shop. While you are there, buy a rear view mirror replacement kit that typically includes hardware, adhesive, and cleaning supplies.
Get Rid of the Old Mirror
When removing the old mirror, you must follow these steps:
- Apply a masking tape on the glass exterior to determine the original mounting location.
- Unplug wiring harness if your mirror uses one for dimming feature or electronic compass.
- Get rid of the mirror from glass-mounted hardware. Search for a screw to remove. You can also use a clip to slide it off.
- To soften the adhesive holding the mounting hardware to the mirror, use a blow dryer or a heat gun.
- Apply heat to your windshield’s exterior where mirror hardware is mounted and wiggle the mount free. It is best to have a helper heat the glass while you get rid of the hardware in the car. Too much heat can break the windshield.
- You might have to use a fishing line or thin piano wire to break the bond between the mirror mount and glass. Work the line or wire between the mirror mount and glass using the flossing motion to break that free. Apply force parallel to the glass, never try tearing the hardware off or it could bring a piece of the glass with it.
Prepare the Surface
Get rid of the old adhesive with a glass cleaner and razor blade. Avoid scratching the glass and use a rag and glass cleaner to clean the surface. Let it dry before you proceed.
Install the Rear View Mirror Glass
Not every kit is the same. So, make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer closely. If the kit came with the activator, apply that to the windshield and mounting hardware. Let the activator dry for several minutes. Apply the glue to your mirror mounting hardware. Use tape on your windshield’s exterior to find the mounting location and install your mirror mount. For the glue cure times, you must refer to the instructions provided.