How To Replace A Rear View Mirror On A Vehicle

If the rear view mirror on your vehicle is cloudy, cracked, or fails to dim, it is time to replace the mirror. A rear view mirror enables you to determine when it is safe to change lanes and to see behind the vehicle.

The mirror should be replaced as soon as possible, so you can stay safe and legal on the road. It is easy to replace a rear view mirror by following these tips.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • cloth razor blade
  • Allen wrench
  • crayon or erasable marker
  • rubbing alcohol  
  • wheel chocks
  • mirror kit

Park the vehicle on a flat surface in a warm area and place wheel chocks on the front wheels. Activate the emergency parking brake. Let the vehicle sit two hours to warm the windshield so the glue sticks better..

In the meantime, check the mirror buttons on electronic mirrors. Move the mirror in all directions to check for binding. Feel the glass in non-electrical mirrors to check for looseness. Prop open the hood and detach the negative wire, which should be marked with a minus sign. 

Remove the Old Mirror

Standard and electronic mirrors on private vehicles should be rated DOT (Department of Transportation). Otherwise, it could interfere with vision; they should be replaced with DOT-certified mirrors.

Draw a circle around the mirror position to use a guide for installing the new mirror. Detach the screws on the mounting plate with an Allen wrench or screwdriver, then remove the plate and mirror from the housing. Remove the wire harness from electrical mirrors.

Some models may twist off the ceiling or attach by adhesive. Scrape the adhesive with a putty knife. If the plate still won't come loose, try heating it with a blow dryer. 

Slide the blade of the screwdriver under the button on the windshield, which should loosen the adhesive. Remove the button and clean the button and the area where the button installs with a cloth and alcohol to remove adhesive. On electrical models, clean the wire harness with an electrical cleaner.

Install the New Mirror

Use a cotton swab to rub a dime-size amount of the adhesive from the kit on the button. Attach the button to the marked area and press it for two minutes. Allow the glue to cure overnight and erase the marks.

If the mirror attaches by adhesive, rub some glue on the mounting plate and lightly push it in place to help seal the glue. Otherwise, reattach the plate with the screws. Apply some silicone to keep the screws in place.

On electrical models, reattach the wiring harness. Attach the mirror and reconnect the negative battery cable. Contact a mechanic for more information or assistance.