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Summary
  • Electric mirrors can stop working due to a bad switch, a faulty motor, or a blown fuse. Loose connectors and side mirrors can also cause malfunctions.
  • Expect to spend around $30 to $500 for an aftermarket side mirror replacement.  A mechanic could charge anywhere between $40 and $90 for labor.
  • You’ll have to remove door panels and intricate electrical connections when replacing power mirrors. If you’re not a seasoned DIYer, ask a professional to do the replacement for you.

Over the years, automakers have found a way to make adjusting side mirrors more convenient for drivers: electric-powered mirrors or power mirrors. But like any other electric device, these mirrors can malfunction, causing them to get stuck in one position or stop responding to the switch.

Let’s find out the common reasons why your electric mirrors malfunction.

Why Are My Power Side Mirrors Not Working?

The power mirrors can malfunction due to several reasons. Here are some of the most common electric mirror faults you should know about:

Bad Power Side Mirror Switches

bad power side mirror switch
The mirror switch usually has a button for the left and right mirrors. It could have a joystick or a four-way button configuration that you can use to adjust the position of your power mirrors.

The power mirror switch is usually on the door panel or the dashboard near the driver’s door. Some vehicles have two switches, one on the driver’s door panel and the other on the passenger’s side door panel.

The mirror switch usually has a button for the left and right mirrors. It could have a joystick or a four-way button configuration that you can use to adjust the position of your power mirrors.

Standard power mirrors each have two reversible DC motors, one for up and down adjustment and the other for side to side.

Each motor will typically spin a plastic threaded shaft that passes through a threaded boss, with the outer end of the shaft connected to the back side of the mirror using a greased ball and socket arrangement.

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As the vehicle racks up mileage, dust and other debris surrounding the switch can hinder it from functioning correctly. It’s also possible to encounter issues with your switch’s electrical wirings. If the switch is facing up and is on the door panel, and somebody spills a drink on the switch or leaves the window down and it rains on it, it will likely malfunction.

If you notice that both power side mirrors aren’t working no matter how many times you try to press the switch, the switch might be the issue. You won’t be able to control your ride’s mirrors once it malfunctions.

, Common Electric Mirror Malfunctions and How to Fix Them

Pro Tips are nuggets of information direct from ASE-certified automobile technicians working with CarParts.com, which may include unique, personal insights based on their years of experience working in the automotive industry. These can help you make more informed decisions about your car.

Pro Tip: If the mirrors will adjust in only one direction (both mirrors) it’ll most likely be the switch. If only one mirror adjusts only in one direction, it could be the switch or the mirror, but it’s usually the switch. If none of the mirrors work, it will be the switch or a blown fuse. Use your owner’s manual to determine what other accessories are fed by the same fuse and check to see if they work.

Potential Solution:

If you suspect that the power mirror switch is the issue, take your ride to an auto repair shop for proper inspection and diagnosis. A mechanic could replace the bad switch to fix the issue. If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can try to do so, but it is more difficult on some vehicles than others.

Malfunctioning Electric Mirror Motor

When you press the switch, the motor powers the movement of the power mirrors, enabling you to adjust your side mirrors for better visibility. The mirror’s mechanisms can fail electrically or mechanically because both elements are involved. If you hear a sound but the mirror doesn’t move, it’s a mechanical issue.

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Once the motor fails, you won’t be able to move your side mirrors. Determine if the motor is making any sound while you press the switch. If you hear a noise but the mirror doesn’t move, you might be dealing with a bad motor.

Potential Solution:

Replacing the entire mirror assembly might be necessary once it’s confirmed that the motor is causing the issue. That’s because the electric motor is an integrated component within the assembly. Unlike other mirror components, the electric mirror is not usually replaceable on its own.

Blown Fuse

Your car’s electric mirror assembly has a fuse to protect its electrical circuits from issues like overloading and short circuits. If the fuse designed for the side mirrors is blown, your power mirrors won’t function.

Potential Solution:

Replace the blown fuse with a new one. Make sure to get a fuse with the same amperage as the original fuse. If you don’t have the tools and technical know-how, you can always ask a trusted professional to do the replacement for you.

If the fuse gets blown again after you replace it, chances are something is wrong with your mirrors’ electrical circuits. This is usually more complicated to fix, so it’s recommended to take your ride to a trusted professional.

Loose Electrical Connectors

The power mirror’s electrical connector is found inside the door panel. It links your power mirror assembly to your vehicle’s electrical system. If the electrical connector becomes loose due to excessive vibration, collision, or installation errors, your power mirrors won’t function as they should.

, Common Electric Mirror Malfunctions and How to Fix Them

Pro Tips are nuggets of information direct from ASE-certified automobile technicians working with CarParts.com, which may include unique, personal insights based on their years of experience working in the automotive industry. These can help you make more informed decisions about your car.

Pro Tip: Pay attention to any corrosion in the connectors. You might need more than a simple part replacement.

Potential Solution:

The door panel needs to be removed to access the electrical connector. You can wiggle the switch’s connector to check if it’s loose. Plug the connector in tightly to fix the issue.

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Loose Side Mirror

The issue can also be mechanical. For example, your side mirrors’ adjustment points can become loose, making it difficult to adjust the mirrors to the right position. The problem is typically caused by heavy winds, excessive vibrations, and impact from a minor collision.

Possible Solution:

Inspect your mirrors’ adjustment points. If there are loose screws and brackets, tighten them. If your mirrors feel unstable, you might need to take your ride to an auto repair shop and have a professional inspect the assembly.

How Much Does a Power Mirror Replacement Cost?

On average, expect to spend around $30 to $500 for an aftermarket side mirror replacement. The price can significantly vary depending on your specific vehicle and the type of power mirror you’re buying.

You’ll also have to consider labor costs. A mechanic usually charges anywhere between $40 and $90 for a side mirror replacement.

Does Insurance Cover Mirror Replacement Costs?

It depends on the situation and the reason why your side mirrors are faulty or damaged. If you have a collision or comprehensive insurance, your insurance will usually cover it. You can check your insurance policy or contact your insurance provider to know more about it.

Can I Replace Power Mirrors On My Own?

You’ll have to remove door panels and intricate electrical connections when replacing power mirrors. If you’re a seasoned DIYer, and you have the tools for the job, you can go ahead and do the replacement yourself.

However, if you’re unsure about anything, you can always pay a professional for you. Do not attempt to remove any electrical connections especially if you do not know what they are for.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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