DIY

How to Replace a Side Mirror

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There are several reasons why you might want to replace one of your car’s side mirrors. Maybe some dimwit sideswiped you and knocked off your mirror. Or perhaps you’ve got a power mirror with a burnt-out motor.

Regardless of why you want to replace your side mirror, generally, the procedure is pretty straightforward. On some vehicles, however, the door panel must be removed to access the mirror fasteners. And that can make the job more complicated.

Replacing your car’s side mirror is a pretty straightforward process although on some vehicles, the door panel must be removed to access the mirror fasteners.

Side Mirror Replacement Costs

If you decide to have a professional replace your side mirror, expect to pay anywhere from $200 to upwards of $500. The job can be even more costly if you have a high-end luxury or performance car.

Should you decide to tackle the job yourself, expect to pay anywhere from approximately $50 to $100 for each mirror assembly. Once again, if you’ve got a fancy car, the cost may be higher.

What Tools Do You Need to Replace Your Side Mirror?

The tools needed to replace a side mirror vary, depending on what type of car you have. But, in general, you’ll need:

Should You Do the Job Yourself?

Replacing a side mirror is typically pretty easy. Plus, unlike some other tasks, such as replacing your brakes, vehicle safety is unlikely to be compromised if something goes wrong.

That being said, you could also damage your vehicle if the job is done incorrectly. You could also end up wasting a lot of time or even hurt yourself.

So, if you feel like you’re up to the task, go for it. Otherwise, leave it to a professional.

Changing your car’s side mirrors is not difficult but vehicle safety can be compromised if something goes wrong. If you don’t feel like you’re up to the task, leave it to a professional.

Side Mirror Replacement

Now we get to the fun part: replacing the side mirror. Are you ready to grab some tools and get dirty? Good.

Before we start, however, keep in mind that all vehicles are different. Be sure to follow the repair information for your specific application. Repair manuals, such as those from Chilton, are useful, but an ALLDATA subscription is even better. ALLDATA has single-vehicle subscriptions for DIYers that provide detailed factory repair information.

Note: The following are general guidelines for educational and entertainment purposes only. Consult your vehicle’s factory information for specific repair instructions and recommended safety procedures.

How to Remove a Side Mirror

  1. Put on your safety glasses.
  2. Lower the window completely.
  3. Remove the upper trim finish panel (the small triangular-shaped piece in front of the mirror) from the interior door. Generally, this procedure involves freeing the panel from retainer clips or removing a retainer screw.
  4. Remove the rear view mirror sound insulator (or foam pad, if equipped).
  5. Disconnect the mirror electrical connector (if equipped).
  6. Remove the mirror retaining fasteners.
  7. Remove the mirror by pulling it away from the door.

How to Install a Side Mirror

  1. Compare the new mirror assembly to the old mirror assembly to be sure both are the same design.
  2. Mount the new mirror in the door.
  3. Reinstall the mirror assembly mounting bolts and carefully tighten them down until they’re snug. Do not overtighten. If needed, you can consult the factory repair information and use a torque wrench to tighten the fasteners to manufacturer specifications.
  4. Reconnect the electrical connector (if equipped).
  5. Reinstall the rear view mirror sound insulator (or foam pad, if equipped).
  6. Reinstall the upper trim finish panel.

Side Mirror Replacement Tips

On some vehicles, the door panel must be removed to access the mirror retaining fasteners. If your application requires this step, be sure to take your time and follow the factory repair information. Door panels are made of plastic that’s easy to break.

Also, some vehicles will need the mirrors and switches programmed after replacement. For example, if not programmed, sometimes the power folding functions will not work properly, as the mirror needs to learn what is folded in and folded out.

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Author

Mia Bevacqua

Chief Mechanic at CarParts.com

Mia Bevacqua is an automotive expert with over 15 years of industry experience. She holds ASE Master, L1, L2, and L3 Advanced Level Specialist certification, as well as a bachelor's degree in Advanced Automotive Systems.

Throughout her career, Mia has applied her skills toward automotive failure analysis inspections, consulting, diagnostic software development, and of course, freelance writing. Today, she writes for companies around the world, with many well-known clients showcasing her work.

Mia has a passion for math, science, and technology that motivates her to stay on top of the latest industry trends, such as electric vehicles and autonomous systems. At the same time, she has a weakness for fixer-upper oddballs, such as her 1987 Chevy Cavalier Z-24 and 1998 Chevy Astro Van AWD.

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