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  • Whether it’s manually-adjusted, manual remotely-adjusted, power-adjusted, or power upper and manually-adjusted lower glass, car mirrors let you set their glass’ position.
  • There are some heated mirrors that are either completely heated or only heat their upper glass and leave the lower glass unheated.
  • While some car mirrors are non-folding, most are either manually or power folding.
  • Most car mirrors are direct fit products that require little to no modification.
  • Get a towing mirror if you often drive with trailers hitched to your vehicle.

Side mirrors show you what’s happening on either side of your car. They provide you with the situational awareness that you need to avoid mishaps on the road. Get the most out of your car mirrors by choosing ones with the right features for your needs.

Most Recommended Car Mirror Features

When you go shopping for new car mirrors, look for these convenient and useful features:

Glass Adjustment

You can adjust the mirror glass for better visibility of what’s beside and behind the vehicle. However, the method that lets you set the mirror’s position varies between products.

Power Adjustment

Power mirrors have a small electric motor that moves the glass. Most power mirror systems have a directional pad or joystick that lets users adjust the position of the mirror glass. Power mirrors provide the most convenience among all mirror types.

Check out these power mirror products:

Manual Glass Adjustment

Manually adjusted mirrors are the simplest type. If you’re seated in your car and need to reposition the mirror or its glass, you have to roll down the window and physically work the part. They’re usually the most affordable options and are quite rugged because they lack complex parts like electric motors.

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For a no-frills mirror that can fit any budget, try the following:

Manual Remote Glass Adjustment

Manual remotely adjusted mirrors have a control knob that you can access from inside the vehicle. You can adjust the mirror’s glass without lowering the window, preventing exposure to outside elements like heat, rain, and snow.

However, these side mirrors are more difficult to install. They have to go through part of the vehicle’s door frame so the control knob can be within easy reach of the front seats’ occupants.

If you want to install manual remotely adjusted mirrors in your vehicle, try the following:

Power Upper and Manually-Adjusted Lower Mirror

These mirrors combine the effort-free convenience of power adjustment and the precision of manual adjustment. The mirror is split with a large upper part and a smaller lower part.


Heated mirrors are a must if you drive in a place with winter. Low temperatures can create frost or ice on the glass that makes it harder to see the reflection. In the worst-case scenario, the mirror’s joints might freeze, preventing any movement to adjust the part.

A heater melts ice that has formed on the mirror and keeps it warm to prevent icing. Like power mirrors, heated mirrors also require an electrical connection and power supply for operation.

Heated Glass

Whether you need to replace damaged mirrors or want to upgrade from non-heated parts, here are several heated mirrors that we recommend for your vehicle:

Heated Upper and Non-Heated Lower Glass

These side mirrors are divided between upper and lower parts with different glass. The larger glass has a flat surface that accurately shows the distance and size of things reflected in the mirror, but has a narrower field of view. This glass is usually the one that’s heated and has power adjustment.

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In contrast the smaller mirror is a convex one that curves outward, giving a wide field of view but also making objects look smaller and more distant than they actually are. The combination of a flat mirror and a convex one reduces blind spots and makes objects around the vehicle more visible to the driver.

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The glass isn’t the only part of the mirror that can move. Many side mirrors can fold toward the door or window. Folding mirrors can reduce the vehicle’s overall width.

Power Folding

Modern vehicles usually have power folding mirrors. They allow drivers to fold their side mirrors in and out with the press of a button.

Check out these very convenient power folding mirrors:


Some car mirrors are incapable of folding. These rigid designs remain in place. Older vehicle models usually have these non-folding mirrors. 

If you own an older car and need to replace its side mirrors, you might want these non-folding mirror products:

Manual Folding

These mirrors lack a motor that can fold and unfold them. Instead, you must adjust them by hand. Manual folding mirrors cost less and are easier to install because of their simpler design. They don’t need a connection with the car’s electrical system.

Product Fitment

You want a car mirror that fits your vehicle. Otherwise, you’ll have to return the incompatible part and hope to get a refund. Alternatively you might have to modify your vehicle to accommodate a new set of side mirrors that doesn’t exactly match the original or current mirrors.

Direct Fit

Most side mirrors are direct fit products. As long as they’re compatible with your vehicle, you can install them without a fuss.

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Check out the following direct fit mirrors:

Minor Modification

Some car mirrors might require you to modify your vehicle before you can mount the new parts. For example, if the vehicle doesn’t have any bolt holes that can accept the mirror’s brackets, you might need to drill holes.

 If you’re willing to alter your car or truck to fit a new side mirrors, check out the following:

Universal Fit

Universal fit mirrors fit many vehicle models, making them good options. On the other hand, they usually require more modification.

Check out this universal fit side mirror product:

Towing Mirrors

Make your life easier whenever you drive with a trailer hitched behind your vehicle. Replace your stock mirrors with towing mirrors if you expect to tow cargo regularly.

Also called tow mirrors, towing mirrors stick out from your vehicle. They cover a wider area of your vehicle’s rear, so you can keep an eye on the trailer and anyone coming up behind your vehicle. Towing mirrors often have warning lights to signal other drivers if you’re going to turn or brake.

Car mirrors make driving easier and safer. When you have to replace old or damaged side mirrors, consider upgrading to new mirrors with extra features that suit your requirements, such as heated glass or power adjustment. You’ll surely appreciate the improvements to your driving experience.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The 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's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

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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