Rear View Mirror Buyer’s Guide
- A rear view mirror is a beveled mirror that is mounted inside an automobile. It is installed on an adjustable base that is fixed at the top and center of the windshield.
- The rear-view mirror is designed to give drivers a clear image of rear traffic and road conditions. Together with the side mirrors, they minimize blind spots to make driving on the road safer.
- To reduce glare, your vehicle may have a day/night rear view mirror or an auto-dimming rear view mirror.
- Prismatic rear view mirrors, also known as day/night mirrors, are shaped like a wedge. This construction allows it to maximize outdoor light during the day while reducing glare from high beams at night.
- Most manual-tilt day/night mirrors feature a power button or tab that allows you to switch between ‘day’ and ‘night’ positions.
- Auto-dimming or electrochromic rear view mirrors are built with electrochromic gel sandwiched between the glass and the mirror. This light-sensitive material automatically dims the reflection when glare is detected.
- Vehicle mirror laws vary per state. For your safety and to make navigating the road easier, it is strongly recommended to have both side mirrors and a center rear view mirror on your vehicle.
- The cost of a rear view mirror replacement will vary depending on which type is compatible with your vehicle’s model year. OE replacement rear view mirrors typically cost anywhere between $4 to $650. These mirrors are sold individually or as part of a kit.
What Is a Rear View Mirror?
A rear view mirror is a beveled mirror that is found inside an automobile. It is mounted on a base that is fixed at the top and center of the windshield. This adjustable mirror provides the driver with a clear view of vehicles and road conditions through the rear window.
How Do Rear View Mirrors Work?
Rear-facing mirrors give you a better view of the back and surrounding areas of your car. The rear-view mirror is designed to give the driver a clear image of rear traffic and road conditions. Together with the side mirrors, they minimize blind spots to make driving and navigating roads much safer.
Types of Rear View Mirrors
By Anti-Glare Technology
Drivers must always have their eyes on the road. A few seconds of being blinded by glare can mean the difference between getting to your destination safely or getting into a catastrophic accident. This is the reason why rear-view mirrors are equipped with anti-glare technology that reduces the brightness of light reflected by the mirror onto the driver’s eyes.
Prismatic or Day/Night Rear-View Mirrors
Prismatic rear view mirrors, also known as day/night mirrors, have been used in vehicles since the 1930s. If you look at the mirror sideways, you’ll see that it is not flat, but beveled. The top is slightly thicker than the bottom edge, creating a wedge-shape that is mounted on an angle. This construction allows it to maximize outdoor light during the day while reducing glare from the headlights at night.
What Is the Power Button on the Rear View Mirror For?
Most manual-tilt day/night mirrors feature a tab or a power button that allows you to switch between ‘day’ and ‘night’ positions.
In the ‘day’ position, the image is reflected off the metal backing of the mirror. Approximately 80% of light is reflected in this setting, providing the driver a clear and crisp image of the rear. The front glass also reflects an image of your lap, but it is so faint that you only see the main image.
In the ‘night’ position, the beveled mirror is tilted upward, allowing light to hit the metal surface from a different angle. Instead of shining it directly onto the driver’s eyes, the light is bounced off. Only 4% of the light is reflected by the front glass, minimizing headlight glare from your rear side.
Auto-Dimming or Electrochromic Rear View Mirrors
The automatic dimming mechanism for vehicle mirrors was first developed in the 1940s. This technology utilizes an electrochromic gel which acts as a photosensor that detects harsh light. This gel is sandwiched between thin layers of glass, automatically dimming and reducing glare when bright light is detected. The advantage of having an auto-dimming rear view mirror is that it gives you access to more than two brightness levels.
Is a Rear View Mirror Required by Law?
Vehicle mirror laws vary per state. Some require a clear view of the highway from the rear for at least 200 feet. Depending on which state you’re in, your car may need at least one or two rear-facing mirrors installed to be deemed roadworthy.
As you may know, side mirrors are also considered rear-facing mirrors. Most states will only require you to have a left side mirror and a second rear-facing mirror. This means you may have a rear view mirror in the cabin, or you may drive without it, as long as you have a right side mirror.
For your safety and to make navigating the road easier, it is strongly recommended to have both side mirrors and a center rear view mirror installed on your vehicle, regardless of whether a complete set is required by law.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Rear View Mirrors?
The cost of a rear view mirror replacement will vary depending on which type is compatible with your vehicle’s model year. OE replacement rear view mirrors typically cost anywhere between $4 to $650. These mirrors are sold individually or as part of a kit. Replacing this part is an easy repair that you may do on your own or with the help of a trusted mechanic.
How to Adjust a Rear View Mirror Properly
Adjusting your rear view and side mirrors properly is critical to eliminating blind spots that may increase your risk of getting into a road accident. You’ll need to properly adjust your mirror, especially if someone else drove your car or if the rear view mirror fell off and you’ve installed a new one.
Note that safety experts advise against adjusting your mirrors while driving. Be sure to follow these steps before going on the road:
1. Sit in the driver’s seat as you would normally.
2. Slowly adjust the mirror until you have the rear window in full view without tilting your head.
3. Be sure your view is centered and level. You should be able to have a complete view of the back just by moving your eyes.
4. If you have a day/night mirror, be sure to switch to the correct setting before heading out.
Make your search for the right rear view mirror by using our website’s search feature. Simply type in your vehicle’s correct year, make, and model to narrow down the results to all compatible parts.