Your car has three mirrors that provide visibility and enhance safety on the road (as well as compliance with the law). These are your rear view mirror, and a car side mirror on both the driver and passenger sides of the car. It’s important to adjust these mirrors before you get on the road.
Reasons to adjust your mirrors
Most of us assume that once our mirrors are adjusted, they’ll stay that way forever. That’s not always the case. A number of different factors can affect one or more car mirrors, throwing off their adjustment and therefore your view.
Vibration: Your car vibrates during operation. In most cases, this vibration won’t cause any problems with your mirrors, but if the adjustment mechanisms are worn, it’s possible that they’ll move out of proper alignment. This is particularly true with the rearview mirror.
Jostling/Bumping: It takes almost nothing to move your mirror out of alignment. Most of us have bent down to retrieve something from the floorboard, only to bang our heads on the rearview when sitting back up. That moves the mirror out of alignment by a great deal. The same is true for side view mirrors – it only takes one accidental tap of passerby’s hand to knock the mirror out of adjustment.
Different Drivers: Many of us share our vehicles with other drivers. Maybe your spouse borrowed the car. Maybe your teen driver took it out for a spin. Regardless, if another driver has been behind the wheel, you’ll need to readjust the mirrors to suit your height.
What if your mirrors won’t adjust?
If your mirrors won’t adjust, or won’t hold their adjustment, you’ll need car mirror repair. For a rearview mirror, the entire mirror and housing will need to be replaced. For side view mirrors, the situation can be more complicated. It might be the adjuster itself, or the hardware on the back of the mirror that needs to be replaced. Either way, replacement or repair are the only ways you’ll be able to adjust your mirrors before you drive.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Why You Should Adjust Your Mirrors Before Your Drive and was authored by Valerie Johnston.