Door mirrors are the rearview mirrors that are mounted on the doors of virtually all vehicles built in the past few decades. They serve as a safety feature that allows the driver to see behind and to the sides of the vehicle, while still facing forward so that they can continue to safely operate the vehicle. While the door mirrors of the past were nothing more than mirrors mounted on the doors, the door mirrors found on newer vehicles can come equipped with a variety of extra features, such as heaters and positioning motors that are built into the mirror assembly. In the event of an accident or any damage to the mirror, due to their extra features, these newer types of power door mirrors can be much more complex to service and replace in comparison to the simple ones of the past. Any issues with the door mirrors can cause a hindrance in the visibility of the vehicle’s surroundings for the driver, which can turn it into an inconvenience as well as a safety concern.
1. Mirror glass is broken
One of the most common symptoms of a problem with the door mirror is broken or cracked mirror glass. If anything strikes the mirror and causes it to break, this will distort the reflective surface of the mirror. Depending on the severity of the damage, this may greatly impair the driver’s ability to see using that mirror, which can be a safety hazard.
2. Mirror does not move or cannot be adjusted
Another common symptom of a problem with the door mirror is a mirror that does not move or cannot be adjusted. Most modern door mirrors are built with some means to adjust the positioning of the mirror in order to provide the best visibility for the driver. Some mirrors use mechanical levers, while others use electric motors paired with a switch, as the means to position the mirror. If the motors or mechanism fail, it will remove the ability to adjust the mirror. The mirror may still help in providing vision for the driver, however it will not be able to be adjusted properly until the problem is fixed.
3. Mirror heater does not function
Another symptom of a potential problem with the door mirror is heated mirrors that do not function. Some newer vehicles are equipped with heaters built into the mirror. This heater removes and prevents condensation from forming on the mirror, so that the driver can still see even in foggy or wet conditions. If the heater fails, the mirror may become obstructed by condensation and will not be able to give the driver any visibility.
Door mirrors are a component found on virtually all vehicles, and serve an important purpose related to safety and visibility for the driver. If your mirror breaks, or you suspect that it may be having an issue, have a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, replace your door mirror if necessary.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Door Mirror and was authored by Ed Ruelas.