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How to Replace a Rearview Mirror

A rearview mirror

1) Source a Replacement Mirror

2) Remove Old Mirror

3) Prep Surface

4) Install the Mirror

The rearview mirror in your car is an important safety feature many of us take for granted. Whether it’s the kids or traffic, rearview mirrors help us keep an eye on what’s going on behind us.

Replacement varies depending on the type of mirror and how it is attached. In modern cars that use advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in the mirror, replacement should be left to a professional. These systems are very delicate and if the mirror is replaced, calibration is necessary. If your vehicle doesn’t have any of these systems, keep reading to learn how to replace your rearview mirror glass from Glass Doctor.

Replacing a Rearview Mirror

You can find a generic replacement mirror at your local auto parts store. While you’re there, purchase a rearview mirror replacement kit – which usually includes the adhesive, cleaning supplies and hardware.

  1. Source a Replacement Mirror
    Usually, you cannot replace just the mirror glass; you must replace the entire unit. If your mirror uses auto-dimming glass or electrochromatic technology, look for a OEM replacement mirror from your local car dealer. If your vehicle doesn’t use this technology, most generic rearview mirrors are compatible with different makes and models.
  2. Remove Old Mirror
    • Apply a small piece of masking tape on the exterior of the glass to mark the original mounting location.
    • Unplug the wiring harness if the mirror uses one for an electronic compass or dimming feature.
    • Remove the mirror from the glass-mounted hardware – look for a screw to remove or a clip to slide it off.
    • Use a heat gun or blow dryer to soften the adhesive that holds the mounting hardware to the glass.
    • Apply heat to the exterior of the windshield where the mirror hardware is mounted and gently wiggle the mount free. It’s best to have a helper heat the glass while you remove the hardware inside the vehicle. Note: Too much heat will break the windshield, so exercise caution.
    • You may need to use a thin piece of piano wire or fishing line to break the bond between the glass and the mirror mount. Work the wire/line between the glass and the mirror mount using a flossing motion to break it free. Only apply force parallel to the glass, don’t try and tear the hardware off or it might bring a piece of glass with it.
  3. Prep Surface
    Remove old adhesive with a razor blade and glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol; be careful not to scratch the glass. Wipe the surface clean with a rag and glass cleaner and allow it to dry before proceeding. If your windshield replacement kit came with any cleaning or prep wipes, use them now.
  4. Install the Mirror
    • Not all kits are the same; follow the manufactures instructions closely.
    • If the kit came with an activator, apply it to the windshield and the mounting hardware. Allow the activator to dry for a few minutes if needed.
    • Apply the glue to the mirror mounting hardware, not the windshield itself. Use the tape you placed on the exterior of the windshield to find the original mounting location and install the mirror mount. Refer to the manufactures instructions for glue cure times.
    • Once the glue is fully cured, install your new rearview mirror

More Than Just Windows

Glass Doctor can help you replace your rearview mirror and a lot more! Our experts are trained in everything from windshield replacements to insulated glass replacement in your home. Help is just a phone call or a click away: Dial 833-974-0209 or schedule an appointment online and get help today.

Glass Doctor is part of a trusted network of Neighborly home service brands. Quality service and customer satisfaction is our priority. These brands are a great resource for tips, tricks and advice for all things that happen around the house. You can even find useful advice for outside the household. Here, Mr. Electric weighs in on the why an electric car just might be the perfect summer getaway vehicle.