How to fix a broken outside mirror on a car

The side view mirrors on a car allow the driver great visibility. Unfortunately, they also stick out from the side of the car so much that sometimes they strike an object and the mirror shatters. This is a common problem, though, and most car parts companies have made sure they have a solution to your broken mirror problem. To replace the broken outside mirrors on your car, you simply need to make a few minor purchases and put a little elbow grease into getting the job done.

Buy a new side view mirror from a local junk yard. Junk yards have all kinds of vehicles, and even a wrecked car may still have a perfectly fine side view mirror that exactly matches your make and model. If you don't see one at the junk yard, try buying online. You can also visit an auto glass shop and have them cut a new piece of glass, though it's probably cheaper to buy a whole new mirror with plastic and all. As a last resort, buy a new mirror straight from the dealership.

Paint your replacement plastic to match your car colour if necessary. Locate your car's factory paint specifications by checking on the manufacturer's website. Buy the paint, cover the mirror with masking tape, and follow the directions on the can. Spray the paint on the mirror unit with short sweeping sprays and allow to dry for at least 24 hours.

Pull on the mirror trim panel inside the door. In some vehicle models with non-electric mirrors, all you have to do is pop this plastic covering off and unscrew the screws under it. Your mirror will come right off once you do this. Hold the new mirror in place outside the window and replace the old screws, tightening them down. Replace the mirror trim panel by popping it back into place.

For electrical mirrors, you may need to remove the vehicle's door trim panel from the inside of the door. Your whole door is covered on the inside with plastic siding that needs to be pulled away to get to the side-view mirror screws and electrical connections. Take a few minutes to locate and unscrew the screws holding this siding in place (look in the places normally hidden from view and pop off any small round screw covers you find with a hooked pick).

Pull the plastic door trim away from the door with a trim remover. You may not be able to see behind the panel at first, so feel along behind it with your fingers and pop the retainers with the removal tool whenever you come to one. If you have to remove the door handle, it will either screw in or snap in and you can pop it out with a screwdriver. If you have to remove a manual window roller, you need to buy a special door handle removal tool known as the Lisle No. 18600.

Locate the side mirror electrical connections behind the panel. Follow the connections from the mirror and disconnect them.

Unscrew the screws holding the mirror and remove it. Place the new mirror against the outside of the car, line it up, and screw it into place. Reconnect the electrical connectors.

Pop the side trim back in and replace the window crank and door handle. Screw all the screws back into place.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement mirror for your car's make and model
  • Screwdriver
  • Hooked pick
  • Panel removal tool
  • Lisle No. 18600 (special door handle removal tool for manual windows)
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Desdemona Delacroix has been working as a freelance author in her spare time since 2000, writing short do-it-yourself and current events articles. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Maryland University College, and she occasionally offers tutoring services in writing to undergraduate college students.