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It was 1911, May 30th when the first rear-view mirror was used on a four-wheeler. This vehicle component was invented by Ray Harroun, an engineer who was working with Marmon at the time.
The Indianapolis 500 was the event were for the first time a rear-view mirror was seen by the general public and the patent for the first commercial rear-view mirror was submitted by Elmer Berger, in 1921.
The first time auto manufacturer’s implemented rear-view mirrors was a decade later but they didn’t become standard until the 70s. Today rear-view mirrors are required by law in the majority of countries and although they are surely but slowly being replaced by cameras they are still widely used. Just like any vehicle component they need to be replaced, be it because of a crack or for pure aesthetics.
How to Replace Your Rear-View Mirror
Preparation is key no matter how simple a car fix is which in this case would be to have the proper tools. The tools needed for a rear view mirror replacement are going to be an Allen wrench, a putty knife or a razor, crayon, alcohol and the new rear-view mirror. Before you start with this DIY auto repair make sure you’ve disconnected all wiring connections by pulling the tabs out of their respective harnesses.
Replacing the Rear-View Mirror
- To remove the existing rear-view mirror you’ll need to loosen it using the Allen wrench. Undo the screws holding the mirror in order to take it out of its support and you’ll see a metal button sticking out by the windshield. You’ll need to mark the trace left by the metal button on the outside of the windshield using the crayon. This is done in order to make it easier for you to find the spot where the new rear-view mirror needs to be placed.
- Next, you’ll need to remove the metal button by scraping it off the windshield using the putty knife. Do this step carefully to avoid damaging the windshield and once you’ve removed all the glue the button will just fall off. Proceed with the rear view mirror replacement by cleaning the area where the new unit is going to be installed. Clean the metal button too with alcohol and let the cleaned areas dry off.
- In order to attach the new rear-view mirror, you’ll need to apply the activator vial and glue the metal button back. Before you glue the metal button though you’ll need to apply the activator vial to it. When you break the vial it will soak the cotton swab which you need to use in order to apply the fluid to the button. Once that’s done, you then need to glue the metal button by applying a drop of glue on the side of it. Then, you need to press it against the windshield and hold it there for a minute in order for it to stick to the surface. Leave the metal button to dry off in that position for approximately one hour so it bonds securely with the glass.
- To attach the new rear-view mirror, slide it’s back onto the button. Make sure you secure the mirror in this position by tightening the screw holding it to the metal button and then reattach all the wire connections. When you’ve attached the new rear-view mirror you’ll then need to adjust it properly.
How to Adjust Your New Rear View Mirror
- Adjusting your rear-view mirror starts with the position of your seat. You’ll need to have your seat adjusted in a way so that you can easily reach the pedals. When you have that done you’ll need to buckle your seat belt so that you make the whole situation as close to real-life driving conditions as possible.
- Whilst sitting comfortably in your seat adjust the rear-view mirror so that you are able to see traffic behind you with the horizon line and a bit of space above it being visible in the mirror. Make sure you are also able to see the whole rear window and the road too. If you feel like you need to do some additional adjustments when you start driving stop somewhere safe and make the adjustments. Doing so while driving will cause the mirror to move due to vibrations.
- Before every trip, you take with your vehicle, ensure that you adjust the rear-view mirror so that you are safe. It is not recommended that you rely on the same position you had it the last time you drove your car. This is done because you may have been sitting in a different position or someone else was driving your vehicle and they had the rear-view mirror positioned to their liking. Ensure that when you’ve adjusted the rear-view mirror you adjust the side-view mirrors next as their position largely depends on that of your rear-view mirror. The side view-mirror needs to be positioned so that when a car is passing by it seamlessly transitions from the rear-view mirror to the side view mirror.