Ah, the side mirrors – that vulnerable component that juts out on your otherwise sleek and sporty all-American muscle car. Or Japanese import. Or German engineered sedan. Regardless of the make or model, all of our vehicles share these two small, yet vitally important glass panels. You use them when you back out of a parking space, change lanes on the highway, and to make sure that that one directionally challenged friend following you hasn’t taken a wrong turn – again.
It’s important to protect your side mirrors, as exposed as they are. Let’s discuss a few ways to keep them safe:
Cleaning your mirrors.
- Side mirrors are made of extremely sensitive glass and must be treated gently. Be mindful of what you use to clean them, avoiding ‘abrasive cleaners’ and rough tools. Stick with a gentle cloth and some warm water. Feel free to mix in some soap, just make sure it isn’t ammonia-based.
Be mindful of your surroundings.
- Car washes (especially old ones) are notorious for causing damage to side mirrors. Anytime you run your vehicle through an automated car wash, a magical journey which is the joy of every child, be in the habit of rotating your mirrors inward.
- Be careful when parking along a busy street, especially on a weekend or during a large event. Many cars congesting the street can lead to drivers clipping your protruding mirrors. Additionally, when someone is attempting to parallel park in front of you on a busy street, they can easily misjudge the distance and leave you with a broken mirror.
- When backing out of a parking place, or entering one for that matter, go slowly. It’s always tempting to whip the car into that empty space near the front of the Walmart parking lot so no one else nabs it, but if you take the turn too tightly it could lead to a far more expensive trip than you expected.
Avoid playing with the power mirror adjustments.
- We’ve all done it. Sitting in the driver’s seat on your lunch break or waiting for your spouse while they make a ‘quick trip’ into the grocery store, it’s easy to play with the mirror controls, swinging them to and fro. The occasional tinkering won’t hurt anything, but continued use can lead to electrical shorts or even damage to the buttons themselves. Try to keep the tinkering to a minimum!
As you can see, there are numerous ways to damage these important safety features, many of which can be prevented.
Remember: Clean carefully, park safely and don’t tinker!
Bonus Tip: Let’s be real for a second, side mirrors are easy targets. Carrie Underwood wants you to think it’s about keying the paint or taking out the headlights, maybe even slashing the tires but that’s all misdirection. The first target is going to be those defenseless side mirrors. Park, if at all possible, in a safe, well-lit parking lot and save your mirrors!