Instructions for Replacing a Saturn SL2 Manual Side View Mirror

by Jody L. Campbell

Replacing the side view mirror on a Saturn SC (coupe) series and a Saturn SL (sedan) series involves exactly the same procedure. If the interior lever to manipulate the mirror or the mirror itself has been compromised, you don't need to go to a body-shop or repair station to replace it. Aftermarket, direct-fit mirrors for specific models are now available at affordable prices on many websites. Purchasing a mirror online and replacing it yourself can save you significant money.


Unlike in many other cars, removal of the interior door trim panel is not required to replace the mirror. The plastic molding covering the side view mirror from the interior side of the door needs to be removed first. Depending on the year, a retaining screw may or may not be present. If it is, remove the screw. If no retaining screw is visible, the molding clips into place by a retaining clip seated underneath the molding. Gently pry the clip out of its seated position with a screwdriver or an appropriate pry tool to remove the molding. The manual mirror has an adjustment lever that protrudes through the molding on the interior side of the door. This is so the mirror can be adjusted inside by moving the lever without having to roll the window down and manipulate the angle of the mirror by hand. The set screw needs to be loosened underneath the molding to disconnect the cable on the manual mirror from the molding. Use a Torx screwdriver for this. The mirror insulator also needs to be removed. Remove the foam insulation for the cavity by simply pulling it out. Three retaining nuts attached the the studs of the mirror sit in a triangular pattern on the interior side of the door frame, now exposed by the removal of the foam insulation. Remove the three nuts. Due to exposure to the elements and an exterior mirror seal, the side view mirror will most likely need to be pried off of the exterior door panel. Be careful not to scratch the paint on the car door when applying pressure to the mirror assembly--or whatever is left of it--when you are trying to break the seal and remove it from the door. Once off the door, clean the exterior side with some rubbing alcohol to make a clean surface for the new mirror and seal.


Align the three studs of the new mirror into the appropriate holes. This will be easier with the window rolled down so you can reach in to replace the three retaining nuts. Replace the foam insulation and then the mirror insulator. Align the cable to the lever, then reattach it to the molding. Replace the molding and press it in place for the clip style or replace the retaining screw, if applicable.

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.

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