How to Replace a Driver's Side Electric Mirror

by Jody L. Campbell

Once you find out how much a driver's side electric mirror is going to cost to replace, you may want to pinch some pennies. With a few common household tools, one of the ways to cut corners is to install it yourself and save some money on labor charges from the installation center or body shop. You might have to simply remove a piece of interior door molding or you may have to remove an entire door panel, but neither one is overly complicated.

Open the driver's side door and roll or power the window all the way down. Turn the keys in the ignition to the off position.

Determine if you have to remove the door panel or not. To do this, simply look at the door panel on the inside of where the driver's side mirror is attached to the door. If there is a separate triangular piece of molding, this can be simply unsnapped using a flathead screwdriver, and you can skip Step 3. If the cover is attached to the door panel, you'll have to remove it.

Locate the screws in the door panel and remove them. Each vehicle is different, but most door panels are attached by three screws and some snap-in-place plugs. The interior door handle will contain one screw, the arm rest area usually has another, and there's usually another one near the rear of the door. Some of these screws may have plastic or rubber molding caps or covers to conceal them from view. You can simply pry these off to expose them. Also, be sure to check along the bottom of the door panel to see if there are small screws holding it to the door panel there. If there are other power options (such as power windows and locks), be careful not to pry the door panel from the door frame and go to walk away with it because it will have other wires attached to the components underneath. You don't have to remove the wires to gain access to the side-view mirror in all vehicles. Also, be sure to check if there is a speaker cover on the door panel that is attached with a screw, and remove that.

Remove the foam insulation or any plastic wrap that may be covering the side-view mirror cavity. The foam insulation would be simple plugs pressed into the cavities exposing the nuts and studs of the side-view mirror. The plastic wrap (if present) would be applied with adhesive and can simply be peeled away.

Locate the electrical wire to the mirror in the large hole in the center and pull the wire out to expose the plug. Use the flathead screwdriver to press in on the clip lock and unplug the connection.

Remove the three nuts from the side-view mirror studs using the ratchet, extension and a socket. Place the tip of the telescoping magnet alongside the end of the socket to retrieve the nut in case it tries to fall into the door cavity. (not a big deal if you had to remove the door panel).

Pry the old mirror away from the outside of the door. It might feel stuck on from weather and age, but it will come loose. In some cases, the plug may fit tightly through the small hole, but it will come out.

Insert the new mirror studs into the holes of the door and carefully apply the nuts using the extension and socket. Tighten the nuts using the ratchet after all three are threaded on. Plug the wire of the mirror back into the wire harness and tuck it carefully into the door cavity. Turn the ignition key to accessory power and test the mirror to make sure it's working. Replace any foam insulation or the plastic wrap. Replace the triangular molding or the door panel. Roll the window back up.

Items you will need

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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