How Does the Side Mirror Control Switch Work? | YourMechanic Advice

How Does the Side Mirror Control Switch Work?

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Older vehicles and cars with base trim levels may have manual mirror adjustment. The most basic method is adjusting the mirror glass directly on the mirror assembly, or it can be adjusted by a manual cable toggle control. While manual mirrors are not totally extinct, they are becoming extremely uncommon.

Virtually all new vehicles are equipped with power mirror adjustment. The workings of a power mirror system include:

  • Side mirror power adjustment motors
  • Electrical connectors
  • Mirror switch with directional control
  • Fused power mirror circuit

If any one part of the system is faulty, the whole system won’t work.

How does the mirror control switch work?

Only the side mirrors are controlled by the power mirror switch. The inside rearview mirror is manual adjustment. The power mirror switch has three positions: left, off, and right. When the switch is in the center position, neither mirror will be adjusted if the button is pressed. This is to ensure that the mirrors don’t move if the directional control button is accidentally hit.

The directional control button has four directions that the mirror motor can move: up, down, right, and left. If the switch is moved to either the left or right side, that side mirror motor circuit is powered at the switch. When you press the directional control button on the switch, the mirror motor inside the mirror housing will pivot the mirror glass to the selected direction. When you release the button, the mirror stops moving.

The mirror motor has a limited amount of travel that is allowed to prevent damage to the mirror glass. Once the travel limit is reached, the motor will continue to click and bind until the directional control button is released. Continuing to press the button when at its limit will cause the mirror motor to burn out eventually, and it will cease to operate until it is replaced.

Making sure your mirrors are adjusted for proper rear and side-view visibility is extremely important to safely operating your car. You need to be able to see the traffic beside and behind you to make informed decisions about your driving. Check your mirror adjustment every time you start your car to make sure they are positioned properly for you.


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Chris

21 years of experience
1861 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Mini Cooper Clubman - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Silverado, California
He arrived early, went straight to work, and it should have been quoted higher as it’s a Mini which takes longer than the average break job. He didn’t try to get more than the quoted amount. He even set out to replace a running light for me when he was finished. I thought there would hard sales telling me I needed more work but there wasn’t. Because he didn’t try to sell me more work, I will use him again. When I hired a mechanic I don’t want a salesman. 
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Irvine, California
Chris again has provided great Service. Everything was great. I was very happy with the work and will definitely have him return for any other work.

Bryant

11 years of experience
408 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Indianapolis, Indiana
Bryant has done great work on my car before, the latest work is no exception. He's very flexible, and goes the extra mile to get you back on the road.
Scion iA - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Carmel, Indiana
This is my first time using this service. I am very happy with it. Bryant was very knowledgeable and did quality work. I will use this service more regularly.

Edmar

21 years of experience
184 reviews
Edmar
21 years of experience
Chrysler 200 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Euless, Texas
Edmar always does a very good job. He's done a few different things on my car the last two years. Each job was performed very fast and top quality. Thank you once again.

Mazyar

7 years of experience
255 reviews
Mazyar
7 years of experience
Jaguar XF - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Lawrenceville, Georgia
He was early, courtesy and actually helped me save some money since i didn't need all the work that i thought i needed done. Honest guy. Very knowledgeable. Great attitude.

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