How Long Does a Rearview Mirror Last?

Your car is required by law in most states to have a minimum of two mirrors that allow you to see behind the car. It can be any combination of the two side view mirrors and the rearview mirror. Of the three that came with your car, the rearview mirror is the largest and the most easily adjusted. It provides you with a direct view right behind your car, while the two side view mirrors show traffic to the right or left and slightly behind you.

The rearview mirror doesn’t actually do any work, but it is still subject to wear and tear. The most common issue is the effect of high temperatures and direct sunlight on the adhesive that holds the mirror to the windshield. Over time, the adhesive can weaken, and eventually the bond will be destroyed. The result is that the mirror will fall off.

When the mirror falls, it’s possible that it will strike the dash, the shifter, or another hard object and crack or break. If it breaks, it must be replaced. However, if the problem is only adhesive-related, it can be reinstalled.

There’s no set lifespan for your rearview mirror, and the mirror assembly itself should last the life of your car as long as it is properly maintained. However, if you park your car in direct sunlight often, it’s very likely that you will eventually experience adhesive degradation.

With that being said, some cars come equipped with power mirrors. These offer a range of different functionalities, from additional lights built into the mirror to auto-dimming technology and more. Because these mirrors incorporate electronics, they can succumb to age, malfunction and degradation over time. Again, there is no specific lifespan.

Without a rearview mirror, you have no direct line of sight behind your car. Watch for the following signs and symptoms that your mirror is about to fail:

  • Electronic functions not working

  • Mirror seems “loose” when you adjust it manually

  • Mirror is discolored or cracked (the plastic housing can sometimes crack with age and exposure to sunlight)

  • Mirror has fallen off the windshield (check the mirror for cracks and breakage)

If your rearview mirror has fallen off, or is showing signs of age, YourMechanic can help. One of our mobile mechanics can come to your home or office, re-attach your rearview mirror, or replace the mirror completely.


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Dave

23 years of experience
303 reviews
Dave
23 years of experience
Jeep Cherokee L6-4.0L - Rearview Mirror - San Jose, California
Dave showed up on time and he was able to fix the rearview mirror just fine. He was supposed to fix a flasher too, but unfortunately he didn't have the right flasher to fit the model. He did do a good job explaining the situation though, so I was totally fine with it.

Emmette

36 years of experience
282 reviews
Emmette
36 years of experience
Honda Odyssey V6-3.5L - Automatic Transmission Fluid Service - Alexandria, Virginia
Have used Emmette multiple times and will do so again--he is 100% honest, hardworking, and smart. Does a fantastic job every time. Book him!

Abdul

11 years of experience
419 reviews
Abdul
11 years of experience
Ford Expedition V8-5.4L - Idler Pulley - Atlanta, Georgia
Another great service from Abdul. He is my go to guy for all my cars.

Theodore

16 years of experience
1587 reviews
Theodore
16 years of experience
Toyota Camry L4-2.4L - Car is not getting enough power - Redmond, Washington
great attitude, prompt service.

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