Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Rearview Mirror

rearview mirror

The rearview mirror is located on the upper part of the windshield in your vehicle. Its purpose is to reflect the view behind the vehicle and to help you determine if it is safe to make a lane change, or see other cars around you. The rearview mirror is an important part of your safety, and the safety of the vehicles around you.

More recent vehicles have an auto dimming mirror, which dims automatically so the light does not reflect in your eyes from other vehicles headlights. This can be a very helpful feature on bright sunny days. If you do not have this feature, the mirror may have to be moved manually to keep the sun from blinding you.

The mirror should last the lifetime of your vehicle, but there are a few things that can cause it to malfunction. Watch for the following symptoms if you suspect a bad or failing rearview mirror:

1. Auto dimming does not work

If the auto dimming feature does not work, the sensors may be off. There are several sensors that are located on the back of the mirror. Locate them and clean them with a soft cloth so as not to scratch them. Make sure there is nothing blocking the light from the sensors. After cleaning and inspecting them, shine a flashlight on the sensors and see if the mirror dims. If it does not dim, chances are your rearview mirror is going bad and needs to be replaced.

2. Discoloration

Over time, the sun and other debris that continuously touch the rearview mirror may cause it to become discolored. If this happens, try to clean it with a soft cloth. Again, use a soft cloth so as not to scratch the surface. The discoloration can be below the surface of the mirror as well. If the discoloration does not come off, chances are the mirror has been damaged beyond repair and needs to be replaced.

3. No rearview mirror

Sometimes accidents happen and the rearview mirror falls off or is breaks off of its mount. When this happens, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Some states have laws requiring a rearview mirror, so be sure to replace it as soon as possible.

If you notice the auto dimming does not work, the mirror is discolored, or the rearview mirror is missing, contact a mechanic so the problem could be resolved. YourMechanic makes getting repairs to your rearview mirror easy by coming to your home or office to diagnose or fix issues. You can book a service online 24/7. YourMechanic’s qualified Technicians are also available for any questions that may arise.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How Long Does a Throttle Return Spring Last?
Not all vehicles on the road feature an electronic throttle control (ETC), which is also called drive-by-wire. For vehicles that don't offer this system, they have a throttle cable instead that...
P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...


Related questions

Q: How Does the Rearview Mirror Work for Nighttime driving?

The answer to that depends on which type of rearview mirror you have. If you’re thinking of the rearview mirrors we’ve been using for decades, with the little tab on the bottom that flips up or down, let’s talk about...

Q: Driver's side mirror moves straight up on its own

Your mirror switch should be disconnected after you adjust your mirrors to try and isolate a shorted mirror switch from a defective body module. If you have spilled any fluids on the mirror switch, it may be shorted inside and...

Q: How do you adjust the rearview mirror?

Your rearview mirror might not be the most high-tech piece of equipment, but it’s an essential consideration for safety while on the road. Using your rearview mirror helps keep you and your passengers safe, and it also protects other drivers...