Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Why Are Objects in the Mirror Closer Than They Appear?

Why Are Objects in the Mirror Closer Than They Appear?

objects closer than they appear

Take a second to look at your passenger side view mirror and you’ll see a few words printed at the bottom of the glass. It’s a warning that reads “objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” Objects seen in the passenger mirror are definitely skewed. Why is there distortion in the passenger side view mirror (but not in the driver side view mirror)?

It’s all about the shape

The reason objects are closer than they appear in the passenger side view mirror is actually pretty simple. The mirror is slightly curved (it’s convex, or bowed outward in the center, and curves back on the sides). The driver side mirror is not shaped the same way – it’s flat. Why the difference?

The shape of the passenger mirror is intentional and it’s done in an attempt to achieve two goals. First, automakers have to overcome the problem of greater distance between the driver and the passenger side mirror than the driver and the driver side mirror.

Second, the angle of the view is different, which means that a flat mirror would not be usable in this position. Finally, the mirror is curved in an attempt to eliminate blind spots for the driver, making it safer and easier to view cars or other objects on the right side of your vehicle.

You can see the same effect on aftermarket blind spot mirrors. They’re usually round, but they share the convex shape of your stock passenger side mirror. Hold one up and you’ll notice that the objects reflected in the surface truly are closer than they appear.

The warning on your mirror is exactly that – it’s intended to make you aware that the perceived distance between you and another car or object is less than you think.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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

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...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...


Related questions

Q: Replacing standard manual mirrors with folding tow mirrors.

Hi there. You would need to install the switch to allow the mirrors to fold out. Plus you will also need to install a switch for the heaters in the mirrors. For the lights that are to work in the...

Q: How do I find the vanity mirror?

The vanity mirrors exist on both sun visors. To access the mirror, pull down the sun visor so that it faces you. Then, open the cover to the mirror.

Q: How do I read the compass?

The compass is located on the top right corner of the rear view mirror. To turn on the compass, press the Compass button, on the bottom of the mirror. The compass will tell you which direction you are currently driving,...