A Guide to Proper Rear View Mirror Placement

rear view mirror in a vehicle
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100

A rear view mirror is one of the most important safety features of your vehicle. Without this mirror you can not see what is coming up behind you, when it is safe to pull over, or pass another vehicle. When talking about the rear view mirror it is important to also include the side mirrors. They are essential to a complete system of seeing what is around your vehicle on each side. Positioning the rear view mirror does require certain placements to ensure the mirror acts as it should.

Placing Center Mirror

The center rear view mirror is instrumental for driving safely while in traffic. If the mirror has fallen off it can be repaired easily with a kit. Positioning the mirror takes more time than the actual installation. The rear view mirror should be positioned in the exact center of the windshield. Make sure to find this spot with the use of a tape measure. Once the center has been found, it should be located a little above your eyes. This means you will look over and slightly up. However, this is important as it does not obstruct your forward field of vision.

Driver's Side Mirror

Driver's rear view mirror

This is the mirror on the left of the vehicle (in the US). In older cars this mirror is not embedded into the body of the vehicle. It is mounted with the use of screws, and/or adhesive. Placing this mirror will determine your side vision. This is important for passing and highway driving.

Proper positioning for this mirror should be at the far bottom corner of the window. It should be mounted so the mounting bracket is level with the window. As you sit in the driver's seat hold out your arm as you lean forward slightly. This is the position where the mirror should be secured.

Passenger Side Mirror

The passenger side mirror is placed in the same manner as the driver's side mirror. It must be on the lower corner of the window and just out of hand's reach as you are reclining in the seat. Make sure it is level with the window frame.

Small Panoramic Mirrors

rear view mirror

When placing new rear view mirrors on your vehicle you may also want to look into the small panoramic mirrors that can be attached to the corners. They will give you a better view of the sides of your vehicle in between the drivers side door and the corner of your trunk.

Adjusting Mirrors After Placement

The center rear view mirror is the easiest to adjust. You should be able to see out the entire rear window. It is the side mirrors that need those intricate adjustments for being able to eliminate most of the blind spots. The best way to adjust these mirrors is with the use of another person. As you sit in the drivers' seat have a person stand about 10 feet behind the left corner of the car. They should then take a step towards the left. You should be able to see them in the corner of the center mirror as you lean forward. Move the driver's side mirror until you can see the person in the right corner of the mirror. Follow the same procedure with the passenger side mirror.