Side Mirror Buying Guide

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Side Mirror Buying Guide

The utility of vehicle side mirrors, also known as wing mirrors, is hard to deny. Allowing a better picture of the other vehicles and objects that surround a car, truck, or motorcycle, side mirrors are used every day for functions such as backing into a parking space and driving on a highway.

However, the protruding nature of vehicle side mirrors makes them prone to accidents. Conversely, their utility makes them top the list for upgrades. In either case, buying new side mirrors is necessary and somewhat intimidating. Thankfully, reviewing a bit of basic facts surrounding side mirrors as well as considering where to buy them, including auto parts stores or eBay, can make the process of buying new side mirrors both easy and fun.

Side Mirror Facts

Before beginning the process of searching for and purchasing side mirrors for a vehicle, buyers should review the basic facts about these important parts. In fact, the history of the side mirror itself is telling of the part's utility as are the different types of side mirrors that buyers may consider purchasing.

The Many Names of Side Mirrors

Vehicle side mirrors are essential components for safety while driving and are designed to provide the driver with a better view of his or her blind spot through a view of the vehicle's sides. Therefore, the terms 'side mirror' or 'side view mirror' make sense in a structural way and are often used when discussing this vehicle part.

However, traditionally, these mirrors were mounted on the fender of a car, the part of a car's body which is located above the wheel well. Fenders are also referred to as the 'wings' of a vehicle. As a result, side mirrors are often referred to interchangeably as wing mirrors. It is important to note that today this practice has changed and side mirrors are mounted on a car's 'A' pillar on the door of both driver and front passenger sides, and motorcycle side mirrors are mounted on each of the bike's handlebars.

Types of Side Mirrors

In addition to the two terms used when referring to a side mirror, there are also three distinct types of mirrors that can be used in the construction of side mirrors, each of which provides a particular benefit to the driver. When considering which new side mirror to buy, the descriptions in the table below should go a long way in helping buyers decide which to purchase.

Type of Mirror

Description

Major Benefit

Convex

Mirror which bulges outward in a spherical shape

Provides a wider angle and field of view compared to typical concave or planar mirrors

Aspheric

Non-spherical surface generally provided in a smaller, obviously divided portion of a convex lens

Eliminates 'spherical aberration' or a distortion of light and images common in other mirror shapes

Planar (Plane Mirror)

Flat surface mirror like most common household mirrors

Provides a precise 1:1 image in which the size and distance of the object reflected are exact virtual representations of the original

Each of these types of mirrors provides drivers with a certain benefit that needs to be measured against their individual needs. For the most part, the option is to trade in the larger field of view provided by convex and/or aspheric mirrors for the precise image of the planar mirror. In other words, planar mirrors lack the 'objects are closer than they appear' warning, but may show fewer of them, increasing the size of the blind spot.

Why Replace Side Mirrors

Understanding the basic facts about side mirrors helps buyers to then apply these facts to their own needs. There are several reasons to choose to replace side mirrors, each of which can be used to help determine which type of mirrors are best to buy. Briefly, these reasons can be divided into two major categories: replacing side mirrors for an upgrade and replacing side mirrors which are broken.

Side Mirrors as an Upgrade

There are two major ways in which replacing side mirrors can upgrade a car, truck, or motorcycle. The first upgrade is merely aesthetic. Buyers are able to find mirrors of a particular colour or pattern that strike their fancy and express their personality as a means of standing their vehicle above the pack. Alternately, side mirrors can be upgraded for performance. New side mirrors may contain built-in turn signals, defrosters, or tinting, which reduces the glare created by headlamps reflected in the mirrors at night.

Side Mirrors That are Broken

The other set of reasons for replacing vehicle side mirrors comes as a result of broken parts that come about due to normal wear or a minor accident. There are three major parts of a side mirror that can break: its housing, the mirror itself, or the electronics that control the side mirror. Which of these parts has broken helps buyers determine whether it is most prudent to replace the entire mirror or to find parts such as wires or a new mirror surface, which may be cheaper to acquire and are available used.

OEM or Aftermarket Side Mirrors

When buyers are looking for side mirrors, they have two main options in terms of the type of mirrors they can buy. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) mirrors are those which are made to the exact specifications of the original side mirrors as laid out by the car, truck, or motorcycle manufacturer. OEM mirrors may be made by the manufacturer itself or by a separate company contracted to do so. They match the vehicle's original or stock mirrors exactly.

The other option of mirrors is known as aftermarket side mirrors. Though not to the exact specifications of the original mirrors, aftermarket mirrors can be made to closely resemble the originals, and often for a lower price. On the other side of the spectrum, anyone looking to upgrade their mirrors is likely to need to go with an aftermarket option which may include different colours, designs, and other features not made by the OEM.

How to Buy Side Mirrors on eBay

Choosing to shop on the eBay website is a great way for buyers to save time and money when purchasing vehicle side mirrors. eBay offers a worldwide marketplace of over 100 million users. Registering for an account gives buyers access to all these sellers, including local sellers who they can contract with via eBay and then visit in person to save post costs.

Searching for side mirrors on eBay is very simple. Buyers can begin the purchasing process using the main search bar which is available on every page of the site, including the home page. Try to be as specific as possible since side mirrors vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Use exact search terms, such as "Toyota Corolla side mirrors".

Conclusion

Side mirrors, aside from performing an essential function in all cars, trucks, and motorcycles are diverse auto parts which can add a lot to the driving experience. Though people equally purchase side mirrors for upgrades as well as repair, the buying process remains largely the same.

Basically, buyers have the option of buying mirrors of varying types, such as convex, aspheric, or planar, as well as choosing either mirrors manufactured by the original maker, so-called OEM parts, or those produced by others, called aftermarket side mirrors. Regardless of these answers, however, using eBay to buy vehicle side mirrors is a way to save money through great deals and a wide selection that can meet most needs and budgets with ease.

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