• 2019

Looking Back

Let’s Reflect on Broken Sideview Mirrors

Sideview mirrors are targets in tight spaces. In addition to the possibility of other people and vehicles causing damage to them, the drive-up window at your favorite fast food restaurant, as well as the ATM, are imminent dangers, particularly for the driver side mirror. The fact is, sideview mirrors get banged up. The mirror glass can break, or, in the worst-case scenario, the entire mirror assembly can be damaged requiring replacement.

Figure 1 – Sideview mirror, minivans (RT body)


Figure 2 – Sideview mirror, Chrysler 200/Avenger (JS body)

Mirror Styles

Due to the large number of different body styles on passenger cars, there are also many styles of sideview mirrors. Let’s focus on two very popular models – the minivans (RT body) and the Chrysler 200 (JS body). Both example vehicles are from model year 2013.

Figures 1 and 2 show the outside mirrors of the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler 200, respectively. As you can see, they have similar, but different, designs. The mirrors on both body styles are power-operated to adjust the position of the mirror, vertically and horizontally. Both mirrors are fed with non-switched battery power at all times, enabling adjustment of the mirrors regardless of the ignition switch position. Two electric motors are used – one for vertical adjustment, one for horizontal adjustment.

The minivan mirror is equipped with a heating element that melts ice and snow during the winter months. In addition, an optional Blind Spot Monitor (BMS) system is available for the minivans. With this system, an LED display unit behind the lower edge of the mirror glass illuminates an amber triangle to indicate to the driver that an object has been detected in the blind spot area.

The Minivan Mirror

Replacing the mirror glass on a minivan does not require the mirror assembly to be removed; however, you might find it easier to do this job with the mirror on a workbench. Position the mirror glass so that it is facing in toward the vehicle as far as possible.

Refer to Figure 3. Using a trim stick (C-4755 or equivalent flat bladed tool), release the two outer mirror glass holder retaining clips (3) from the mirror motor (2). This is done by inserting the trim stick between the mirror glass holder (1) and the mirror holder. Carefully pull/pry the outside edges of the mirror glass holder (1) away from the mirror motor (2) to disengage the remaining six glass retaining clips (3) from the mirror motor (there are eight retaining clips).

Separate the mirror glass holder from the mirror motor. Then, disconnect the mirror wire harness from the heated glass electrical connector (if equipped).

Figure 3 – Sideview mirror, minivans (RT body)

To install the new mirror glass, connect the wire harness to the heated glass electrical connector, if equipped. Refer to Figure 3. Position the mirror glass holder (1) to the mirror assembly and align the eight mirror glass retaining clips (3) to the mirror motor (2).

Note: Pressure must be applied equally over the center portion of the mirror glass to fully engage the mirror glass retaining clips to the mirror motor.

Using one hand, carefully push the mirror glass holder onto the mirror motor; at the same time, support the mirror housing from the backside with the other hand. Firmly push on the mirror glass holder until all eight retaining clips are fully engaged. Verify that the mirror glass holder is secure by gently pulling outward on the glass.

If the entire mirror assembly must be replaced, using a trim stick (or equivalent), remove the mirror trim cover on the inside of the door. Partially remove the door trim panel, as necessary, to gain access to the mirror (for electrical mirrors only). Disconnect the electrical connector, if equipped. Remove the bolt securing the mirror, then remove the mirror from the door pillar.

To install the new mirror assembly, route the wire harness (if equipped) through the hole in the door pillar, then place the mirror in position on the door. Install the bolt and tighten it to 177 in.-lbs. Connect the electrical connector (if equipped) and install the door panel, if necessary. Install the trim cover. Boom! The job is complete!

Chrysler 200/Avenger Mirror (JS Body)

Removing the mirror glass from a JS Body vehicle is pretty straightforward. As with the minivan, always wear eye and hand protection if the mirror glass is broken. Carefully pull/pry the mirror glass holder from the mirror assembly. Disconnect the heated mirror electrical connectors from the terminals on the mirror glass holder, if equipped.

When installing the new mirror glass holder, it is important to be sure that the motor is square to the glass holder prior to the glass holder attachment. If this is not done, the mirror glass holder could be installed incorrectly, causing poor retention and a possible glass breakage.

Figure 4 – Sideview mirror, Chrysler 200/Avenger (JS body)

Position the new mirror glass holder to the mirror assembly. Be sure that the moisture drain hole on the glass holder assembly is facing downward. Align the attaching fingers on the glass holder with the mirror motor housing. Using one hand, firmly press the mirror glass holder assembly into place while, at the same time, supporting the housing assembly from the backside with the other hand (this was done in the same manner on the minivan). Gently pull outward on the glass holder assembly to ensure the glass holder is in place.

Pressure must be applied equally over the center portion of the mirror to engage the attaching fingers on the mirror glass holder to the corresponding fingers on the housing assembly. One or more clicks will be heard when the finger engagement occurs.

To remove the entire mirror assembly, remove the door trim. Then, use a trim stick, or equivalent, to gently pry to remove the mirror flag, which is the mirror trim panel. Disconnect the power window motor, if equipped. One of the nuts is covered with a small rubber grommet (see Figure 4). Remove the grommet. Remove the nuts attaching the mirror to the mirror flag, then remove the mirror from the vehicle.

To install the new mirror assembly, feed the power mirror wire harness through the hole in the mirror flag. Position the sideview mirror on the vehicle. Install the attaching nuts to the mirror flag. Connect the power mirror motor (if equipped). Align the trim clips with the sheet metal holes in the door panel. Lightly tap the trim piece into place ensuring the proper seat. Install the rubber grommet on the nut. Install the door trim panel to complete the replacement procedure.

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