The under-appreciated side mirror, also known as the fender mirror, door mirror, or wing mirror, has been around literally before the automobile.  The first recorded side mirror was actually on a horse and buggy to be able to monitor what was happening behind the driver and to the side of the driver to avoid accidents.  Once cars were invented the side mirror was a natural addition to the new automobile.

The side mirror is usually mounted on the door at the “A” pillar, rather than on the fender, but in Japan the terms side mirror and fender mirror are synonymous.  There are actually quite a few Japanese cars that mount the side mirror on the fender above the wheel well.

The side mirror can be adjusted in a number of ways.  The old style was a manual adjustment; the driver or passenger actually had to reach outside the car and adjust the mirror so it could be seen properly and so it would cover the area necessary to the side and rear of the vehicle.

As technology advanced, some side mirrors could be adjusted by a remote technique using Bowden cables and a lever inside the car.  Then, with further technological advancement, the mirrors could be adjusted using an electric motor.  Today they can also be electrically heated and dimmed at the flick of a switch.

Several safety features have come along regarding the side mirror.  They once were normal automobile glass but now they are all made of safety glass to avoid shattering on impact.  They also have a safety feature called “unit magnification” which is an undistorted reflection that show objects as being closer than they actually are.  This regulation is only in North America.  Everywhere else in the world the side mirror offers two views, a normal view and a unit magnification view.  They are also expected to have a warning label on them which warns the driver that objects may appear closer than in real life.  That warning label is not required in Europe because of the number of languages spoken over there.

Should you need to buy a replacement side mirror, you can of course purchase a new one at your dealership or auto parts store, but the smart shopper will go to the local salvage yard and save big bucks on a relatively easy replacement job.  Replacing a side mirror is a matter of unfastening several screws, so why in the world would you pay a mechanic to do it? Check out All Import Auto Parts the next time you need some recycled auto parts for your vehicle.