How to Choose and Install Aftermarket Heated Mirrors for Improved Visibility in Cold Climates?

February 12, 2024

Driving in cold climates can bring about specific challenges, one of which is dealing with foggy or icy car mirrors. Fortunately, aftermarket heated mirrors have emerged as a practical solution to this problem. Designed to de-ice and defog, these mirrors improve visibility and thereby enhance safety. In this article, you will garner insights on how to choose and install aftermarket heated mirrors for your vehicle.

Understanding Aftermarket Heated Mirrors

Before diving into the specifics of choosing and installing aftermarket heated mirrors, it’s essential to understand what they are and their purpose.

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Aftermarket heated mirrors are a type of car mirror designed to automatically defog and defrost. These mirrors come equipped with a heating element that warms the mirror surface, preventing ice accumulation and fogging. This feature is particularly useful in cold climates, where these conditions are commonplace.

You might be wondering, "What is an ‘aftermarket’ mirror?" The term ‘aftermarket’ refers to spare parts or accessories that are not sourced from the vehicle’s original manufacturer. They are typically made by third-party companies and can be designed to match the specifications of various car models.

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Aftermarket heated mirrors offer several advantages. They provide better visibility during frosty or foggy conditions, which enhances safety on the road. The automatic defrosting feature also means less time spent manually clearing your mirrors before your journey.

Criteria for Choosing Aftermarket Heated Mirrors

The market offers a wide range of aftermarket heated mirrors, each with its unique features and specifications. When selecting, consider these key factors:

Compatibility: This is perhaps the most important factor. Ensure the mirror is compatible with your car model before purchasing.

Quality: Check the overall build quality of the mirror. Look for durable materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Price: Price is another significant factor. While it’s advisable not to compromise quality for cost, look for a mirror that provides the best value for your budget.

Brand Reputation: Choose a reputable brand. Read reviews and check ratings to gauge the performance and reliability of the mirror.

Installation Process: If you plan on installing the mirror yourself, consider how easy it is to install. Some mirrors come with an installation kit and instructions, which can be a big plus.

Step-by-Step Guide on Installing Aftermarket Heated Mirrors

After acquiring your aftermarket heated mirrors, the next step is installation. While it’s advisable to have a professional carry out the procedure, you can also do it yourself if you’re handy with car maintenance tasks. Here is a simple guide:

Step 1 – Removing the Old Mirror: This might require a screwdriver or a wrench, depending on your car model. Ensure you hold the mirror firmly to prevent it from falling and breaking.

Step 2 – Disconnecting the Wiring: If your old mirror had electric controls, it would be connected to the car’s electrical system. Disconnect the wiring carefully.

Step 3 – Connecting the Heating Element: Before installing the new mirror, you’ll need to connect it to the heating element. This usually involves connecting wires of matching colors.

Step 4 – Installing the New Mirror: Once the wiring is connected, you can install the new mirror. Fasten it securely using screws or bolts.

Step 5 – Testing: Finally, turn on your car and test the mirror. Check both the heating function and the regular mirror adjustments.

Maintenance Tips for Aftermarket Heated Mirrors

To ensure your aftermarket heated mirrors serve you optimally and for a long time, regular maintenance is paramount. Here are some maintenance tips for these mirrors:

Regular Cleaning: Clean your mirrors regularly to maintain clear visibility. Use a soft cloth and an appropriate cleaning solution.

Check the Wiring: Faulty wiring can cause your mirrors to malfunction. Regularly check to ensure the wires are in good condition and securely connected.

Protect from Direct Impact: Although most heated mirrors are built to be sturdy, direct impact can cause damage. Be careful when driving or parking in tight spaces to avoid hitting your mirrors.

In conclusion, aftermarket heated mirrors are a worthwhile investment for those living in cold climates. They not only enhance safety by improving visibility, but they also offer the convenience of automatic defrosting. Remember to consider factors such as compatibility, quality, price, brand reputation, and ease of installation when choosing your mirrors. Regular maintenance will also go a long way in ensuring they serve you well.

Recommendations for Additional Aftermarket Visibility Features

Apart from heated mirrors, there are other aftermarket visibility features that can provide extra safety and convenience when driving in cold climates. These can complement your heated mirrors to give you a holistic solution for increased visibility.

Convex Mirrors: Also known as wide-angle mirrors, convex mirrors increase your field of view, reducing blind spots. This allows you to spot any objects or vehicles that might be in your blind spot, further enhancing your safety on the road.

Rear Window Defrosters: Similar to heated mirrors, rear window defrosters can quickly clear ice and fog from your back window. This ensures unobstructed rear view, crucial for safe driving and parking.

Backup Cameras: These cameras give you a clear view of what is behind your car, making parking and reversing safer and easier. Most models come with night vision capabilities, providing clear images even in low-light conditions.

Towing Mirrors: If you frequently haul trailers or campers, consider installing towing mirrors. They extend your field of view, allowing you to monitor your trailer and the road behind you better.

Heated Seats: While not directly related to visibility, heated seats can make your journey more comfortable during cold weather. Some models even offer massage features, providing the ultimate in comfort and luxury.

Conclusion: The Importance of Visibility in Cold Climates

Driving in cold climates presents a unique set of challenges, and visibility is one of the major ones. Reduced visibility due to foggy or icy side mirrors can increase the risk of accidents. Thankfully, technological advancements have presented solutions like aftermarket heated mirrors, which effectively address this problem.

These mirrors, equipped with heating elements, automatically defrost and defog the mirror glass, ensuring clear visibility regardless of the weather conditions. Whether it’s the driver side or passenger side, having clear, unobstructed view of your side mirrors and rear view mirror is paramount for safe driving.

However, heated mirrors are not the only visibility aids available. Convex mirrors, rear window defrosters, backup cameras, and towing mirrors can all contribute to improved visibility and safety.

When choosing these accessories, remember to consider crucial factors such as compatibility with your vehicle, the product’s quality, pricing, the reputation of the brand, and ease of installation. And most importantly, ensure regular maintenance, including cleaning, checking the wiring, and protecting from direct impact.

In conclusion, investing in aftermarket heated mirrors and other visibility features is a wise decision for anyone driving in cold climates. They not only improve your safety but also provide convenience, enhancing your overall driving experience. With careful selection and proper maintenance, these features will serve you effectively, ensuring that every journey you take, no matter how cold it gets, is a safe one.