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A few weeks ago, I was driving in my neighborhood, which has pretty narrow streets. There were two cars parked on opposite sides of the street and I thought I had enough room to squeeze between the two of them. I didn’t. And I NAILED my passenger’s side mirror, shattering the glass on it to bits. The truck’s mirror that I hit had a small crack through the center, small but enough that I knew I needed to fess up to what I’d done. My 4 year old son was in the car with me. We pulled over and knocked on the door of the guy who owned the truck and I started sobbing, like a 4 year old, explaining what happened. I left him my phone number and said I’d pay to have his fixed. When I got home I called a few local places to see how much it would cost to get mine fixed and it was going to be a few hundred bucks! Uhg. But that got me thinking, could I fix a car side mirror on my own despite my major lack of DIY skills? Spoiler alert– I could! And you can too, even if you’re like me and have zero DIY skills. Here’s how.
(1) FIND THE RIGHT REPLACEMENT PART.
Finding the right replacement part is key if you’re going to fix a car side mirror on your own. And honestly, this was probably the most intimidating part for me. I started out by going to Auto Zone’s website where they have this handy feature where you can enter in your car’s information to make sure the part you order is correct, then my plan was to jump on Amazon to actually grab the part. I was SO pleased to see that Amazon actually has this same feature! How handy is that? So you just go to the car section of Amazon and find your part. Super easy! I grabbed this cheap replacement part on Amazon using one of my gift cards from writing a Capterra review. (Side note, Capterra is a website where you earn $10 per survey that you take. All you do is sign up with your LinkedIn account– you can still post your survey anonymously, and you earn for reviewing very common products, like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc. They are super short surveys, less than 5 minutes)– I’m telling you I live off of Amazon.
(2) MAKE SURE THE REPLACEMENT PART FITS BEFORE YOU BEGIN.
It would be a huge bummer to do a bunch of work on your mirror only to discover that the part you thought was going to fit, actually doesn’t fit! So simply hold your replacement mirror up to the broken one to make sure it fits before you get started. Handle your replacement mirror with care– it is made out of glass after all.
(3) SCRAPE OFF ALL OF THE BROKEN GLASS.
Now comes the most tedious part of replacing the glass. You have to scrape ALL of the old glass off before you can install the new mirror. Depending on the state of your broken glass, this could take a while. It took me a pretty solid 30 minutes to do because I’d shattered the glass but not hard enough for it to fall off so it was shattered but stuck in all its adhesive. I used this scraper to scrape it off and it worked great. While it took some elbow grease, it definitely wasn’t complicated and I was pretty impressed with myself.
(4) CLEAN THE AREA AND LINE UP THE REPLACEMENT GLASS WITH PRECISION.
Once you have all of the old glass scraped off, clean off the area with alcohol and let it dry for a moment. That way, your new glass will stick better. Then, take a minute to make sure you are lining up the glass PRECISELY correctly. If not, you’ll have a wonky side mirror forever, because now that you’ve scraped the glass off, you know what a pain in the arse it is to do! So you want to make sure you get this part right. don’t rush.
(5) STICK REPLACEMENT GLASS ON.
Once you have the area completely cleaned and lined up correctly, take plastic off of the adhensive (the stickers on the back) and very carefully stick the replacement glass on. For me, the sticky adhesive that came on the glass was enough but if you felt worried that it might fall off, you could grab some extra weather proof adhesive to stick on there.
Like I said, I am NOT a DIY person but I was able to figure this out! Sometimes the greatest obstacle with DIY projects is simply our unwillingness to try. There is something so deeply gratifying about fixing something yourself, especially when you aren’t the kind of person who is normally good at this kind of thing (i.e., me).
For the comments: have you replaced a side mirror glass before? What kind of DIY projects have you done? I’d love to hear from you!
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