Side view mirror replacement is much more complicated than in simpler times, but the mirrors themselves are more complex. Adjusting a side view mirror in an older vehicle required an individual to roll down the window manually, then adjust the mirror by pushing or pulling the entire mirror casing until the correct angle was achieved. If the mirror in question was on the passenger side, it became a two person operation, as the driver stayed in the driver's seat, while a second person adjusted the passenger mirror.
Advances in side view mirrors initially brought manual mirror adjustment capabilities from inside the vehicle. Levers on the doors could be adjusted by hand to turn a mirror in all directions within its outer casing. The next advancement came in the form of power mirrors, which could be adjusted with the touch of a button. Innovations such as heated mirrors soon followed.
These advances came with a price. Mirrors that can be controlled from inside a vehicle, whether manual or electric, are much more difficult and expensive to replace. Even the paint on the mirror casings on newer vehicles must match the rest of the vehicle.
If your side view mirror assembly is damaged because of an accident or vandalism, you will generally be referred by your insurance company to an auto body repair shop to have the entire assembly replaced. The auto body shop will handle the paperwork from your insurance company and inform you of any deductible that you must pay. You may be surprised when you are informed that it will take several days to replace your side mirror assembly.
The complexity of the mirrors, combined with the matching color schemes of newer vehicles, requires the mirror to be custom ordered to specifically match the model year of the vehicle. It may take one or two days for the mirror assembly to arrive at the shop. Once it arrives, it must be installed, and this involves more that just detaching the old assembly and attaching a new one. Cables and electric wires must be connected.
Once the mirror assembly is connected, the vehicle is now placed in the hands of the auto body paint shop, where it will be painted the exact color as the old assembly. Exact means that although the mirror assembly may appear as a normal black (or another color) to the untrained eye, a specific variation of the color must be used to achieve a perfect match with the vehicle. This requires expert matching through color codes and computerized paint mixing.
Fortunately, your insurance company will arrange a car rental for a few days until the repair is complete. When you see the result, you will think that the incident never occurred. The mirror will look as good, or even better, than the original, and the paint job will blend seamlessly with the vehicle.