Power mirror problems are quite common because these automotive parts are exposed to the elements as well as stick out from the vehicle and are subject to impact damage. Factory original replacement power mirror parts can be very expensive.
Although I am not a supporter of cheap aftermarket automotive parts this is one area of the vehicle that I will make an exception. Listed below will be some of the most commonly searched for replacement power mirror parts such as the master power switch and the complete mirror motor assembly itself.
The nice thing about these systems is that they are very similar between car lines and even models. A VW electric mirror system is not that different from the one installed on my Pontiac Grand Prix. Before we get to replacing parts let’s discuss some of the more common power mirror problems.
Power Mirror Parts Problems
Some power mirror parts that I see the most failure in would be the master control switch and stripped nylon gears on the electrically operated motor. In the case of my old Pontiac Grand Prix the power master switch is located on the armrest of the driver side door panel.
With the way that the roof is designed anytime it rains and I crack the driver side window water drips off of the roof line and directly into the power mirror master switch. After a few years of this happening to switch itself which is rather delicate compared to the other switches on the vehicle can become corroded and provide intermittent operation.
In some cases you are able to disassemble the switch and clean the electrical contacts. But again this switch is made rather delicate and sometimes the disassembling of the switch will lead to eventual replacement of it. The tiny springs and contacts can get lost and in some cases the plastic will just break apart and you will not be able to put it back together.
Power Mirror not Working
In many cases when you operate the power mirror master switch you can hear the motor running but the glass doesn’t move. The motor controls the movement of the glass in most cases with a series of small nylon gears. If the mirror is binding then the nylon gears will start to slip and eventually the little teeth will wear off.
Back in the old days they used to offer overhaul kits and we use to replace the gears and motors as necessary. Nowadays it is more common that the manufacturers and aftermarket companies will offer a complete replacement that includes the new glass, the housing and all internal parts including a new motor.
In my opinion this is really the way to go using the aftermarket power mirror parts in a complete assembly. In most cases power mirror assemblies whether they be driver-side or passenger-side are relatively easy to replace. On many models you may have to remove the door panel to gain access to the retaining bolts.
Having a properly operating power mirror assembly is more than just a convenience. When properly adjusted these mirrors give you a view of what’s happening around you with simple eye movement to the left or right. When you have power mirror problems and you’re not able to adjust them on the fly you can have an increase in the area that you can’t see. These are most commonly known as blind spots. These blind spots can get you into trouble when you are switching lanes on the freeway.
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