A side mirror cover is the housing over the assembly that protects the wiring and other components from moisture and contaminants. When your side mirror cover cracks or breaks, rain, road salt, and dirt can get into the assembly and damage your side mirror even more. If you don't fix it, sooner or later the mirror will stop moving.
Image Credit:1A Auto Parts
Wondering if you can just replace the side mirror cover? You came to the right place. This article will discuss both options – replacing the side mirror cover or replacing the entire assembly – and help you determine which one is best for you.
Does Your Side Mirror Assembly Work?
The first thing you want to do is to check your side mirror assembly. Just because the damage to your side mirror cover seems minor doesn’t mean your assembly is okay.
- If you don’t have power mirrors: Gently rock the side mirror in all directions to make sure the glass or anything else isn’t loose.
- If you have power mirrors: Using the controls in your car, move the glass fully side to side and up and down, to make sure that the mirror responds appropriately. To be 100% sure, you can also remove the glass and look for internal damage but it may be overkill if the mirror responds just fine to the controls.
If the assembly appears fine, you should be able to replace only the cover. However, is it really the best option for you? Let’s find out.
What Replacing Your Side Mirror Cover Really Entails
Side mirror covers are typically available in different finishes:
- Black plastic
- Plastic with primer, but NOT painted to match
So, if you buy just the cover, you're probably going to have to get it painted at a local body shop. While you can often get close with a can of spray paint, the color won't look the same as your factory paint after a few weeks of exposure to the sun and the elements.
Considering that a larger body shop that does a lot of business will often paint your covers for a small fee, it's worth checking around town. Since you have a Ford mirror, be sure to check with your local Ford dealer body shop. If you're willing to wait, odds are good the shop will repair a vehicle that's the same color as your mirror covers, and they can spray the covers at that time.
However, if the local body shop won't make you a deal on getting your covers painted, you want to consider the cost of the replacement cover (that can range anywhere between $20 and $150), the paint costs, and the value of your time. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to buy an entire assembly than it is to buy a cover and try to deal with getting it painted.
You can do a search on your Ford year model here and see what kind of replacement mirror covers are available for your vehicle.
The Benefits of a Full Replacement
The cost of the entire side mirror assembly may be similar to the total cost of replacing just the cover. For example, all the OEM side mirror assemblies available for a 2017 Ford Escape range between $170-$340 while the total cost of a side mirror cover replacement for the same model can set you back about $150-$400, depending on the replacement part cost, tools, quality and cost of paint, and value of your time. And your replacement cover might not even look good after all is said and done.
A full replacement comes with several benefits, including:
- A perfect factory look
- Easier installation
- More access to instructions online (like YouTube and this tutorial, for instance) – there aren’t many tutorials for replacing just the cover
It’s a good idea to do a search on your year model here to see which OEM side mirror assemblies are available for your vehicle and then weigh the benefits and costs against those of replacing just the cover. If you decide to replace the assembly, you will need your car's VIN number and paint code when you order. This helps the dealer verify that the correct color is being ordered.