How to Adjust Car Mirrors


Using your car mirrors is a necessary skill to have when driving. Knowing how to adjust these mirrors and where to correctly position them is really important to ensure they are effective. There are two types of mirrors that you primarily use when driving: the wing mirrors (often called side mirrors) and the rear-view mirror. The wing mirrors are on either side of the car just outside the front windows. The rear-view mirror is located next to the driver, attached to the windshield at about eye level. You have to know how to adjust all of these to drive safely.

Part 1
Adjusting Your Wing Mirrors

Adjusting Your Wing Mirrors on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

1
Mirrors reflect light. This means that what you see will be different depending on what perspective you are looking from. Once you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, you’ll be almost set to start adjusting your mirrors.[1]

Adjusting Your Wing Mirrors on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

2
This will also have an impact on what you see when you look into your mirrors. Position your seat so you feel like your feet are gently resting on the pedals and that you can comfortably see over the front of the car.[2] Check that you can comfortably reach the gear stick and steering wheel. Use a cushion to increase your height if you are particularly short and cannot see over the front of the car.

Adjusting Your Wing Mirrors on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

3
As technologies have progressed, the physical method by which you change the angle of your mirrors has changed dramatically. In modern cars, many systems have been switched to electronic movement. The buttons for this will normally be located just to the right of the steering wheel and will have four arrows on them indicating the direction of movement for the mirror. There will also usually be a left/right control switch to choose which mirror to move. If you can’t seem to find the controls, head online and check as some can be hidden away in unusual places.[3]

Adjusting Your Wing Mirrors on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

4
Most older cars will still have their mirrors adjusted by hand. The way this works is usually quite simple, you will simply push the mirror into whatever position you like.[4]

Adjusting Your Wing Mirrors on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

5
If done correctly, you will only just be able to see the edge of the back of your car. If you can see a lot of your car, the mirror is too far in and if you can see none of your car, the mirror is too far out. Both of these situations will increase your blindspot.[5] You will have a blindspot regardless of how well adjusted your mirrors are, but the aim is to minimize this blindspot.

Adjusting Your Wing Mirrors on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

6
If done correctly, the horizon will be in the middle of the mirror and the road will look flat, rather than angled, going backward. Most people forget that you can also move the wing mirrors up and down. This has a fairly large impact on what you see when you look into your mirrors.[6] This is one setting that will vary greatly with the driver’s height so when driving a car for the first time, always check this.

Part 2
Moving Your Rear-View Mirror

Moving Your Rear-View Mirror on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

1
When setting your mirror position, having the right posture is very important as it will greatly affect what you see in the mirror. However, this doesn’t mean sitting in an unusual position because if you do this, when you drive, what you see will be very different to when you set the mirror.[7] Take some personal ownership here in terms of knowing how you sit when driving. For example, if you know you sit tall when driving, sit tall when setting your mirrors.

Moving Your Rear-View Mirror on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

2
This will mean that you have the maximum range of vision which will be equal on both sides.[8] You will be able to see fairly far back in the lanes behind you if the mirror is on the correct angle. You use this mirror most often whilst driving so the aim is for you to be able to just quickly glance at it, get the image, and look back at the road.

Moving Your Rear-View Mirror on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

3
When using this mirror at night, the cars behind you will have their lights on meaning there will most likely be some glare. Most cars have a night-view setting for this mirror which you can turn on. You can usually find the button attached to the mirror underneath or on the side of it.[9] This setting simply reduces the glare that you will have to deal with. Having the setting on during the day won’t make a huge difference if you forget about it but because it dulls light coming in, try to remember to turn it off.

Moving Your Rear-View Mirror on How to Adjust Car Mirrors

4
8 m) feet tall. This repositions the mirror so that the bottom edge is 1 inch (2.5 cm) - 2 inches (5.1 cm) higher than it is normally. This means the blind-spot for a particularly tall driver is substantially smaller.[10]