How To Fix A Loose Rear Or Side View Mirror Ball Joint - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (2023)

Mirrors are an essential part of the vehicle’s equipment that allows you to navigate through the traffic safely and more easily.

Each mirror serves an important role – the rearview mirror gives you a wide-angle image of the traffic behind you, the right-side mirror helps you switch lanes, and the left-side mirror lets you know if someone’s trying to overtake you. Of course, they’ve got other uses and can assist you when you’re driving in reverse or parking.

But what can you do when the mirrors become loose and keep tilting down?

Rear and side mirrors can be adjusted by tightening the screw located beneath, or behind the mirror itself. In this article, I’ll teach you how to fix the mirrors and regain complete visibility on the road!

How To Adjust a Loose Rear View Mirror

The Rear-View mirror is often adjusted, especially if the car is driven by several people. This will cause the mirror ball joint to loosen up, but there are a couple of ways to tighten it. The exact method will vary depending on your vehicle, and if none of the factory-installed methods is applicable, I’ll also provide some DIY methods to solve the problem.

Tools You’ll Need:

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Tighten The Screw Underneath The Mirror

Some vehicles have a fixed mirror stand and a ball joint that attaches directly to the mirror. Inspect the mirror from underneath, where the flip tab is located. On some models, you’ll find a hex or Phillip’s head screw to tighten and get the mirror back in action.

(Video) The correct adjustment method of the car rearview mirror!

Tighten The Screw Inside The Base Of The Roof

In some models, the mirror and the rod have a solid connection, with the ball joint connection located within the roof. You’ll have to figure out how to remove the plastic shroud to gain access to the adjustment screw. After that, it’s just a matter of using the right screwdriver to tighten the ball joint.

Tighten The Screw Within The Mirror

If you can’t locate the tightening screw beneath the mirror or within the base, the last place to look is inside the mirror. At this point, I’d suggest looking up the exact method for your make & model, as disassembling the mirror unnecessarily can only cause more harm than good. Once you’re sure there’s a tightening screw inside, carefully pull off the mirror to gain access to the screw.

How To Adjust a Loose Side Mirror

Side mirrors face two problems – the joint connecting the assembly to the vehicle can become loose, and the mirror itself can drop. Both are relatively easy fixes as long as your vehicle allows them.

Tools You’ll Need:

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How to Tighten Side Mirror Assembly

The entire side mirror is connected to a latch with a couple of screws. The mechanism lets you fold the mirrors to prevent unwanted damage when parked.

To tighten the screws, inspect the connection point and figure out how to take off the cowl. After that, it’s just a matter of tightening the screws with the right socket.

How to Correct The Side Mirror

Like some rearview mirrors, the side mirror ball joint can be corrected by taking off the mirror and tightening the adjustment screw. This is a delicate job as trying to forcefully pull off the mirror can damage the remote adjustment mechanism, so before you start, check out the steps on how to remove the side mirror glass that’s located towards the end of the article.

(Video) How To: Replace Your Vehicle's Rearview Mirror

Replace The Mirror

By design, some mirrors cannot be adjusted in any way. The worst thing you can do is take the vehicle to an authorized dealership – not only will they charge you a ridiculous amount for a replacement mirror and labor costs. If you’re not confident in your repair skills, you can buy the mirror yourself and take the car to a local mechanic. They’ll be able to change it within minutes and charge a trivial amount.

Older vehicles have rearview mirrors that are just that – a mirror, but you can now spend a few extra dollars and buy a rearview mirror with an integrated backup camera monitor.

How To Fix A Loose Rear Or Side View Mirror Ball Joint - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (5)

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(Video) How To Repair a Rear View Mirror On Most Vehicles

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

DIY Methods For Fixing Rear and Side Mirrors

Before you start replacing the mirrors, you can try a few DIY methods of fixing the ball joint and restoring partial, or complete functionality to your mirrors.

How to Fix Loose Rear View Mirror

The ball assembly is made out of soft metal or even plastic and will shrink over time. By far the easiest method of regaining a tight connection is to layer the ball receiver with a piece of paper, plastic, insulation tape, or whatever else you have on hand.

For this method, I like to use a piece of notepad paper, cut it into a small enough piece so it won’t be visible, and stick it into the ball receiver. The ball will have a tighter fit, and you’ll still be able to adjust the mirror. Over time, the paper might degrade, but you can always repeat the process in just a few minutes.

How to Fix Loose Side View Mirror

The most expensive part of the side mirror is the electric motor for remote adjustment and folding. If that fails, chances are that getting the spare parts will be just as expensive as buying the entire mirror.

However, there is one way to fix a side mirror that keeps tilting downwards. Hold the mirror in position with one hand, then wedge toothpicks or cardboard between the mirror and the housing. This will create a tight fit and while you won’t be able to use remote controls to adjust the mirror position, you can still open the window and adjust it by hand.

How to Replace Side View Mirror Glass

Side mirror glass can crack, become too dirty to clean, or even fall off, so knowing how to replace it is a good skill to have. You most likely won’t need any tools, just a handful of adhesion and cleaning products.

Tools You’ll Need:

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(Video) How to Fix Your Broken Side View Mirror for Cheap

Steps to Replace Side View Mirror Glass:

  1. If the old glass is still in place, pull it off. You can use adhesion tape on the glass to give you a better grip.
  2. Use IPA or ethanol to clean the mirror mount. Do the same for the front and back sides of the old or replacement mirror.
  3. Cut up the double-sided tape into sections then stick it to the back of the glass. Alternatively, you can use superglue.
  4. Slowly place the mirror on the mount at an angle, then push it on. This will maximize the contact surface.


How much does it cost to fix a rearview mirror?

The cost of replacing the rearview mirror greatly depends on how you approach the problem. If you take the vehicle to an authorized dealership, the cost of parts and labor can even reach $1000! In contrast, a basic aftermarket rearview mirror costs just $10.

Unless your rearview mirror has special features that require an OEM replacement, I would strongly suggest going with a cheaper alternative. Replacing the mirror is very simple, so don’t let the mechanic rip you off – you can definitely do the job yourself, and if not, don’t spend more than $50-100 on labor.

Can I use Gorilla Glue to fix my rearview mirror?

You can use Gorilla Glue to reattach the glass to the mount, but do not use it to tighten the ball joint, especially if the receiver is inside the roof assembly! Once it sets, you won’t be able to adjust the angle of the mirror, and removing the ball will become nearly impossible. You’ll likely have to snap off the mirror, then drill out the ball to save the joint receiver.

How long does it take to fix a rearview mirror?

The job is very simple, so whether you’re fixing or replacing the mirror, the whole process should take 10-30 minutes.

How do you tighten a ball joint on a side mirror?

To tighten the ball joint on the side mirror, you need to remove the glass and possibly the glass mount. Doing so requires patience and skill not to break the glass, but it can be done. Once you’ve tightened the ball joint, follow the steps explained in the guide on how to glue the glass back in place.

Why is my driver’s side mirror shaking?

Some vibrations are to be expected, especially on older vehicles, but if the mirror is shaking excessively, it means that the bolts connecting it to the body have become loose. Simply take off the bottom shroud of the mirror assembly and tighten the bolts to keep the mirror from wobbling.


Loose rear or side-view mirrors can be very annoying, but repairing them is a simple process that requires just the basic tools. Be careful not to break the glass, and you should do just fine. Every mirror is different, so check the owner’s manual and forums to see what other owners have to say.

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How do you fix a loose rear view ball joint? ›

Have a look underneath your mirror, close to where the mirror's flip tab is to look for a screw. If you find this screw, tighten it up to tighten the ball joint and make your mirror stay in place. Some cars have a ball joint connection inside the roof that you'll need to access to tighten it.

How do you fix a loose side rear view mirror? ›

If the mount is loose on the side of the door—Remove the interior panel on the inside of the door to access the bolts and tighten them. If the mirror glass is loose on the case—Pry the glass off with a screwdriver. Apply new adhesive and sealant and press firmly into place. Secure the glass with tape for 24 hours.

What kind of glue to use on a rear view mirror? ›

3M™ Rear View Mirror Adhesive securely attaches rear view mirror brackets to windshields in a matter of minutes. This two-part structural acrylic system creates a reliable bond that holds up to common environmental conditions in a vehicle. This specialty adhesive is custom formulated for this unique purpose.

Why is my rear view mirror shaking? ›

That vibration could be coming from a wheel, tire, bearing or even the engine. Since the steering wheel is not vibrating, the issue is more than likely from the rear of the car. These wheels/tires are very finicky to balance and use a special collet, rather than a cone, on the balancing machine.

How do you secure a mirror back in frame? ›

Put a thin bead of silicone around the edge of the mirror or inside lip of the frame. Carefully align the mirror to the back and press it into place. If the picture frame has a backing material, you could also attach the mirror to that instead and use it to secure the mirror inside the frame.

How much does it cost to fix a loose side mirror? ›

Cost Of Replacing A Mirror

On average, one broken side mirror will set you back by about $299, with the final price heavily relying on two components. The first one is the cost of materials, which ranges from $139 and $328. The second one is labor cost; here, an additional $90 is usually added to the price.

Is it easy to fix a rear view mirror? ›

Fortunately, reattaching the rear view mirror is a fairly simple process, but over-the-counter solutions available won't be a permanent solution – repair needs to be done with a quality adhesive with the same or greater strength than what was used by the vehicle manufacturer.

What is the best adhesive for car side mirrors? ›

The best glue for car mirrors

Your best bet is an epoxy glue for car side mirrors or any other glue or adhesive that's labelled for use on mirrors, such as an automotive silicone mirror adhesive. Silicone adhesives are a good choice due to their strength and elasticity.

How do you fix a mirror ball? ›

You might be able to fix the shards in place with a clear glass glue. Please don't try superglue because it dries matte and could leave a cloudy residue on the mirrors. Use special clear glass glue instead. Another idea is crystal clear UV resin that is commonly used in crafting and for nail art.

Will Gorilla Glue hold a rear view mirror? ›

Gorilla Glue can be used to reattach a rear view mirror. The glue forms a strong bond and can hold the mirror in place securely. It is important to use Gorilla Glue sparingly, as too much glue can damage the mirror.

Will Super Glue hold a rear view mirror? ›

Super glue works well. You can go to most auto parts stores and buy glue specifically for gluing a rear view mirror on. There are a lot of glues on the market now, that work well for gluing metal onto glass.

What kind of epoxy glue will hold a side view mirror? ›

Loctite Epoxy Gel is a great choice - the non-drip gel formula creates tough, rigid bonds in just six minutes, making it perfect for use on vertical and outdoor surfaces like your car side mirror. Epoxies are great for repairing mirror housings, too.

What happens if your ball joint is loose? ›

A loose ball joint in the front suspension will introduce some "play" that allows one of the front wheels to come out of alignment with the other. Over time, this can lead to uneven tire wear with one tire wearing out much more rapidly than the other.

Can you drive with a loose ball joint? ›

Can I Drive With a Bad Ball Joint? No. You should not drive with a bad ball joint. Continuing to drive can cause damage to other vehicle components and if the joint fails completely you could lose control of the vehicle, leading to a crash and injuries.

Can you fix a ball joint yourself? ›

Ball joints are not always an easy replacement, but a DIYer who is versed in changing suspension and brake components will probably be able to tackle the job.

Does AutoZone fix side mirrors? ›

When broken windows or mirrors occur, AutoZone has the high-quality replacement for your ride.

Can I fix my side mirror myself? ›

You don't have to replace the entire side view mirror assembly just because the glass is broken. Replacing the mirror glass is a do-it-yourself project that is usually inexpensive. Several manufacturers offer precut glass mirrors to fit vehicles of all makes and models.

What is rear view mirror syndrome? ›

The majority of us tend to make decisions based on our past and in doing so, suffer from something known as rear view mirror syndrome, RMS. If you're an RMS sufferer, you believe that who you used to be is who you are now and your choices and decisions are informed by the limitations of your past experience.

Why is my rear view mirror not working? ›

Make sure there is nothing blocking the light from the sensors. After cleaning and inspecting them, shine a flashlight on the sensors and see if the mirror dims. If it does not dim, chances are your rearview mirror is going bad and needs to be replaced.

Why do rear view mirrors tilt? ›

A prismatic rear-view mirror—sometimes called a "day/night mirror"—can be tilted to reduce the brightness and glare of lights, mostly for high-beam headlights of vehicles behind which would otherwise be reflected directly into the driver's eyes at night.

How do you keep a mirror in place in the frame? ›

Use construction adhesive or wood glue to attach the frame to the mirror, piece by piece, starting with the bottom piece. Apply the glue to the back of the frame, about an inch in from the edges, then press against the mirror. Use painter's tape to hold the pieces in place while they dry against the mirror.

What is the best glue to frame a mirror? ›

Two types of adhesives that get the best results with mirrors are urethanes and silicones, neither of which are solvent-based adhesive systems. Urethane adhesives are usually as sold as two-part adhesives.

How do you secure a mirror without screws? ›

How to hang mirror on a wall without nails: Step by step
  1. Get your glue. ...
  2. Apply the glue to the back of the mirror. ...
  3. Put the mirror in place. ...
  4. When you're sure the mirror is straight, press it firmly into place.

Is JB Weld good for rear view mirror? ›

J-B Weld MirrorWeld is a specially formulated adhesive specifically designed to bond rear view mirrors to windshields. It can be used to install new mirrors, as well as re-attach existing mirrors that have fallen off.

Can you drive with a damaged side mirror? ›

So, if your state's traffic laws require that a car have one or two side-view mirrors, and one of your side mirrors is broken, you can be pulled over and ticketed. Fortunately, if it is just a matter of a broken side mirror, many states allow officers to issue "Fix-It" tickets.

What happens if you drive with a broken side mirror? ›

It is not illegal to drive with a single broken mirror, but you do need to be careful. The mirror needs to be secure to the vehicle so that it doesn't fall off. You also want to make sure that the glass is stable enough so you won't be leaving broken glass all over the place.

How long does it take to fix a side mirror? ›

Depending on the complexity of the repair process, it can take one to two hours for an experienced technician to replace the mirror. Sometimes the interior door panel has to be removed, and sometimes it does not.

Does Safelite reattach rear view mirror? ›

Will the technician attach it to the new windshield? Yes, our auto glass technicians will remove your rear view mirror and attach it to your new windshield.

Will Gorilla Glue work on car side mirror? ›

No, the classic Gorilla Glue is intended for wood, paper and such. It won't bond nonporous materials like glass. However, Gorilla makes a very good 5 minute two part epoxy that might do the job for you.

Can you use Gorilla Glue on side mirrors? ›

Gorilla glue or Loctite should work well. Loctite is used on airliners.

Are Mirrorballs broken? ›

A mirrorball is also an inherently fragile object — it is literally made out of fragmented pieces of glass.

What are the parts of a side mirror assembly? ›

Side mirror parts. the base (mirror assembly), mirror glass, cover and the turn signal (if equipped). For certain cars, the part might be available only as one complete piece. In some cases the cover is sold already painted, in others it comes black and might need to be painted separately.

What is the driver side mirror called? ›

A side-view mirror (or side mirror), also known as a wing mirror, is a mirror placed on the exterior of motor vehicles for the purposes of helping the driver see areas behind and to the sides of the vehicle, outside the driver's peripheral vision (in the "blind spot").

Can car side mirror be repaired? ›

Yes, if all the other parts are not damaged, the side view mirror glass can be replaced separately. It is important to order a glass using the VIN number, because the part number will be different for different model years and options (Blind Spot Monitor, Self-dimming, etc.).

Can you drive with a bad rear ball joint? ›

Can I Drive With a Bad Ball Joint? No. You should not drive with a bad ball joint. Continuing to drive can cause damage to other vehicle components and if the joint fails completely you could lose control of the vehicle, leading to a crash and injuries.

How do I stop my rear view mirror from rattling when I play sub? ›

anyways the only way to completely stop the vibration is to stop you windshield from vibrating. the mirror looks like its vibrating really bad because of the reflection distance in the mirror. place a nonreflecting surface over the mirror and it will look much more stable.

How much does it cost to fix rear ball joints? ›

Ball joints are an essential part of your car's suspension system, which affects your car's stability as you drive. The cost of replacing rear ball joints can range from $200 to $600, depending on what type of vehicle you drive.

Can a ball joint be over tightened? ›

A key part of a car's suspension system, the steering knuckle is susceptible to damage due to overtightening the ball joint or tie rod.

How much does it cost to replace ball joints on a truck? ›

How much will it cost to replace the ball joints on my vehicle? The average cost to have a ball joint (singular) replaced is $250 to $500. An alignment is also usually part of the job, and that will cost about $100. However, if the ball joints are worn down, not damaged, then you likely need a pair.

How much does it cost to fix a ball joint? ›

In general, ball joints are inexpensive with a range between $20 to $80 each. Labor will vary greatly by model. Some vehicles cost as low as $60 to $80. Yet others, especially four-wheel drive trucks, can range from $160 to $200 per ball joint.

What causes rear ball joints to go bad? ›

Ball joints deteriorate if dirt, grit and impurities get inside or grease escapes, leading to a lack of lubrication. Added to this, rusting and general wear and tear also damage these suspension parts. The effects of this deterioration are excessive play and looseness (beyond the manufacturer's specifications).

Why is my rear view mirror shaking while driving? ›

A: The rear-view mirror is picking up a very slight vibration in the car. That vibration could be coming from a wheel, tire, bearing or even the engine. Since the steering wheel is not vibrating, the issue is more than likely from the rear of the car.

Why is my car rumbling in the rear? ›

The most prevalent cause of vibration is problems with your wheels or tires. The potential problems include improper wheel and tire balance, uneven tire wear, separated tire tread, out of round tires, damaged wheels and even loose lug nuts.

How long does replacing ball joints take? ›

A ball joint replacement will typically take around one hour, but it can take less or more time depending on several factors.

What noise does a bad ball joint make? ›

Sound — Usually the first indication of worn or loose ball joints will be a faint, intermittent clunking noise that seems to be coming from a corner of your vehicle. The sound may be more pronounced when going over a bump or a dip or when going around a corner.

Is it worth replacing ball joints? ›

A loose or worn ball joint can be dangerous and should be replaced as soon as possible. Why? Because if a ball joint pulls apart or breaks, it will cause the suspension to collapse. That, in turn, could cause a loss of steering control similar to a tie rod end failing.


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