Vanity Mirror

March 28, 2017

A seldom considered part of any vehicle, the automotive vanity mirror rests on the upper side of the sun visor, or in the back of the headrest. They can be lighted, or not, or come with a protective cover, which is often used to retain notes, pictures, or anything else that fits in a car or truck vanity mirror cover. The lighted variety comes with a switch that turns the light on and off by closing the vanity mirror cover or raising the sun-visor back to the closed position, against the headliner.

vanity mirror

Vanity mirror / Image source

Symptoms of Wear or Failure of the Vanity Mirror

  • Car or Truck vanity mirror falls from sun visor: when the glue or mirror frame detaches from the sun-visor, the mirror is allowed to sag, and fall, requiring the mirror to be reconnected, or the sun-visor to be replaced. This happens most frequently on older vehicles, or when the sun-visor is slammed closed over time.

  • Lights for vanity mirror will not turn on: when the bulbs or on/off switch for the visor fail, the lights will not turn on, but may flash on and back off very quickly when the sun-visor or mirror cover are moved slowly through their full range of motion. This is most common for the driver vanity mirror, but the passenger-side vanity mirror can suffer from the same symptoms.

  • Vanity mirror lights on at all times: if the vanity mirror switch has failed, the lights can stay on well after the vehicle is shut off, and after the visor is closed. This is especially problematic because with the sun-visor closed, and against the car or truck headliner, the light for the vanity mirror is not readily noticeable, and it is possible for the vanity mirror light to drain the battery while the vehicle sits unoccupied. It is important to check that the light goes out when closing the mirror or visor.

Related Repair Advice for the Vanity Mirror

  • The most common cause of the vanity light mirror lighting to fail is simply the bulb. Many still use incandescent bulbs, which are much like old brake lights, and these tend to fail more often than modern LED bulbs.

  • If the switch for the vanity mirror lighting fails, it may be necessary to replace the entire sun-visor, as parts for the switch may not be accessible or serviceable.

  • The mirror may be sold as an assembly for some models, but generally speaking, if the mirror falls out, it can be re-installed with the factory adhesive.

  • Avoid installing extremely bright lights, or odd colors in the car vanity mirror lighting socket, as these cause visibility concerns while driving. Additionally, it is not advised to use the mirror while driving. 

About the Author

Kimberlea Buczeke is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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