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Towing mirrors are helpful when pulling large trailers, whether you drive a small car like the Honda Accord or a bigger vehicle like the Ford F150 pickup.
The factory mirrors on your truck or car will work if you pull a small trailer that’s low to the ground and skinny in width, but they won’t be beneficial when towing something larger. On the other hand, suppose you’re pulling something more significant with a broader load bed. In that case, it is best to use something like extensions that clip onto your existing mirror to help with visibility on each side of your vehicle.
This article will discuss the different mirror options available, how they work, and the average price for each. We’ll also cover some of the additional towing accessories designed to make driving safer while towing. So let’s get started.
How They Work
A towing mirror is more prominent than your stock mirror and tends to stick out from half an inch to more than 10 inches, depending on what you need. The reason they are extended out further than your standard side mirrors is to help improve your line of sight on each side of what you’re pulling. When you pull a trailer, you want to see both sides of the road at all times so you can avoid hitting anything. Extensions allow you to see farther down the road and give you a better vision of other vehicles in your blind spots. As a result, it makes it easier to spot other cars passing you and helps prevent accidents.
Things to Consider
Before buying an extended mirror for towing, there are four things you should consider, which are listed below.
- Do you need to tow? If not, then your current mirrors will work just fine. However, if you plan on towing a trailer, you may need to look into purchasing a set of extended mirrors or aftermarket extensions. This way, you don’t have to worry about losing your view as you travel down the highway.
- Are the arms long enough? You want to find a model with a long enough reach to accommodate any trailer you might want to pull. You don’t want to buy a short-reach extension that only extends out a couple of inches because it won’t provide much benefit. Instead, you want to go with a longer extension that reaches up to 10 inches.
- How do they attach? You want to pay attention to the mounting method used. There are two main types: clips and brackets. Clips tend to be less expensive but often come off easily. Brackets are usually more durable, but they cost more money.
- How durable are they? You want to pay close attention to the quality of the product. While most manufacturers offer high-quality products, some are made cheaply and lack durability. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before spending your hard-earned cash.
The top name brands in the industry are listed below, and each has its unique advantages, so choose wisely based on your needs.
- ECCPP Towing
- FIT System
Types Of Towing Mirrors
There are many different universal towing mirrors available to fit most vehicle types. There’s fixed, extendable, foldaway, and attached. Below is a description of the vehicle side mirror options to help with your decision.
- Fixed Replacement Mirrors – These are the perfect replacements for anyone who consistently tows. You can also order factory towing mirrors when buying a new truck. However, ordering custom towing mirrors is the best option if you prefer the factory-finished appearance.
- Extendable Mirrors – These are great for those who don’t often tow because they are easy to store away when not used. These mirrors are also known as telescopic mirrors because they slide in and out to improve towing vision.
- Foldaway Towing Mirror – This type of mirror folds up into its pocket when not in use. It’s ideal for people who only tow occasionally and don’t need to extend their mirrors very far.
- Attached Mirror Extension – These are typically connected to the standard side mirrors and are generally inexpensive and easy to install.
Instead of replacing the original mirror, you also have the option to buy a snap-on mirror with a universal clip. If you only tow on rare occasions, snap-on mirrors are typically less expensive and a better choice than purchasing aftermarket replacement mirrors to improve your field of vision while towing.
- Easy to install
- Easy to remove when not in use
- Affordable for most budgets
- Clips can break over time and cause them to fall off or no longer be attached.
- It doesn’t keep the stock appearance of your vehicle.
Average Price: Most aftermarket attachments or attached mirror extensions have an affordable price that starts around $8 and goes up to roughly $175, depending on how it’s connected.
If you decide to replace the original mirrors instead of adding an attachment, you’ll have several affordable mirror options to consider when shopping for the perfect aftermarket mirrors. Of course, the first thing you should consider is whether you’d like to keep the stock look or change things up a bit. For example, you could purchase a set of chrome to replace the colored ones currently on your truck. Below are some benefits of towing mirrors broken down by pros and cons.
- May include heated mirrors for colder climates
- Keep the stock appearance of your vehicle
- Permanent towing mirrors
- More stylish than clip-on versions
- They’re permanent, so you can’t remove them when they’re not in use.
- More challenging to install than an adjustable clip-on towing mirror
- More expensive than an add-on type mirror
Average Price: Buying aftermarket replacements will cost a little more than attachments. Aftermarket replacements will start around $80 per side and top out about $300 per pair for the more custom-fit towing mirrors.
On top of aftermarket towing mirrors, towing accessories also help keep you and others around you safe while towing. Here are some of the most popular towing accessories and what they do.
- Rearview Camera – A rearview camera allows you to see behind your trailer without having to back out of the way. They’re handy when backing up trailers.
- Tow Hooks – To prevent damage to your hitch and bumper, you may want to invest in tow hooks. They allow you to hook onto your trailer without damaging your bumper or hitch.
- Hitch Lock – Hitch locks are designed to ensure your hitch doesn’t move during towing. In addition, they help prevent damage to your vehicle and trailer by preventing your hitch from moving forward or backward.
- Bumper Brackets – Bumper brackets attach to your bumper and hold your trailer securely in place while towing. They can be purchased separately or combined with other towing accessories.
Six Towing Safety Tips
- Be sure the load you’re hauling is within the limits of your vehicle.
- Make sure your trailer brakes work correctly.
- Check your trailer tires before every trip.
- Check that all trailer lights are working correctly.
- Never exceed the speed limit while towing.
- Be sure to check for correct visibility in all mirrors.
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- Does Law require them? The law varies between states, but it’s always a good idea to have them for added safety and visibility over the basic mirrors that come on your vehicle. Some states require them by law, and if this is the case where you live, you must install them before you start towing.
- How do I know what size to get? To determine which size to get, measure the distance from the center of the front bumper to the back edge of the rear window. Then add 2 inches to account for the width of the mirror itself.
- What about the mounting hardware? Most have some mounting hardware to quickly attach the mirror to your vehicle, but you may need tools to complete the installation.
- Do they work well? Yes. Designed to be mounted on vehicles while towing trailers, they help eliminate blind spots and help improve safety. Many customers online report that they’ve been using these mirrors for years without any problems.
- Can I mount them myself? Yes! You can usually find instructions on the packaging or online to guide you through the process. Just make sure to follow all the directions carefully.
- Where can I buy them? There are many online places. Be sure to buy from a reputable seller and read reviews to ensure quality.
- Towing mirrors help eliminate blind spots and improve visibility on each side of the trailer.
- Several different types are available, from manual mirrors that fold to powered and heated versions that are telescopic.
- The width of a towing mirror is more significant than your original mirror by half an inch to 10 inches.
- The average price for aftermarket attachments ranges from $8 to $175.
- The average cost for aftermarket replacements ranges from $80 per side and max out at $300 per pair.
If you want to improve your driving experience and increase your safety when towing, consider installing aftermarket extensions or an entire mirror assembly. They’re easy to install, affordable, and will give you more visibility and better protection. We hope this article was helpful in your search for information on which type of towing accessories to buy.
Shawn LongmoreShawn is the founder of Auto Glass Locator and enjoys providing articles related to automotive parts and services. His mission is to make it easy for everyone to find all the information they need in one spot. Each year he continues to help more people find great deals on auto glass and other automotive services.
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