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Can I repair the passenger's side mirror myself?
March 11, 2010 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Help me repair my passenger's side mirror. I have a 1998 Plymouth Breeze. (I know you're jealous of my awesome car, but I need help!!)

Sideswiped the supermarket cart absentmindedly, sandwiched it between me and the SUV next to me and cracked the housing off. The WHOLE assembly and actual mirror are in tact. It looks like I could glue the whole thing back on. There is a 1 inch triangle of plastic obviously broken off, then what looks like a hole from which it appears a screw head was ripped, and plastic looks stretched and mangled.

It looks like I could glue the whole thing back on, but really...I'm a girl and I don't understand cars at all...even stuff like this.

How can I repair it? I'm really pretty mechanically inclined, but anything I can think of ultimately involves duct tape. I'll have to pass inspection in two months too.

Thanks for your help!
posted by littleflowers to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
 
Similar thing happened to me, except the whole thing broke off and I had to buy a new one. You have two options.

1) Buy a replacement side view mirror and have a mechanic install it. You can save hundreds by buying it USED. I googled "used car parts" and found plenty of places that offered a new side view mirror for around $90+ depending on how expensive it actually is (brand new would have cost me $400). A lot of these places you have to call and ask if they have the same model, color as your car. Installation at your local mechanic cost me $50. I would probably use yelp.com to find a good local mechanic. Don't go to a brand name, they always overcharge.

2) There's nothing to be ashamed about trying to glue that thing together. Although you'll want to buy some super strong glue. NOT crazy glue, you need the industrial heavy duty kind stuff.
posted by Wanderer7 at 7:32 PM on March 11, 2010


JB Weld or any 2-part epoxy would be a good place to start, but a whole new assembly won't cost much. See ebay.
posted by paanta at 7:43 PM on March 11, 2010


Please believe me when I tell you that gluing it will probably not work long-term, and may only make you insane with frustration. The sideview mirror on my '96 Accord was knocked off once, and the problem was that the break was such that no adhesive on Earth would hold it for more than, say, a day or two if I was lucky. YMMV.

Taping it is even worse than gluing--I never found any tape whose adhesive didn't fail in some way.

Short term solution--depending on how it's broken, you can probably get by for a few days if you glue it back on with the kind of fast-acting epoxy you get at the hardware store. Follow the directions on the package. But count on it breaking. Count on it breaking at the worst possible moment. (Ask me how I know!)

In the end I bought the part from eBay and installed it myself. (Not difficult at all, but I don't know anything about Plymouths.) If you don't feel like you could replace it yourself, you could always take it to a mechanic. Labor costs shouldn't be exorbitant, as it's a pretty quick repair.
posted by corey flood at 7:46 PM on March 11, 2010


Some jackass (I think it was the one with the F-350 truck) one of my cars while it was parked in my apartment's parking lot and knocked the entire mirror assembly off once. It was hanging on by the wires for the power actuator. I was lazy, so I took it to the dealer. It cost $250 in parts and labor to get it repaired.

Just a few months ago, some jackass prankster thought it would be fun to make off with my mirror glass and mount. That'll be about $100 in parts to fix it. :(
posted by wierdo at 8:00 PM on March 11, 2010


Someone mentioned JB Weld; it's fierce. Seems like there's no loss in having a go (with some duct tape to hold it in place while it dries).
posted by ambient2 at 8:27 PM on March 11, 2010


The whole assembly is completely in tact, and fortunately not a power mirror.
posted by littleflowers at 1:37 AM on March 12, 2010


Your first step should be to figure out what replacement part(s), in good condition, would cost. If they aren't prohibitively expensive then you should buy the parts and attach them to the car the way they're designed to be attached.

If after checking multiple sources (prices may vary widely) you find out that Plymouth Breeze mirrors cost as much as whole Plymouth Breezes, then go the 2-part epoxy (JB Weld being a good one) route. It's not clear exactly where the break is or how much weight the repaired joint will have to support, but generally you should:

1) wait for a dry, warmish day.
2) carefully clean the mating surfaces.
3) if the mating surfaces are slick and smooth, lightly abrade them with sandpaper.
4) mask nearby areas of the door / mirror with masking tape to protect from excess glue .
5) thoroughly mix more epoxy than you think you need, with something like a popsicle stick, on something like a piece of scrap cardboard.
6) apply glue generously to both mating surfaces, smoosh them together (glue should squeeze out from the joint) and hold the parts in position with more masking tape.
7) leave overnight. Do not drive the car or remove the tape until the next day.
posted by jon1270 at 2:34 AM on March 12, 2010


Please believe me when I tell you that gluing it will probably not work long-term, and may only make you insane with frustration. The sideview mirror on my '96 Accord was knocked off once, and the problem was that the break was such that no adhesive on Earth would hold it for more than, say, a day or two if I was lucky. YMMV.

My mileage varied (on a '94 Accord, no less!). Some good epoxy, secured by a lot of duct tape wrapped around where the assembly separated, held the mirror on for about a year -- until I knocked it off with a surfboard. Eventually I just got it replaced at the dealership.

That was a power mirror, too! You can totally get away with it.
posted by zvs at 12:57 PM on March 12, 2010


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