Side mirrors

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Side mirrors are absent from most high efficiency concept vehicles for a reason: they increase both frontal area and the drag coeffecient (Cd or CoD). They are present on most production cars for a very good reason as well.

Many jurisdictions do not require a passenger side mirror, so that is most often the one deleted. This may be conditional however, for instance on whether or not you have a rear view mirror (California).

Some will replace the outside mirrors with smaller mirrors, or more aerodynamically shaped mirrors from similar models or aftermarket manufacturers. Others replace the outside mirror with convex, in-car mirrors or wider rear view mirrors. Cameras and LCD screens are a favourite of the concept car circuit, though they can be a somewhat costly option and they may not be a legal alternative in your locale.

Instructions for mod

File:Mirror nuts.jpg Find the bolts holding on the mirror (most cars this is from the cabin).

Remove the bolts (or nuts) And any wires going to the mirror. Then pull off the mirror. Now you need to make a cover to go over the holes. This can be done by putting bondo over the area, making a metal cover, taping over the holes, making a colorplast over, or other ways as you see fit. The idea is to make a smooth transition from the A piller to the window.

For a more detailed "how to" see each users links in the table below.

User experiences

Please enter your user name and any relevant data in the table

User data
User Name Car Make, Model, Year Cost of Mod Time to Perform Mod MPG Before Mod MPG After Mod MPG improvement Instruction Link
Weather Spotter Toyota, Matrix, 2006 $4
(inside mirror & paint)
4 Hours 43.31 44.99 3.72% (ABA) HOW TO Page
MetroMPG Ponteac Firefly 55.145 56.51 2.47% Removed passerger mirror hole covered, driver side mirror folded back
Side mirror drag & effect on fuel economy - quantified
Peakster Geo Metro 1997 36.15 36.96 2.21% Video: Ditching the Side Mirrors Increases Fuel Economy
Soulster Kia, Soul, 2010 $0 30 min With the mirror removed but holes open ABA testing showed a 1.1% increase. Soulster's side mirror removal saga
Saand Mazda, 626, 1991 $0 2 Hours
Big Dave 00 F-350 XLT 26.32 MPG 26.99 MPG 2.5% ( or .66 MPG) ABA testing.
Mod is swapping OEM telescoping trailer-towing mirrors for smaller OEM paddle mirrors
[Tested: Pickup Truck Mirrors]
cons 04 Ranger $0 1 min 30 MPG 31 MPG 3.23% (1 MPG) tank to tank testing.
Mod is folding in mirror

Problems / Consequences of mod

- Difficulty seeing, creation of blindspots.

- Possible legal implications, In Australia only a single rear vision mirror is required. Most places in the US require two, with one on the drivers side door.

- Extra noise if covers over holes are not perfect.


Forum thread links

Interior side view mirrors

Weather Spotter's How to and data thread

Prius aero mods (under trays, grille block, mirror delete...)

Peakster's video test of mirror removal

Soul Help (Side mirror)

Mirror Laws by state (U.S.A)

Mirror Laws by Province (Canada)

External links

Reflections on side mirrors: testing drag vs. MPG

Flow Field Features and Aerodynamic Drag of Passenger Car <<< Page 28, External mirrors