Your Volkswagen’s side mirrors are kind of important as far as safety is concerned. The trouble is, the location of the mirrors makes them vulnerable to damage from garage door frames, passing traffic, car washes, and of course road debris.
The good news is that replacing a side mirror is fairly straightforward. You just need a replacement mirror (OEM only of course), a few tools, and some time.
- Masking tape – blue painter’s tape is the best
- Spray can of matching automotive paint or black
- Extra door clips
- Standard screwdriver
- Standard sockets
- Door trim removal tool – to detach door trim clips
- Crank handle removal tool for crank windows
Your replacement mirror is probably unpainted, so you will need to either paint it to match your vehicle or paint it black. The paint code for your Volkswagen is on the inside lip of the driver’s door. You may be able to buy the paint from an automotive parts store or the local Volkswagen dealership.
NOTE: You can often have unpainted parts painted to match your vehicle very affordably at your local body shop, especially if you’re flexible in terms of delivery date. Before you settle for black side mirrors, call a few shops and get some quotes.
Take your masking tape and tape up the mirror. Make sure that you cover the glass and any signal lens on the mirror. Trim the tape edges in order to get them to line up, or you may end up with overspray or gaps.
Hang the mirror in a place where you can get around it, and rapidly shoot the paint in an even, thin coat. Too much paint and you will get runs. Let the paint dry thoroughly before you shoot another coat. When you move quickly, you get rid of the possibility of the edges of the paint drying before you can get back around to it.
Remove the Old Mirror
Start by taking the old mirror of your Volkswagen.
- Remove the door trim panel by taking off the screws and clips. There may be screws hidden in the door handle recess or under the handle. There may also be small caps covering the ends of the screws. Pry them up.
- If you have a separate trim piece that covers the mirror mounts, remove that now. It should screw into place.
- Pop off the Volkswagen door panel by removing screws and clips. You may need to use the trim tool to get between the trim and the door in order to pop the clips free.
- After you get the door panel loose, you should be able to see the wiring that goes to the mirror. You should not need to disconnect any of the other power equipment wires.
- Unscrew the mirror from the outside of your Volkswagen. Hold on to it, so it does not fall and break.
- While holding the mirror, disconnect the wiring. Do not let the disconnected wiring slip back into the door. You may want to tie it up and weight it down.
Replacing the Mirror
- Reconnect the mirror’s wiring, and put it back into place.
- Put the new mirror in the proper position. If you need to mount the base flange under the rubber window seal make sure you do that or risk leaks around the window. Screw the mirror in place.
- Turn the car on and test the mirror to ensure that it’s working. If it doesn’t, make sure your connections are tight and fully connected.
- Check the door clips and replace any broken ones before you put the door panel back on
- Place the door panel back on, put the mirror trim cover back in place and use your fist or a rubber mallet to gently pound the clips back into place. Put all the screws back on and replace any screw caps.
You can replace your Volkswagen mirror in no time, and if you run into trouble, you can always contact your local dealership for assistance. Remember to paint your mirror before you mount it, as it is too difficult to get a good paint job when you have to worry about not getting paint on the rest of your car.