Rearview mirror

Angie's How To Reattach a Rearview Mirror

Date Published: Dec. 4, 2015

Time: 30 Minutes

Rearview mirrors are glued pretty snug to your windshield, but that doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally fall off.

Rearview mirrors can come off for a number of reasons, including a crash, accidental impact like bumping with your head, jerking it too hard while adjusting, as well as sun exposure and constant vibration that causes the adhesive to wear down.

“Most of the modern windshields (are designed to) prevent sun exposure [to the adhesive],” says Mike Delaney, owner of Patriot Auto Glass in Ashburn, Virginia. “But age and heat can still play a role.”

If your car’s mirror does fall off, it’s important to have it replaced as soon as possible, as your car’s rear visibility will be significantly reduced.

Fortunately, you can reinstall a rearview mirror on your own in just a few short steps. It's simple enough to do and DIY kits are available at any auto parts store. Many auto glass technicians also will reinstall them for a fee.

Follow these steps if you’re reattaching your car’s rearview mirror.

MORE: Auto Windshields & Glass

Tools & Materials Needed 
DIY rearview mirror reattachment kit
Window cleaner
Razor blade
Hair dryer (optional)
1Remove the mounting button from the rearview mirror

The mounting button on your rearview mirror is what attaches to your windshield. It’s typically removed from the mirror assembly by either sliding it off or screwing it off from the mirror’s arm.

2Apply heat to the windshield

Brian Daniels, owner of Glen Allen Glass & Mirror in Ashland, Virginia, says it’s important to make sure the windshield is warm before the glue is activated. A cold windshield can cause condensation, which can prevent the glue from sticking to the glass. “If there’s moisture and you try and apply the glue to the surface, it won’t stick, period,” he says. Daniels uses a hair dryer to warm up the windshield.

3Clean the windshield and remove old adhesive

Before you install the mirror, make sure the surface of the glass is squeaky clean. If there’s any remaining glue on the windshield or the mounting button, try to remove it with a razor blade. Once the glue is gone, use a glass cleaner or cleaning alcohol to clean the inside of your windshield and the backside of the bracket that will stick to the windshield. Daniels says to make sure your fingers don’t touch the windshield to avoid any oils from getting on the glass.

4Make your mark

If you have an older vehicle, use tape on the outside of your windshield to show exactly where you want the bracket to go on the inside. Delaney says many newer vehicles come with a black band on the outside that shows where the bracket should go.

5Apply an activator

After that, use an activator spray on both surfaces — the inside of your windshield where the bracket will go and on the backside of the bracket itself. Let the activator dry for a few minutes.

6Place glue on the mounting button

Daniels says you should place the glue on the bracket, sometimes called the button, but not on the windshield. Firmly push the button onto the windshield and apply pressure for 60 seconds. Make sure that you applied the adhesive to the right side of the bracket.

7Attach the mirror to the bracket

Delaney recommends waiting five minutes for the bracket to fully adhere to the windshield before connecting the mirror to the bracket. Attach the mirror to the mounting bracket per the manufacturer's instructions.

8Final thoughts

DIY kits often are sold for less than $10 at any auto parts store. Daniels says it’s important to be careful when using the kits because one mistake means you’ll likely have to buy another one. Daniels says he charges about $20 to reinstall a rearview mirror. Delaney says he typically charges $25 to $50.