It’s happened to a lot of us, driving along and you realize that you need to adjust your rear-view mirror. You reach up to tweak the position of the mirror, and “pop,” you suddenly have a mirror in your hand. While you might think this requires taking your car into the mechanic, you really don’t have to since this is a great way to perform DIY maintenance!
Once a rear-view miror comes off, reattaching it is not as difficult as it looks, but you’re going to require some special items. Fortunately, everything you need to reattached it comes prepackaged in a kit that you can buy. For the most part, rear-view mirrors stay in position for years using the liquid resin adhesive from the factory. There are a few types of kits available, including liquid resin, adhesive patch, and silicone, but some professionals have reservations with both the adhesive patch and silicone methods since the results don’t often last long.
Depending on which method you go with, general instructions should be supplied with the kit. In this article, the liquid resin method explained.
How to Reattach a Rear-View Mirror Using the Liquid Resin Method
1. Prepare your tools
Make sure you have everything you need, including:
- rear-view mirror kit
- razor windshield scraper,
- grease pencil or permanent marker
- glass cleaner and paper towels
- rubbing alcohol
- screwdriver to attach your mirror to the button
Most kits come with a new button, the metal piece that gets glued to the glass, as the old button can be difficult to clean properly.
2. Remove the old button
The old button will typically be held in the back of the rear-view mirror by a screw or a retainer clip. Use the correct screwdriver to unscrew or pry back the retainer so that you can remove the button.
3. Remove the old adhesive and debris
Use the razor windshield scraper to clean off the old adhesive and remove any dirt. Then, use glass cleaner and paper towels to clean everything within a foot of the button-mounting area. Use the alcohol to clean the button and the glass within a couple inches of the button-mounting area and let it dry. Make sure you clean the correct side of the button.
4. Mark the outside of the windshield
Clean the outside of the windshield in the area opposite the old button location. Then, use the marker or grease pencil to outline where the old button was. Pay special attention to the orientation, as the button has a flat bottom, angled sides, and rounded top. Drawing these on the outside of the glass will help you position the new button properly.
If the glass is chipped where the old button came off, move the outline to the left or right slightly to give a perfectly flat surface for the new button to adhere to.
5. Apply the activator
The resin adhesive consists of two parts, an activator and the resin. The activator is a thin liquid, usually in a felt-tipped applicator. Break open the interior vial to release the activator and apply it to the outlined area inside the windshield as well as the button. Let the activator dry for five minutes.
6. Apply the resin
Break open the resin and apply no more than two drops to the face of the button. Do not touch the resin, but immediately position the button on the outlined area of the windshield. Hold the button in place for a minute to allow the resin to spread and pre-cure. After a minute, you can let go of the button, and let the button cure for at least an hour. Use glass cleaner to clean the marked outline on the outside of the glass.
7. Install the Mirror
After an hour of curing, you can mount the rear-view mirror to the newly-installed button. Clip-type mirrors will simply click into place, while the screw-type mirrors will slide on and then need a screwdriver to torque the screw. Do not attempt to overtighten the screw, as you can possibly break off the button and you’ll have to start over with a new kit.
You Have Reattached Your Rear-View Mirror
Really, all is not lost if your rear-view mirror falls off. All you need is the proper materials and a little bit of patience. Follow the instructions in ths article and in your rear-view mirror kit, you can easily make this repair on your own saving you money. Only make sure you confirm the orientation of the button, both front and back, top and bottom, as the mirror can only be installed one way. If you install an aftermarket mirror, the button may not be the same, so the new button can be installed to the left or right of the old one, with about 2 cm between.
You can watch a video on how to reattach your rear-view mirror below: