Having mirrors in your car is a necessity that helps you drive safely. They allow you to observe what is happening around you and see what is near your car, especially from the back side while driving. Each mirror has a certain function in a vehicle.
However, driving with a loose rearview mirror can be frustrating because it keeps tilting, and you can’t see the rear side precisely. This is a common problem, mainly if the car is often used by different persons of various heights due to frequent adjustments and wear on ball joints. It could also occur if you regularly drive on uneven terrains. Let’s explore how you can fix this kind of problem in your car.
What is a Meant by Rear View Mirror?
A rearview mirror is an adjustable mirror located inside a car’s cabin on the top center of the windshield. It enables the driver to see the road, vehicles, and objects behind when driving. Due to recent technological advancements, most new car models have a rearview mirror integrated with a camera. Therefore, through a click of a button, a driver can view the virtual reflection of the rearward of the car—the mirror functions as the monitor.
Note: some rear view mirrors are secured with screws to the roof, while others are glued to the windshield.
How to Fix a Loose Rear View Mirror Ball Joint
There are several ways to fix loose rearview mirror ball joints. For instance, an easy way is to tighten screws underneath and on the mirror to make the ball joint steady. It all depends on your type of mirror and car. Additionally, you could also use DIY methods to fix this problem.
Tighten the screw underneath the rearview mirror
If your car has a fixed mirror stand, you may consider tightening the screw underneath the mirror (near the mirror’s flip tab). Usually, the ball joint is directly attached to the mirror.
All you need is a screwdriver (often Philip’s head screwdriver or hex screw) to tighten the mirror into position. Once you’ve secured the screws’ location, turn your screwdriver to the right to ensure it’s tight enough.
You can now give your rearview mirror a little shake to ensure it’s no longer loose.
Tighten the screw inside the base of the roof
Suppose the above solution didn’t work; you should go further and tighten a screw where the ball joint connects at the base of the roof.
Start by removing the plastic shrouds to access the screw. They’re usually two pieces of plastic; you can use a screwdriver to pry them apart. However, you don’t have to drive in all your screwdriver to avoid damaging other components. Usually, when one piece of the plastic cover comes out, you easily remove the other piece using your hand.
Now tighten the little screw using a screwdriver near the ball joint, and you’ll be okay. You’ll notice your rearview mirror is now steady and strong.
Note: if you didn’t find any screws after pulling out the plastic covers, you might find them on the inner side of the mirror, as explained in the next solution.
Tighten the screw on the mirror.
If all of the above techniques have not solved the issue of loose ball joints on your rearview mirror, you’ll have to open the mirror itself to access other screws on it. However, you must be careful not to crack the mirror.
After tightening the screws, your rearview mirror should be more firm. You should then put back together all the pieces of your rearview mirror.
Install a new ball mount
If your ball joint is worn out, you may consider replacing the ball mount with a new one.
Start by removing the current rearview mirror from its mounting location. It will enable you to take off the mounting hardware and install the new one. Use mirror clips to hold the rearview mirror onto the ball mount. You can then reattach the rearview mirror to the new ball mount.
DIY Fix for Loose Rear View Mirror Ball Joints
The DIY fixing solution is relatively inexpensive and straightforward.
Start by removing the rearview mirror-pull it towards you. You shouldn’t use much force if it’s already loose.
Since the ball joint and the hole on the rearview mirror don’t fit well, you’ll need an additional layer to make it tighter. You can use thin plastic, notepad paper, insulation tape, or nylon gloves and wrap them on the ball receiver. However, ensure whatever material you’re using is enough to fit and is not visible.
Then put back the rearview mirror into the ball joint. Your mirror should now be more firm yet easy to adjust.
Note: This method is not a permanent solution. Whatever material you use to add a layer will gradually wear out, and the rearview mirror will be loose again. However, you can always repeat the same process over and over again. Alternatively, you can opt to replace the ball joint.
It’s risky to drive a car with a loose rearview mirror since you don’t get to know what is happening in the rear of your car. It’s such an essential part of any vehicle.
More importantly, fixing a loose ball joint of the rearview mirror is quite simple, requires basic tools such as a screwdriver, and takes a few minutes of your time. Additionally, you can use a DIY technique to fix a loose rearview mirror ball joint.
However, if you don’t know how to do it, refer to your car owner’s manual or let a professional mechanic fix the problem.