Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to Replace a Broken Side View Mirror on a Mini Cooper

Last weekend some incompetent and unscrupulous driver smashed the driver side side view mirror clean off my 2002 Mini Cooper as it was parked outside my home.  I took it in the next day to my local mini dealer (Mini of Mountain View), who informed me that it would cost OVER $800 to replace.  I was horrified!  How in the world could it be so costly to replace a side view mirror?  The answer is that its is not.  It will take you 10-20 minutes and will cost you about $90 (including tax and shipping).

Its worth noting here as well that I am a complete novice when it comes to anything even remotely related to car repair.

If you are lucky all you will need is a set of allen wrenches and a new mirror e.g. here via amazon.

1 - Unscrew the three screws to remove the half of your old mirror that is still most likely attached to your car.
2 - Remove the old have of the mirror saving the rubber seal at the base.
3 - Take the rubber seal and place it on the base of your new mirror.
4 - Fish out the connecting wires from door.  I was able to do this with my fingers.  If it has fallen to far down into the door you may need to remove the interior door panel (which is also really easy).
Connect the wires by just plugging them in together.  Note that at the bottom of the mirror there is little plastic tab type thing that the connector butts up against.  This should be positioned towards the inside of the door keeping the wires all on the outside.  If you have it positioned the wrong way it will rub up against the window gears and your window won't work.

6 - Rotate the mirror to one side, drop in the screws and tighten.
7 - Rotate the mirror to the other side drop in the screws and tighten.  Note that unless you have fancier allen wrenches than I did, you won't be able to tighten both sides with the mirror in a single rotation.  You need to swing the mirror one way for one side and then to the other for the other side.
8 - Yippy you've just saved $700!

Now if you couldn't get to the wires, or the wires were actually broken below the connector you'll need to take off the door panel which is also really easy.  Just follow this video.

As you can see in one of the above images I took off my door panel as on of the first because the guy at the mini dealer said I would have to.  This wasn't actually true.

Also worth noting is that some of the mirrors come with a gray matt finish (mine did).  If you get one of these you will likely either need to paint the cover yourself or buy a cover that matches the other side.

And as a final note.  If you happen to own a Mini in the South Bay don't waste your money at Mini of Mountain View.  These guys REALLY suck.  Even with an appointment they can't get a routine inspection done in a day.  They don't get their work done on time and the work that they do of poor quality.  I had them fix my air conditioner which cost $900 and broke again in 14 months (which they wouldn't even LOOK at with out charging me $250).  When they changed my oil they stripped the treads off the oil cap such that it had to be replaced for $300.  They are overpriced, slow, and poor quality.  If you want a dealer to work on your Mini it's worth the trip up to the San Francisco Mini Dealer.  They aren't much cheaper but at least they get the job done without causing additional damage in the time they say they will.