The rear view mirror in my car fell off the windshield while I was driving around town this morning. I was a little surprised to discover that all that it had been holding it up was a spot of clear glue. Rather than pay a mechanic $75 to fix the silly thing, I thought I’d do it myself.
My first mistake was trying to refasten the mirror to the window using super glue. It just wouldn’t bond, leading me to try Gorilla Glue as well which also wouldn’t work. The problem was that the weight of the mirror kept torcing the base off the windshield. It wasn’t until I bought a tube of automotive windshield glue at my local Schuck’s store that I realized what I had been doing wrong.
Most rear view window assemblies are a three piece device. There’s the mirror itself, a ball & socket arm that supports the mirror, and a base assembly. Beneath the base is a flat metal disc. It’s this disc that attaches to the windshield and is supposed to be removed BEFORE attempting to glue the mirror back in place. If you try to glue the rear view assembly directly to the window like I was doing, the setting glue just can’t support the weight. What you’ll discover instead is that the Gorilla Glue will seep into the cracks of the base assembly, making it impossible to remove that metal disc. When this happens, you will have to purchase a whole new rear window assembly.
The right way to fix a detached rear view mirror is as follows:
1. Slide the metal disc off the base of the rear view mirror assemble. For newer models of cars the metal plate may have to be removed with a properly sized Allen wrench. These are L shaped wrenches that are designed to remove hex head screws and can be purchased at any hardware store. While there you should also pick up a razor blade scraper and some masking tape.
2. Head to your local Schuck’s or other automotive store and purchase a rear view mirror adhesive kit for around $3. This super strong adhesive is a two part system that comes with a tube of glue and a vial of accelerant.
3. From the outside of the car, use masking tape to mark the area where the old glue adhesive still remains.
4. From the inside, scrape off whatever is left of the glue residual.
5. Since this glue only works in temperatures of 60 or above, you will have to make special provisions when the weather is cold. The car should be placed in a warmed garage or facing the sunlight. A blow dryer can also be used to heat up the windshield, although don’t hold it too close to avoid cracking the glass.
6. Once the glue has been scraped off the windshield, wipe down the area with rubbing alcohol. The metal plate should also be wiped down with alcohol.
7. Apply the accelerant directly to the mounting area on the windshield. Allow to let dry 5 minutes. In the meantime, apply the accelerant to the flat part of the base plate as well and let dry.
8. Slather on the adhesive on the back of base plate and press it onto the glass. Hold in place for about 2 minutes until the glue begins to set up. Let the glue dry overnight before reattaching the rear view mirror.