Can You Drive With a Broken Side Mirror?

Depending on what state you live in, driving with a broken side mirror could get you into trouble—both on the road and with the law.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Kaitlin May
It’s not safe to drive with a broken side mirror for too long, and it might even be illegal in some states.
A broken side mirror means you’ve always got to keep one eye over your shoulder instead of on the road. Not only does it affect your ability to see the traffic around you, but you could find yourself in trouble with the law. In this article, our
car repair
experts are covering all you need to know about driving with a broken side mirror, possible fixes, and the best
car insurance
so you can put this in your rearview mirror! 

Is it safe to drive with a broken side mirror?

No. Driving with a broken side mirror compromises your ability to keep track of traffic and to make safe turns, lane changes, and parking maneuvers. If you aren’t fazed by the thought of accidentally backing into a tree, consider the consequences of hitting a pedestrian because you couldn’t see the bike lane. Not to mention—
your insurance will go up after an accident

Is it illegal to drive with a broken side mirror?

In most states, driving with a broken side mirror isn’t illegal. As long as you have at least one working rearview mirror and one working side mirror inside the vehicle, you’ll avoid a ticket. In some places, however, the left-hand side mirror is mandatory.
It might be legal, but we wouldn’t recommend that you rely on this setup for too long. If you get into a car accident, a claims adjuster could find you at fault for failing to fix your car mirror, regardless of whether it’s technically illegal or not.
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How to fix a broken side mirror

It’s easy to
fix a car mirror that popped out
of the housing on the side. Simply tuck any wires back into place and push the plane of glass back in with your fingertips using steady pressure, but don’t force it. 
If the mirror doesn’t fit, is severely damaged, or the electrical components (like the turn signals, heating, or power adjustments) don’t work anymore, it’s time to visit the dealership. Tape the mirror into place for the time being and never cut any loose wires! The mechanic will remove the inner door panel, separate the wiring from the broken part(s), and replace them. Once that’s done, they’ll rewire the electronics and buff out or repaint any scratches.  

How much does a broken side mirror replacement cost?

Replacing a broken side mirror will cost between $140 and $300, depending on whether you require new housing, wiring, or both. The bill will be even higher if you’re driving a luxury make and model. Are the mirrors heated? Are they power-adjustable? Does the housing contain a turn signal? All of these extra features cost more to fix.

Will my car insurance fix a broken side mirror?

Whether or not your car insurance will fix a broken side mirror depends on how it was damaged in the first place. 
If you have
full-coverage car insurance
—including both
coverage—your repairs will probably be reimbursed (minus any deductibles). Collision coverage pays for repairs related to impacts with other cars and stationary objects, even if it was your fault. Meanwhile, comprehensive coverage only applies if your mirror was broken in a weather or crime-related incident
We know hindsight is 20/20, but where car insurance is concerned, it pays to look ahead!
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