Most cars today have electrically adjustable wing mirrors. One day, while I was trying to adjust the angle of one of them, it would not respond.
I sent my car to the workshop to have it checked out. At first, I though perhaps the motor was just “stuck” or a cable was loose.
However, as it turned out, my car’s wing mirror motor is no longer working.
But when I told my mechanic to replace the motor, he replied that he would have to change the entire mirror. Isn’t it more cost-effective to just replace the motor, instead of the whole mirror?
Or would replacing the entire mirror actually be less expensive?
Modern wing mirrors have motors as well as linkages for horizontal and vertical movements.
Sometimes, they have a built-in indicator light too. Although not common in Singapore, some mirrors also incorporate heaters.
To replace this whole assembly simply because the wing mirror motor no longer functions is indeed wasteful.
Assuming proper checks were carried out to determine that a faulty motor was responsible, replacing it would be the logical solution.
SAFETY TIP: HERE’S HOW TO ADJUST YOUR WING MIRRORS CORRECTLY
The reality is a bit more complicated.
Often, during manufacturing, the quickest and least expensive process is not sufficiently reversible.
What this means is that it may not be possible to disassemble a wing mirror easily.
Think of today’s wing mirror like a Swatch watch. Apart from replacing the battery, it is sealed and impossible to disassemble.
Most workshops will consider it uneconomical to disassemble a wing mirror to replace the wing mirror motor. More crucially, not many mechanics know how to do it.
And even if you manage to find one, the cost of replacing the wing mirror motor may be higher than replacing the entire mirror.
So, unless you can find a workshop which is able, there is really only one option available to you.