How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing Mirror Control Switch?

Article by Christian A., on August 8, 2018

Perhaps one of the less noticed yet still important elements in the field of vehicle safety is the mirror. There are many types of mirrors used in vehicles like side mirrors and rear-view mirror. The side mirrors, in particular, reflect the back of the car on either side, allowing you to spot how far or near an approaching vehicle is. Side mirrors also give drivers the ability to park their cars better.

To fully optimize the safety element brought by the side mirrors, they to be installed correctly and adjusted properly for them to they deliver a clear line of sight to the rear and sides of the car. Of course, the driver has to adjust them without leaving his or her seat, which means a nearby seat is a must. To adjust either the right or left side mirror, the driver has to access the mirror control switch. Usually typically located on the left-hand side of the dashboard or on the driver's side door, the mirror control switch is made up of a number of selector and adjustment switches. To select which side mirror to adjust, the driver has to access the selector switch. Then, to adjust the position of the mirror – up or down, left or right – for the most ideal alignment of sight, the driver needs to use a knob or directional switch. A slave switch, on the other hand, is also found on the passenger side.

The side mirrors are moved by motors installed in the housings. The power and electrical ground to each of the mirror motors are controlled by the mirror control switches. Once the mirror control switch fails or breaks, you won't be able to adjust the side mirrors to their perfect alignment. If the driver doesn’t have a clear line of sight to the rear and sides of the car, safety is already compromised and the possibility of getting into an accident has become higher.

When the mirror control switch is failing, it exhibits a number of signs. Once your mirror control switch show these signs, perhaps it is time to have it fixed or even replaced.

First, if the side mirrors don’t adjust, then the switch might be or might not be having some problems. For instance, if the mirrors don’t adjust, the driver might accidentally bump the switch with his or her arm. Once bumped, the system’s neutral setting would disable or lock out the switch. But if it the switch is not on neutral and the mirrors still don’t adjust, this indicates that a circuit might be broken and the power can’t flow from the switch to the side mirrors.

Second, if the side mirrors can adjust up or down, but not left or right, there might an electrical malfunction inside the switch. There might also be a problem between the switch and the electrical relay.

Third, if the side mirrors can adjust left or right, but not up or down, then the problem could be wire or connection issues external to the switch. A faulty circuit inside switch could be caused by corrosion.

Fourth, if the side mirrors adjust from the master switch but not from the slave switch, there could be a number of problems. For instance, the slave switch might have no power or could be faulty. Likewise, the circuits between the master and slave switches might be having some issues. Of course, the mirror lockout switch might be in the neutral position.

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