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How Towing Mirrors Work

Choosing Towing Mirrors

After you safely hitch your trailer to your vehicle, it's time to evaluate if you need side towing mirrors. As mentioned before, if you cannot see the entire length of the trailer behind you, you should invest in towing mirrors. Many times, if your trailer is wider or taller than the vehicle hauling it, the trailer will block your line of sight and could be hazardous to operate.

Once you conclude that you need towing mirrors, there are a number of options to sift through, ranging from a couple dollars to a few hundred. The size of your trailer will determine the added mirror height and the length needed. Then, think about how often you tow in order to decide whether a permanent or a portable towing mirror would better serve your needs.

Portable mirrors are quick to install and attach to your vehicle in addition to your standard side mirrors. These are usually the best route for people who don't tow often since you can remove them when you aren't hauling.

Types of portable towing mirrors include:

  • Hot spot or convex mirrors: These small, convex mirrors have adhesive on the back that stick directly to your standard side mirrors. You can position these to reduce blind spots.
  • Custom slip-ons: These towing mirrors are custom-made for car makes, models and years. They attach by sliding over the existing mirrors and locking in place.
  • Universal fit: Instead of being tailored to specific types of cars, these mirrors can fit on any vehicle. Brands offer clip-on, fender mount and window mount varieties in assorted sizes. Certain ones may increase your drag and cause wear and tear on the car body if not properly mounted.

If you perform regular towing jobs, permanent towing mirrors may be the more convenient alternative. Permanent towing mirrors replace your standard side mirrors and require more intensive installation. In exchange for such bonus features, they generally cost more than portable ones.

Permanent options include features that you can use separately or combination, depending on your needs:

  • Telescopic trailer tow: The telescopic design enlarges the view of the end of the trailer.
  • LED mirrors: During installation, these towing mirrors are wired to light up with your braking and turn signals for added safety.
  • Heated mirrors: Often combined with LED features, heated towing mirrors can warm up to melt frost or ice.

Once you've determined the type of towing mirror you need, all that stands between you and the open road is installation. Head to the next page for tips on towing mirror installation.