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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

31 Models Considered
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408 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best custom towing mirrors

Last Updated July 2020

When you’re driving around town in your car or truck, you usually have three mirrors to help you see what’s behind you: a rearview mirror inside the car and two side-view mirrors on either side of the vehicle. Normally, that’s all you need. When you’re towing a trailer, though, everything changes.

Trailers are almost always wider than their towing vehicles, which means the trailer will block both side-view mirrors. Also, since the trailer is directly behind you, it will often completely block the rearview mirror. This leaves you totally blind behind you and on both sides all the way up to the front seat. It’s a dangerous situation — unless you get yourself a set of custom towing mirrors.

These specialized mirrors extend farther from the side of your vehicle to provide a view along the sides of the trailer and behind it. The mirrors need to be custom-fitted to your existing mirrors, meet legal standards, and easily attach to your vehicles. There are multiple options, variations, and factors to consider. Read through this buying guide to analyze the merits of various custom towing mirrors and find a set that’s right for you.

Be careful navigating the fast food drive through when towing mirrors are installed on your vehicle. They stick out farther than you’re used to and can be knocked off or cause damage to the restaurant or bank window.

Key considerations

Mirror size

Step one is to determine what size custom towing mirror you need in order to be safe and legal. While each state has different laws and regulations, all of them agree on certain basics that are dictated by the width of the trailer you’re towing and it’s length.

  • Trailer width: Whatever the width of your trailer, the side mirrors need to extend out far enough so that when they’re properly adjusted, the driver can see the entire length of each side of the trailer. To ensure you can see the side of the trailer, each side mirror needs to extend past the side of the trailer. For example, if the trailer you’re towing is eight feet wide, the distance between the outside edge of the two side mirrors needs to exceed eight feet.
  • Trailer length: The longer the trailer you’re pulling, the more difficult it will be to see anything directly behind you. Ideally, you should be able to see anything within one car length of the trailer’s rear bumper. Even the best towing mirrors sometimes fall short of that ideal, but it’s the goal you should aim for. The longer the trailer, the further out the side mirrors will have to extend in order to give you that view behind.

Permanent vs. temporary

Some of the custom towing mirrors are temporary. In other words, they can be put on and taken off without any tools in a matter of minutes. Other mirrors, however, are designed to be permanent replacements for your existing side mirrors.

Are you going to be towing a trailer because you’re moving or hauling short-term? In that case, temporary custom towing mirrors will suit your needs. But if you’re hooking up a travel trailer to tour the country, you’ll probably want something a little more permanent.

Universal fit vs. factory fit

Universal-fit mirrors are designed with adjustable straps and clips to fit a wide assortment of existing side mirrors on most models of cars, trucks, or SUVs. When you see them, it is obvious they are temporary and not part of the original design of the vehicle. They are the cheaper option when it comes to towing mirrors. Unfortunately, due to how they connect to your existing mirrors, universal-fit custom mirrors may be subject to vibrations that can hinder visibility.

Factory-fit mirrors are still temporary, but they are designed to look like they’re part of the vehicle’s original design. These mirrors will only attach to a small number of similar vehicles depending on the make, model, and year. The fit will be snug and less subject to vibration, giving you a much better view. These mirrors are pricier than the universal fit-options, and you’ll have to do a little bit of extra research to ensure that the ones you want will fit your vehicle.

EXPERT TIP

On the road, glance at your towing mirrors every five to ten seconds to keep track of cars creeping up from behind.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Material

The standard material for custom towing mirrors is a hard shell of polypropylene plastic with glass mirrors.

Color

For the most part, black and gray are your only choices.

Adjustment method

Once mounted, the mirrors must be adjusted. You need to adjust the mirrors while the trailer you’re going to be pulling is connected to the towing hitch. If you can do this in a vacant parking lot where you can drive around and test your field of vision, so much the better.

  • Single driver: Sit in the driver’s seat as you normally would while you’re driving. Adjust the mirror side-to-side until you can just barely see the side of your truck or car in the mirror. Now adjust the up-and-down position of the mirror until you can see the road at the rear of the trailer. Repeat this process for the mirror on the passenger side.
  • Multiple drivers: If there will be more than one person driving, use thin strips of electrical tape to mark where the mirror will be set for the first driver. Adjust the mirrors for the second driver and mark the settings for them as well. If you’re using permanent replacement mirrors that move using the interior controls, those controls may be able to save settings for multiple drivers.

Road vibration

The looser the fit of the towing mirrors, the more they will tend to vibrate, making it difficult to see objects in them. Mitigate this effect by tightening the connectors on the mirrors as much as possible. If they are snap-on mirrors that can’t be adjusted, test them as soon as you get them to ensure that they fit properly, and you have the best vision possible.

CAUTION

Most mirrors are slightly convex, which will make objects look smaller and farther away than they really are. Towing mirrors will exaggerate this effect, so be careful.

Accessories

Blind spot mirror: Ampper 2" Convex HD Glass Blind Spot Mirror
This is a pack of two stick-on convex blind spot mirrors. The back peels off so you can press it firmly to a clean mirror and it will stick, giving you extra viewing area when you’re towing a large trailer. The mirror has a gimbal behind it, so it can swivel and tilt to give you exactly the right view.

Side mirror rain visor: CarNeed 2 Pcs Smoked Black Mirror Rain Visor
Keep the rain off your mirror for unobstructed viewing with these rain visors for your towing mirrors. While you’re at it, why not get a set for your regular side mirrors as well as one for your towing mirrors?

Glass cleaner: Safelite Glass Cleaner
Keep your regular side mirrors and your towing mirrors streak-free with this professional-grade cleaner from Safelite. It dissolves grease, dirt, and road spray to give you crystal clear mirrors.

Glass-cleaning cloth: Auto Care Microfiber Glass Cleaning Cloths
Clean mirrors keep you safe, and this eight-pack of 12 x 12-inch microfiber cleaning cloths will give you streak-free and scratch-free results every time.

EXPERT TIP

Towing mirrors will help you negotiate wide turns when you’re pulling a long trailer. Keep an eye on them so you know where the trailer is at all times.


Staff  | BestReviews

Towing mirror prices

Inexpensive: From $20 to $30 is the low price range for custom towing mirrors. These will be the “universal fit” mirrors designed to fit on any side mirror. Since the straps and clips have to be adjustable, there will be some vibration and consequent distortion in the mirror’s viewing area.

Mid-range: From $30 to $60 is the medium price range for custom towing mirrors. Products in this price bracket will be hardshell snap-on covers designed with an OEM appearance in mind to make them look like part of your vehicle.

Expensive: Above $60 is the high-end zone for custom towing mirrors. These will be complete replacements for your existing mirrors, and you will have to remove the mirrors currently on your vehicle to install these in their place.

Tips

  • Keep it clean to keep it safe. When you’re towing a trailer, the side mirrors need to be pristine since everything you know about the road to the side and behind you is coming from them. Any dirt or grease on them that obscures your view must be cleaned off promptly if you want to stay safe.
  • Go (and know) the distance. When your mirrors are adjusted properly, you should be able to see at least 200 feet behind you. That’s about 16 or 17 car lengths.
  • Keep the trailer’s front corners visible. You should be able to see the front corners of your trailer in the towing mirrors if they are properly adjusted.
Practice using your towing mirrors in an empty parking lot before going on the road for the first time. Turn, back up, and attempt to “thread the needle” between traffic cones until you’re comfortable using your new mirrors.

FAQ

Q. How often should my custom towing mirrors be cleaned?
A.
A good rule of thumb is to clean your mirrors every time you stop for gas or once a day, whichever comes first.


Q. Do temporary mirrors have turn signals on them?
A.
No, but some of the permanent ones do.
 

Q. What should I do if I can’t find factory-fit towing mirrors for my vehicle?
A.
Use the universal-fit mirrors instead. Even if the fit isn’t perfect, your vehicle will be much safer to drive than if you try to risk pulling a trailer without towing mirrors.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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