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How to Paint Your Side Mirror Like a Pro: A Comprehensive Guide

Step-by-step visual guide on painting a side mirror, showcasing the process and tools required."
How to paint side mirror

Do you want to give your car a new look without breaking the bank? Painting your side mirrors can be a great way to add a pop of color and style to your vehicle. Know how to paint side mirror perfectly to give your car a new look.

A side mirror is more than a mere mirror for every passenger and driver of a car. It helps to reverse or take turns into a parking lot. Also, you can learn the position of the closest entity to the car. It is safe for everyone inside and outside the vehicle. With these benefits, won’t you think of painting the side mirror?

Let me tell you the benefits of painting a side mirror first. Painted mirrors offer protection from the elements. Again, paint protects the metal inside from rust and corrosion. These mirrors can even cover the interior from fading and damage from harsh weather.

Now, you may feel interested in painting your car’s side mirrors. But do you know how to paint side mirror? Is it a time-consuming or complex task? Read this article to learn about painting a side view mirror following simple steps. You don’t need to be an expert or professional painter to do so!

Get the Side Mirror Ready for Painting

Painting the old, faded side mirrors can replenish the actual beauty of the mirrors. Aesthetically, a painted mirror can please everyone. Also, it can enhance the value (resale) of the car. Before you start painting, you must prepare the thing.

You must remove the old paint and primer from the side mirror. If you have a newly installed mirror, then there is no need to remove the paint. However, you can peel off the paint with a wire brush, sandpaper, or a sandblaster.

Take any of them and start rubbing the painted surface gently. Gradually, the paint and primer will be gone, and you will get the raw look of the mirror. Next, clean the rubbed surface with a solvent like lacquer, acetone, or alcohol.

Applying Right Primer

After cleaning the mirror surface, it’s time to apply a primer coat. Take a soft paintbrush to apply the primer coat. After using it, wait until the primer dries. Then, you can start painting.

But the question is, why will you prime the mirror before painting? Also, what would be the most suitable primer for the side-view mirrors?

Primer Benefits

Well, priming before painting offers several benefits. A primer can help apply the main coat of paint better. Also, it provides better adhesion and a more durable finish.

Pining the side mirror will seal the porous surface and prevent the paint from uneven absorption. Also, primers can cover stains and imperfections of old painted surfaces of mirrors. If you don’t prime, you may need to repaint soon, which may require additional expenses.

Selecting Primers

In terms of primers, you may select primers for plastic surfaces, as side mirrors primarily have these surfaces. But a better suggestion would be using multipurpose primers. You can apply them on any surface, like metal and plastic.

Some other primers are also available on the market, like bonding and rusty metal primers. But they may need to be more suitable for painting side mirrors.

Paint Selection: Which Paint is suitable for Side Mirror

Most people balance color between the whole car and side mirrors. You can paint the side mirrors to match the car, too. But you are free to use any pattern, design, decoration, or color in this project. In simple words, painting a side mirror is more than a fun job.

You have several options of paint for side mirrors: spray paint, enamel paint, and latex paint.

Spray Paint

It’s the easiest way to paint a side mirror. It gives the mirror a fresh look. Besides, the paint will provide the mirror surface with a hard, clean, stroke-free finish. You can apply multiple light coats of spray paint to avoid stickiness and drips.

Spray paint helps to paint from all directions. With it, you can reach odd angles and tight crevices. But you should mask off the areas you don’t want painted (like mirrored surfaces). It’s because it is slightly tough to control the spray paint.

Enamel Paint

You can apply enamel paint on the side mirrors if you want a durable option. Moreover, water-based enamel paints are less prone to chip or peel over time.

You can find multiple color options in enamel paints. So, it’s effortless to match the body shade of the car with the side view mirror. In return, you will get a sleek, smooth, rock-hard finish to withstand rough usage.

Latex Paint

It’s another easy-to-use option to paint a side mirror. Usually, painters use this paint on walls, deck floors, siding, and drywall. However, you should not apply this latex paint on metal surfaces. It will invite rust to that surface. If you wish to paint metal surfaces, use oil-based enamel paint.

Of these three types of paints, I recommend you use spray paint on the side mirrors. It is easy to apply and good for a clean finish. And the best part is that you can use it without any prior experience.

Paint the Side Mirrors: The Main Task

At this stage, I suggest you keep these things beside your hand: a can of preferred spray paint, a cardboard piece, and some painter’s tape. And I guess managing these things is not a tough job, right? After having them, take the selected mirror off the car. You can simply use a screwdriver to unscrew the mirror.

Place a cardboard piece behind the mirror that you have just removed from its place. Then, tape it to protect it from getting painted on it. After that, tape off the areas you don’t want to paint. Again, use the painter’s tape and create a border around the side mirror.

Now, you can start painting the mirror. Hold the paint can, keeping an 8-10” distance from the mirror. Then, start spraying the mirror swiftly. I suggest you keep the spray can in the same position till you finish painting. When the painting is done, you must wait 45-60 minutes to let it dry.

You may apply multiple coats of paint for better and long-lasting results.

Step-by-step visual guide on painting a side mirror, showcasing the process and tools required."
how to paint side mirror

Applying Clear Coat and Finishing Touches

Till now, you can still reattach or reinstall the painted mirror once the paint is well-dried. However, adding a clear coat can better protect the painted mirror.

Benefits of Clear Coat

A clear coat protects the paint from oxidation and damage from UV rays, weather elements, and bird droppings. Also, it can enhance and restore the glossy finish of the mirror. There will be no more fading, scratches, or stains anymore. You can find clear coats as spray cans like those paints in many stores.

Applying a clear coat is the same as using paint. But once again, you must be patient throughout the process. You should also make the coats thin and even to get a better look.

Finishing Touches

Once you apply a clear coat, check for missed spots and imperfections. If I had done this, I might have inspected the surface from different angles and lighting conditions. However, you can sand the imperfect spot lightly and reapply the coat for a smoother finish.

Washing and waxing the coated side mirror can maintain the gloss and shine over time.

Addressing Rust Issues

Over time, side mirrors can get rust problems. Mainly, rust inspection and prevention are crucial to maintaining metal surfaces. It’s because rust can lead to structural deterioration of the mirror.

  • You should always keep metal surfaces clean to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. It will protect the surfaces from rust.
  • Remove salt-laden water spray from metal surfaces more precisely if you drive your car in coastal areas or near roads salted by snowplows.
  • Take a wire brush and scrub or scrape rusted areas. You can get this tool in any hardware store. Also, the best part is it is cheaper than any other thing for rust removal.
  • Use low-pressure sandblasting to eliminate debris and rust. It will protect the adjacent materials from damage.
  • You can dissolve rust from iron and steel parts by soaking them in phosphoric, sulfuric, hydrochloric, or oxalic acid containers.
  • Another dangerous and expensive method is flaming cleaning. But you may need to deal with a scorching oxyacetylene torch. It can also remove rust, but this method requires skilled operators.

Troubleshooting Side Mirror Won’t Go Up and Down

Sometimes, you may get a common problem with side-view mirrors. They won’t go up and down when you need them. But again, I am here to assist you!

First, you need to check the power mirror switch. This switch controls the mirror movement. Also, check if the switch is in the correct position to adjust the mirror vertically. If you find the switch defective, replace it soon.

The next step would be inspecting the mirror motor and wiring. The mirror motor also controls the mirror movement like the switch. Now, check for any visible damage or signs of wear on the motor. Besides, inspect if there are any loose or damaged connections of wiring. In this case, a multimeter may help you to test the condition of the wiring.

You can also check the fuse and power supply to troubleshoot that the side mirror won’t go up and down. Locate and inspect the fuse that controls the power to the side mirrors. If it is blown or damaged, replace it with a new one. Again, you can use a multimeter to test the power supply.

There may be other mechanical issues that cause mirrors to move vertically. You can consult a mechanic to sort out the problem in such conditions.

Final Thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed the DIY painting task. For sure, now you know how to paint side mirror easily.

In this blog, I have explained everything relevant to the topic. You can start by selecting the right paint and primer. Then, apply them using the tools in the way that I have mentioned. Please take sufficient time to complete the project.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Is it possible to paint side-view mirrors?

Yes, you can paint side mirrors for an enhanced or customized look.

  • What is the best type of paint for painting a side mirror?

You can use spray or water-based enamel paint to paint the side mirrors. But they should be automotive-grade paint to last longer.

  • Is there any sign to repaint the old painted mirror?

If your side mirror starts to fade, peel, or show any sign of damage, you should repaint it. Regular maintenance can enhance the lifespan of the painted surface.

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