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If you’ve ever experienced your rear view mirror sagging or simply rotating downwards on its own, it’s likely due to the mirror socket no longer holding the ball mount in place. Most of the time, there are these plastic teeth that hold the ball joint in place and when these plastic teeth break off, there is no longer enough force holding the ball joint securely. As a result, the rear view mirror starts to sag and slowly move down on its own. This can be an annoyance as you constantly have to put the mirror back up, only to have it rotate down again and again.
This issue is different from a rear view mirror that completely falls down off of the windshield. In that particular case, you typically have the mount that sticks to the windshield coming loose and having the entire rear view mirror assembly fall off. Rather, with the loose rear view mirror issue, you’re more likely trying to get the ball joint to stay held in place with more friction in order to keep it from sagging.
You can always replace the whole rear view mirror assembly, which will come with the new socket and will fix your problem. However, this can cost quite a bit of money. I wanted to show my “quick fix” solution because I keep seeing people recommending another quick fix, which I don’t think works at all. They say to cut off the tip of a latex glove and use it to fix this issue, but I’ve never found this to actually work. My preference is to use super glue to create a build-up of material around the ball joint, which will allow the rear view mirror to snap onto it and hold more tightly in place.
Tools & Materials Used
How to Fix a Loose Rear View Mirror
Your rear view mirror might look different from mine, but what I have here is a pretty typical rear view mirror. The rear view mirror has a socket that pivots around a ball joint. This ball joint is connected to an arm that is mounted to the windshield.
To remove the rear view mirror, you’ll need to use a screwdriver and remove the screw that holds the arm to the mount on the windshield. With the screw removed, the rear view mirror can slide off and be removed. Ensure that you remove any electrical connectors if there are any prior to removing the rear view mirror.
You can already see below why the rear view mirror is loose. It is because the socket has multiple plastic teeth that have broken off, and the tension ring that holds it securely to the ball joint has fallen off. Because of this, there is not enough clamping friction between the ball joint and socket and therefore the mirror keeps sagging down under its own weight.
Here are a few more close-up photos so you can get a better idea of what’s happening. Once the plastic teeth start to break off, the steel tension ring can no longer stay in place and comes off. You can see a couple of teeth still intact, but all of the others have broken off already. As a result, you no longer have enough clamping force and the weight of the rear view mirror itself causes the mirror to sag down.
There is a popular fix that is commonly recommended, which is to take a latex glove and cut off one of the finger tips. This tip is then fitted over the tip of the ball joint and then inserted back into the socket. This might seem like a workable solution because it seems that it would provide the added friction needed to hold the rear view mirror up. It also appears to fit the socket perfectly. However…
In my experience, this just doesn’t work and is not a viable solution to the loose rear view mirror issue. The glove material is just simply not durable enough to support the pivoting of the ball inside of the socket. Once you start moving the rear view mirror around, the glove tip breaks apart rendering it useless. I don’t recommend this solution and honestly cannot see how it could work for anyone– I mean take a look at what happens to the glove tip below after adjusting the rear view mirror a little bit.
Another quick fix that I’ve several times, but I don’t really see talked about anymore is using super glue. This is kind of a primitive solution for tightening up the ball joint in your loose rear view mirror, but it does work.
The super glue isn’t intended to simply super-glue the whole thing together and preventing it from moving completely. It’s actually used to apply a thin layer of super glue to the ball itself, which effectively increases the size of the ball and increases the amount of friction between the ball and socket to keep the mirror up.
The way to do this is to apply super glue all over the ball joint, making sure to spread it evenly all over.
Immediately after, pop the ball joint into the socket and rotate/swirl it all around inside of the socket. Then pull the ball joint out and you will see that the super glue has even spread itself all over the ball joint.
Next, find a way to keep the ball joint suspended so that it does not touch anything. You want the super glue to fully cure like this. I used a clamp to hold it upright to allow it to dry overnight.
The next day the super glue will have hardened completely. You can take this ball joint, which is now just slightly larger than before, and pop it into the socket. You should now feel that it is a bit harder to move the ball joint around within the socket.
If the ball joint is still loose, you may need to do another layer of super glue to further increase the size of the ball joint. This fix should address the loose rear view mirror. The only downside is that when you’re moving the rear view mirror around, it doesn’t feel as smooth as it did without the super glue, but it does hold securely in place.
I like this fix because it’s really cheap and easy to do, and no one will ever notice it. You save yourself a ton of money and the inconvenience of buying and replacing the entire rear view mirror assembly. Usually when we have this kind of issue, we just want the rear view mirror to work. If it can be fixed quickly and cheaply, continues to work, and no one can tell it was ever broken, then I think that’s a good “quick fix” to use if you’re dealing with this issue.