Rearview Mirror

You know, there are many things in life that we take for granted until they are removed from us. I doubt very many of us even think much about the rearview mirror in our car(s) beyond making minor adjustments to it as required. However, should you lose that rearview mirror, I bet you’ll learn just how much you use it and need it. Well, at least that’s what I learned recently.

It all happened about two weeks ago. My weekend was over and it was time to go to work. Unfortunately, sometime in the previous 24-hours, the bond between the rearview mirror and the glass of the front windshield broke. Fortunately, I have one of those fancy dimmer mirrors, so it didn’t fall and break, but rather dangled from the wire that controls the dimmer. I wasn’t happy about this, but there wasn’t anything I could do about the matter since I had to get to work.

I don’t live that far from work, because I loathe long commutes. Still, the six-minute ride from my house to my job had me troubled. It was then that I discovered just how much I used my rearview mirror. I felt completely blind not knowing what vehicles were behind me. Further, how could I do my normal “pedal to the metal” ride without being able to see if there were cops behind me?

The only solution was the left side mirror. My side mirrors are positioned in such a way that I am able to clearly see a vehicle on either side of me at all times. By the time the vehicle is out of the mirror’s sights, I can see it easily out of the corner of my eye. Now I would lose that feature on the left side as I adjusted the mirror to see what was on my left-rear. It wasn’t great, but now I could see the smeg head who suddenly started tailgating me. Sorry for being in the right lane and doing the speed limit. ^_^;

I made it to work OK and new I would have to take some time to do some research. The Internet is such a great place, but sometimes finding specific information you want is a pain in the {censored}. It took some time to find the appropriate repair solution to this problem, but in the end I found what I wanted. Now it would be another three days before I could get the smegging thing fixed. That was because working 12-hour shifts, I generally don’t feel like doing a lot of errand running. My only concern was whether the highway patrol would decide that this would warrant pulling me over.

The days went by and on my first day off, I went to a local auto-part center. I wanted to get a proper bonding agent rather than just use superglue. I’d used that before and it didn’t last more than 10-months. The younger guy I asked to direct me to this didn’t seem that pleased to be of assistance. However, he did do his job, though he was wrong when he informed me that the bonding package I was purchasing came with cleaning solution. It was some other solution, but not a cleaning solution.

Regardless, with the bonding agent in hand, I made one additional stop by Wal-Mart to pick up some razors and some crayons. The razors were needed because I was going to have to scrape off the window to remove the old bonding agent, as well as the “button” that would be attached to the window. I needed a crayon in order to mark on the outside of the windshield where the button would be when it was time to bond it back to the glass.

Now armed with all of the stuff I needed, I returned home to begin the work of getting the mirror back up. Item one on the agenda — removing the metal “button” from the back of the mirror. This proved a lot trickery than I thought. Nearly all of the instructions I saw on the web talked about unscrewing a screw from the base of the mirror mount. Unfortunately, I had no such screw and no easy way seen to remove the button. It was clearly being held in place by a small metal piece, but that piece didn’t want to press down in order to slide the button out. Nice.

After much consideration, I thought, “I’ll use some needle-nose pliers on the metal piece to force it down, then a screwdriver to force the button out of its slot.” At first, it didn’t want to work, but eventually I got it out. However, it took thirty minutes to accomplish this. Sheeze! No wonder I’m not a mechanic — I suck at this stuff!

Once the button was out, it was time to scrape the old bonding agent from the back of it. It seemed an easy enough task, but in reality, it was far from easy. Putting on a pair of work gloves, I grabbed one of the new razors and began the painful process of scraping the button. It wasn’t going well and after fifteen minutes of little progress, I decided that maybe a screwdriver would be best. Sure enough, the flat-head screwdriver worked better than the razor had. I began to wonder if maybe there were some sort of tool beyond the cutter that I had which could use these kinds of razors for scraping purposes.

After getting most of the crud off the button, the razor then came in handy to finish getting the finer stuff off. Some rubbing alcohol on a cloth cleaned up the button nicely. Whew! That out of the way, it was time for the next step — cleaning the windshield.

As with the button, the razors proved not so helpful on removing the old bonding agent from the glass of the windshield. I didn’t have the screwdriver with me in the car, so out came my pocket knife. Since the glass is so pitted from rocks hitting the windshield (including a few nice “stars”), I decided I didn’t care if I scratched the glass. The knife, which I’ve had since I was 16, proved mose helpful as I pried off the old bonding agent from the glass. With all the trouble I had been having removing this material from the button and the glass, I was amazed that the mirror had fallen off at all!

I actually felt sore in my forearms when I’d completed all of the scraping and cleaning of the window. Man, would I ever be glad when this chore was done! Sheeze, for something so simple, it was such a pain. ^_^;

Having previously marked the location of the button with my new crayon, I eagerly placed new bonding solution to the back of the button, then slapped the sucker to the glass. It was a perfect strike within the outline I’d left. Only sixty-seconds to wait before I could release the button, where in theory it should remain bonded to the glass. Fortunately, theory became fact as I removed my fingers from the button. Now, I only had to wait to let the glue cure.

Sometime later, longer than the prescribed time for curing the glue, I made my way back to my vehicle, rearview mirror in hand. A test of the button proved it wasn’t going anywhere. YES! Now for the ultimate test — replacing the mirror onto the button and attaching the dimmer wire.

The mirror slid on easily and the wire plugged back into its slot with no problem. Pretty pleased with the result, I thought I was done and went back in my apartment. It wasn’t until the next day when I had to take off to run some errands that I discovered not all was right with my rearview mirror. The natural vibrations of the car as it traveled were more than enough to send the mirror shaking pretty badly. For the life of me, I couldn’t imagine what might have gone wrong. Maybe I hadn’t used enough of the bonding agent. I didn’t know.

After discussing the matter over with a co-worker the next night, I was afraid I would have to take the mirror down somehow and repeat the cleanup, remounting process I’d gone through previously. I can tell you I was not looking forward to such an event, should it prove necessary. However, as is natural with me, my brain wouldn’t let the matter go and kept chewing on the problem. By the time I got home the next morning, I had concluded that the glue was not the problem. However, I had to see for myself what the metal button did from the outside as the mirror shook.

I positioned myself so that I could observe the mirror outside, yet shake it with my other hand. It was then that I noticed that the button wasn’t fully in the base of the mirror. In theory, all I had to do was slide the mirror base down some more, and the button should be securely within the base, thus stopping the shaking. The mirror didn’t want to go down easily, but I carefully forced it until I heard a beautiful “snap.” The mirror now felt much more secure, and a quick drive around the complex confirmed that I’d finally solved the problem. Happy, squealing noises immediately came out of me as I pulled back into the parking place in front of my building. Yep, I’d sleep good that day!

So I’ve gained a few more experience points in regards to my automobile. Doing a job myself always leaves me feeling pretty happy, even if I am pretty lazy and don’t feel like doing it at all in the beginning. Now, I completely appreciate my rearview mirror every time I peek into it these days.

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