DRIVING/TOWING - TOWING
We all know the issues involved with using some auxiliary mirrors on vehicles towing wide loads: brackets working loose or falling off, panels scratched and vibration that makes the mirror images almost useless. There is a solution for these issues, Clearview mirrors are available for many vehicle makes and models.
The Clearview design incorporates a powered, vertically-oriented, flat-plane main mirror each side, with a convex spotter lower section that’s manually adjustable. Manual fold-flat function remains, but is not able to be powered.
The mirror housing is connected to the mounting flange at the leading edge of the vehicle’s side window by twin struts. The housing can telescope 110mm on these struts, thus widening the mirror stance, which is already some 90mm wider than standard. When the vehicle isn’t towing the Clearview mirrors can be pushed inwards on the struts, to narrow the overall vehicle width.
The Clearview mirror bases are all similar in design, but are specifically kitted to suit specific vehicle models. The idea is that the standard mirrors and mounting flanges are removed from the vehicle intact and replaced by the Clearview units. The job is reversible, so that the stock mirrors can be refitted at any time.
We checked out replacement mirrors for a 200 Series LandCruiser and helped the owner fit them.
Each Clearview pair comes with wiring harness adaptors and an excellent instructional DVD that takes the buyer through easily followed steps in removing the standard mirrors and fitting the Clearview units. They’re not cheap, being $700 plus for LandCruiser units, but the quality is indistinguishable from the originals and functionality is better than that of clip-on types.
The Clearviews arrived in a well-packed cardboard box, with an instructional DVD, so that’s where the job started. We watched it through once and then restarted the DVD, stopping when we thought we’d digested enough work and then resuming watching it after performing the various steps. If you run the DVD on a laptop you can watch it as you wield the tools.
Fitting time is said to be 15 minutes each side, but we took twice that, being extra careful when prising off interior door trims and switch panels.
As promised, the kit parts fitted perfectly and the instructions were accurate. When fitted they looked like original parts of the vehicle, other than for the fact that vision was much better, with and without a trailer on the back of the vehicle.
Clearviews may be among the most expensive towing mirrors on the market, but you get what you pay for.
Once they’re fitted, you can forget them, because there’s no need to fiddle around with extensions every time you tow. We love ‘em.