What's The Best Way to Adjust Your Volvo Sideview Mirrors?

The question "How do I adjust my Volvo sideview mirrors?" may seem pretty self-explanatory. Old-school sideview mirrors had to be adjusted by hand – which wasn't always easy on the passenger side without help from a passenger. On new cars, however, there are levers that can be used from the driver's side door to adjust both passenger side and driver's sideview mirrors.

So then where does the question actually come in?

There seems to be a little bit of confusion as to exactly what you should see when you look in your sideview mirrors. So, we are going to help you with that. Let's take a look at the best way to adjust your Volvo sideview mirrors.

Why Do We Have Sideview Mirrors?

Side view mirrors help us eliminate blind spots when properly adjusted. Best practice is, of course, to still look over your shoulder before changing lanes. They also assist in situations that require you to backup. The rearview mirror mounted on your windshield is nice, but it only shows what's directly behind your car. And a lot more comes into play than just what's behind your car’s rear end.

Adjusting Your Sideview Mirrors

Here is the main thing NOT to do when you adjust your Volvo side view mirrors. Don't aim them straight back because that just shows you what your center rearview mirror already sees. The area between your peripheral vision and directly behind your car is the only area that should be covered by your sideview mirrors. Ideally, though checking your blind spot is still recommended, you should be able to see everything outside your peripheral vision by using all of your rearview mirrors in combination (as opposed to turning your head). This could take some experimentation but is achievable when mirrors that are appropriate for the make and model of your car are properly installed and adjusted.

The adjustment of your sideview and rearview mirrors is also going to depend largely on the size (height) of the driver. If your 16-year-old has been driving the car, those mirrors are probably going to be in need of adjustment when an adult member of the family uses the car.

Custom mirrors and improper installation can make the proper effect unachievable. That's why it's important to use Volvo sideview mirrors on your Volvo, and not some fancy, shiny little custom job. Your safety is at risk here, after all. And the safety of others.

Proper Adjustment of Your Side View Mirrors

So, when you properly adjust your rearview and sideview mirrors, what should you see? The following are guidelines recommended by USAA:

  • Adjusting your right sideview mirror – Between the front passenger seat and the driver seat, put your head about mid car. You should be able to just see the right side of your car if the right sideview mirror is adjusted correctly.
  • Adjusting your left sideview mirror – On the driver side window, put your head directly against the window. If you can just start viewing the left side of your car, you have adjusted your left side view mirror correctly.
  • Adjusting your rearview mirror – There is little room for error here. You should be able to see straight backwards from your rearview mirror if it is adjusted correctly. You're not looking at your trunk, you're not looking at your ceiling, you are looking directly behind your car out the back window.

When your sideview mirrors are properly adjusted, you won't see the sides of your car. Don't let this discourage you into thinking that they are improperly adjusted. You know what the side of your car looks like. You need to see what the cars approaching you or next to you look like – as in where they are.