I go through a lot of towing mirrors, and I don’t think I’m alone in wondering if there is a ‘perfect mirror’. One that doesn’t vibrate, is easily adjustable, offers good vision and most importantly, won’t break. Here’s a rundown of the mirrors we’ve been through in the last two years.
Coast to Coast Door Mounted towing mirrors – 64.95 each.
These are one of the most popular strap on, door mounted mirrors on the market, and for good reason. They are stable, even at high speeds and so don’t vibrate (which causes the rear-vision to become blurry). They are a hefty, and strong construction and reasonably easy to use, although some people with newer more premium cars my be a bit sceptical of the bits that hook on to their car causing damage – it may well.
The strap can develop a vibration if the buckle position isn’t just right, so may take a few drive to get exactly right. The biggest problem with them, though, is that the clamps holding the mirror arm in are hard to tighten, and often loosen themselves over time. I’ve had them fall out, or nearly fall out a number of times. Wing nuts would fix the problem, rather than the small round, plastic knobs fitted to tighten that part.
ORA Towing mirror – $109 for the pair
These mirrors are best suited to vehicles with flatter, less aerodynamic mirrors, as they are most secure when the strap is flat against the front of the mirror. They are highly versatile though, and can be made to fit most car’s wing mirrors.
User beware, though, if your wing mirrors can fold into the car and the hinge is week, the gust of a passing truck will consistently blow them into your window until you get sick of the damn things and put them in the boot – however an occy strap run to your bull bar will also temporarily fix the problem. These mirrors also have a lot of small pieces which can easily go missing.
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ORA Rossa Towing Mirror – $85 each
These are the next step up from the basic ORA towing mirrors and have a wider arm and extra stabilising rod which suction cups to the car’s door to prevent truck from being able to blow it into the car.
I bought a pair of these after I lost one of the normal ORA mirrors somewhere on the Sturt Highway after one too many trucks blew them in. I didn’t find them much better, though, as the suction cap quickly lost suction (no matter how many times I licked it, or cleaned the car door) and eventually trucks could blow the mirror in again. In the end it fell off travelling down the Ivanhoe Road – the same road I broke a pair of the Camec door mounted mirrors.
Milenco Aero 3 Towing Mirror – $97.95 for a pair
These are a simple and effective wing-mirror mount towing mirror which just rely on a pair of adjustable clamps. It makes them easy to fit, and reduces the amount of parts you can lose. The aero-dynamic shape of the mirror ensures they are a good performer in the face of on-comming trucks, although the heavily stylised shape reduces rear-vision somewhat.
With wide arms and a great build quality, they’re the pick of the mirror mounted options available, if you can’t bear the thought of spending more than $100, or you’ve got a really modern vehicle like a Land Rover or BMW SUV, as they’ve been designed and manufactured in Europe for European cars.
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Camec Suction Cup towing mirror – $19.95 each
At $20 each, the price is great, and they keep you legal, but just barely. The suction cup sticks to your mirror which is great because it means you can adjust the mirror using your car’s controls, although because they stick to your mirror, they create a big blind spot. On many more modern cars, they also often foul on the mirror surround.
The suction cup is of good quality, though and they only occasionally fall off and swing into your car thanks to the thin elastic safety cord.
Camec Strap on towing mirrors $27.95
These are actually a very reasonable mirror for the price. With the double elastic straps, they suit a wide range of mirrors and can be reasonably easily fitted, although the rudimentary buckles are a little fiddly. Because they are compact and don’t protrude too far from the car, they have less problems with passing trucks, although the small buckle clasps are incredibly easy to lose. In the end, I hung one of these from the shower rose and used it as a shaving mirror, rather than a towing one.
Clearview towing mirrors $745 – $795
At roughly four times more expensive than anything else on the market, the Clearview mirrors have to really perform and there is no doubt they are the best towing mirror on the market. On the vehicles they can be used, the rear vision is excellent, and the ability to wire them into the cars mirror adjustor is just spectacular.
The downside is the price, of course, and the fact that even when they’re not telescoped out, they are still wider than the standard mirror an industrial design graduate in Japan spent four years and a million dollars engineering.
Which mirrors do you use, and how have they performed? Tell us in the comments to help other caravanners make the right decision.
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