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Mirror, mirror on the door..

A quick tip for anyone experiencing ‘Wobbly Mirror Syndrome” – double-sided carpet tape.

Yes, this miracle adhesive came to my rescue this week when the drivers’ side door mirror glass decided to do its best to impersonate a jelly at any speed above walking pace.

Being something of a glass half-empty (if not indeed fully-drained) sort of chap,my first thoughts upon discovering my visual aid’s new party trick involved the thought that lots of my pounds were going to have to be handed over to my friendly local Skoda dealer for a new mirror.

I based this prognosis on a number of factors –

1) Nothing cheap & easily fixable ever happens to me.

2) We’re dealing with a complex VW Group part which is electrically manipulated, heated & incorporates an indicator-repeater assembly – ie, EXPENSIVE.

3) Sod’s Law WILL apply.

So, after a drive up the A3 which involved a lot more over-the-shoulder checks (probably a good thing) than usual and the application at journey’s end of a generous amount of gaffer tape I set about trying to minimise what seemed to be an inevitable outlay which would probably involve writing a cheque to ‘Skoda GB Ltd’ or, at least, one of their approved agents.

A quick phone around only deepened my gloom as it revealed that a complete replacement mirror assembly would set me back at least £80 & well over a hundred if painted.

Not ideal..

So, with worst-case scenario in place (well, it’s best to know what to expect) I headed over to the ever-friendly & unceasingly-helpful forums at www.Briskoda.net

A quick search through the forums turned up the magic phrase “wobbly wing-mirror”

Bingo..

And, as I scrolled down and read through the post I felt my rounded shoulders become straightened once more, my bowed head regained something of an upward tilt and my wallet started to breathe a sigh of relief as I discovered that my worst fears were unfounded – VW Group were not after all going to be relieving me (or at least MINT/RBS Financial Services, initially) of a hefty wad of cash because all was going to be ok.

All I needed was a roll of carpet tape.

Heavy-duty, double-sided carpet tape.

Yes, according to the author of the post on the Skoda-owners’ message boards it seems that oscillating door glass is quite a common problem amongst owners of cars made by VW or their subsidiaries (although one would hope that those lucky & incredibly well-heeled enough to have shelled out for a Veyron might be spared this inconvenience).

The problem arises due to the fact that the sticky pad used to mount the actual reflective glass onto the electrically-adjustable mechanism isn’t, er, sticky enough.

After a couple of years the glass bit loses its grip – first becoming wobbly before falling off, leaving you with just a large expanse of white (formerly) sticky pad in your rear view and a bill for £14 plus to replace the bit of glass which is now in a thousand pieces in the outside lane a couple of hundred metres behind you..

However, with just the application of a few strips of the aforementioned carpet tape – available in most big DIY stores, carpet suppliers (natch) and Amazon (where mine came from) – you can restore your rearward view of the world in just a couple of minutes & proceed on your way, safe in the knowledge that you’re less likely to pull into the path of a Hungarian-registered artic.

I have to admit to a bit of trepidation as I gently levered the mirror out of the housing the morning the postman brought the (very) sticky tape.

As I gingerly pulled and manouvered the glass & plastic backing plate off its motorised mounting I fully-expected to hear a loud and costly crack as the mirror shattered into a billion pieces – but no, as advised by my new best friend on the forum, it came off with the minimum of fuss and after carefully removing the two spade connectors which supply power to heat the glass I finally had in my hands the business end of a Skoda Octavia II door mirror.

Upon inspection on the dining table it became very evident why the thing had been flapping around so much as only a 2mm wide strip of mirror was still attached to the upper edge of the (no longer very) sticky pad.

“Probably a good thing I had the gaffer tape with me a couple of days ago” I nodded to myself in what I like to think of as a sage-like manner..

Anyway, sage or no (no, actually) I gave all the surfaces a good clean and reattached the glass using the mightily-sticky double-sided tape.

Upon applying this stuff, any lingering doubts I’d been harbouring about its ability to hold onto a piece of glass whilst being buffeted at motorway speeds were soon allayed as it grabbed onto the mirror like a limpet & I’m pretty confident it’s not going to come off again in a hurry.

A quick reversal of the removal procedure & voila, one rock-solid rearward-facing police car/juggernaut/speeding Audi spotting device.

So far, 4 days after surgery the patient is seemingly fully-recovered and all vital signs are good.

Well, it hasn’t started flapping around or fallen off..

And the moral of this informative if not exactly awe-inspiring tale of DIY automotive-fixery..?

Well, it’s probably this – don’t always assume it’ll cost you an arm & a leg.

Whilst it’s often a reasonable assumption in today’s disposable culture that things will wear out and require expensive replacement there is still scope for fixing it yourself so long as you do your homework.

In my case, a bit of digging in the right place turned up an invaluable piece of information from a fellow temporarily-visually-impared Skodarist & also served to remind me what a helpful & friendly place a web forum can be, especially when you need help & advice.

So, if you find that your rearwards view of the world isn’t quite as steady as you remember, it might just be worth your while getting hold of some miracle-cure carpet tape soonish before you end up decorating the dual carriageway with expensive silvered-glass..

Dave Wakefield

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