Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Jul. 9, 2018

Having one of the best towing mirrors installed or mounted onto your truck can give you the peace of mind you need while driving. Whether it is a fifth wheel, a cargo trailer, a boat trailer, or just about anything that can be towed you will need to maintain your unobstructed line of view of the rear.

And if you’re driving one of those trucks that already comes with towing mirrors built in, then you know what we’re talking about. If you cannot see the entire length of your trailer or your towed vehicle behind you or it obstructs your field of view of the side and rear, then you definitely need this type of mirror. Thankfully we’ve got just the right list to get you started.

The Best Towing Mirror

Folks who simply don’t like performing the task of removing their existing side mirrors and installing towing mirrors will definitely love these universal towing mirrors from Fit System. It’s got one of the largest viewing areas you can ever put alongside your OEM component. There is no need to drill holes, unfasten screws, and those sorts of things as the 3891 Deluxe can be easily clipped onto your existing mirror and then secured by a ratchet lock mechanism.

Adding to the security of the mounting are two straps that are rubber-padded so they won’t scratch your mirror and its casing. While having the straps on the mirror can be quite distracting to some drivers, you won’t actually be using your standard mirror since the 3891 Deluxe caravan mirrors effectively takes its place. You can still use the OEM mirror, though, so you’ve got two full mirrors serving you.

Key Features
  • Easy and secure clip-on towing mirror design
  • 5.125-inch by 7.75-inch viewing area
  • Fits stock side mirrors of up to 11.5 inches tall
  • Secure ratchet lock mechanism
  • Rubber-padded straps
Specification
  • Brand Fit System
  • Model 3891
  • Weight 2 lbs

Designed for certain models of Chevy and GMC trucks and SUVs, these DEDC replacement towing mirrors are perfect for the owners of the Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, Sierra, and Yukon XL from years 1999 or 2000 to 2006 or 2007. While it will need some toiling you should be able to get it done in less than 20 minutes. The best part of the DEDC caravan towing mirrors is that they come with two types of mirrors on a single casing.

The lower third comes in a convex shape for improved wide-angle viewing and can be easily adjusted, albeit manually. The upper two-thirds contain the plane mirror which gives the driver a clear view of the rear, both horizontally and vertically. It doesn’t come with temperature sensors and built-in heaters, though. You’d be happy with the telescoping body of this extendable mirror, though.

Key Features
  • Manually-operated replacement mirrors
  • Dual mirror system: convex and plane
  • Telescoping body
  • Compatible with 1999-2007 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra
  • Compatible with 2000-2006 Chevy Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon XL
  • 12-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand DEDC
  • Model XZ_TRUCKMR_CS1001
  • Weight 17.95 lbs

The Milenco Grand Aero3 towing mirrors are a different kind of mirror extensions that requires no fussy installations. Just imagine a standard truck side view mirror oriented vertically with a rod sticking out and extending from the upper quarter of its case. The rod has two easy-grip clamps that come with tightening bolts. Mounting the Aero3 caravan mirrors is exceptionally easy since you only need to clamp it onto the upper edge of your existing side view mirrors. With this arrangement you’re actually extending the full viewing capabilities of your truck’s mirrors.

Because of the vertical orientation of the Aero3 you’ll get a much better view of your trailer regardless of how tall it may be. It’s perfect for backing up in tight spaces and with vertical clearances so you can maneuver your car and your trailer safely. The Milenco is also air-balanced so you won’t have it shaking like it’s been hit by an earthquake. It’s universally mountable, too, so you can install it on any vehicle.

Key Features
  • Universal clip-on towing mirror design
  • Easy-grip clamp attachment made from high-impact plastic
  • Stainless steel-core clamp
  • Air-balanced design
Specification
  • Brand Dometic
  • Model DM-2912
  • Weight 3.49 lbs

The 3891 Deluxe of Fit System may come in handy for any brand and make of vehicle, but if you’ve got a Dodge Ram you’d definitely want to get your hands on its 80710 model. These mirror extensions are designed specifically for certain make and year models of the Dodge Ram carrying the 1500, 2500, and 3500 badge so you can expect its design to seamlessly flow from your original equipment. Like other products from the company, there are no drilling or extensive installations required as the device can be easily snapped onto place.

There’s one minor flaw, however. The tab on the lower edge of the 80710 has the tendency to get in contact with your vehicle’s body if it so happens that your side mirrors are foldable and their housing are quite near to the body of the car. On the positive side, it’s designed to meld exceptionally well with the aesthetics of your OEM.

Key Features
  • Snap-on, easy-to-install design
  • Won’t interfere with OEM side mirror functionality
  • Compatible with Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, 3500
Specification
  • Brand Fit System
  • Model 80710
  • Weight 2.25 lbs

Snapping into place as one of our best towing mirrors are these universal towing mirrors from CIPA. Installing it onto your current side mirror is also easy as it doesn’t require any tools at all. All you need is a bit of  strength in your hands and you can have a pair of caravan mirrors right in your vehicle. Do take note that the 1095 is only applicable for certain models of SUVs and trucks from Chevy and GMC. It would have been a very nifty pair of towing mirrors if it could also be used in other brands and models.

The 10950 is made of durable and impact-resistant polypropylene complete with a wedge locking feature and a tightening knob to make sure that it won’t wobble as you drive along. It definitely looks more like a natural extension of your car’s side mirror.

Key Features
  • Custom slide-in easy-install design
  • 4.5-inch wide and 5.75-inch tall extension mirror
  • With accompanying wedge lock and threaded tightening knob
  • Compatible with most GMC and Chevrolet trucks and SUVs
Specification
  • Brand CIPA
  • Model 10950
  • Weight 4.3 lbs

Fancy an extendable mirror for your Chevy, GMC, or Cadillac ride? Well, you may want to replace your OEM side mirror with these caravan towing mirrors from Auto Dynasty. The good thing is that the body of the side mirror can actually be extended outwards, giving you an even better view of the rear.

Also, since the orientation of the mirror is vertical you will have an unobstructed view of the entire height of whatever you’re pulling. The lower third of the mirror comes in a convex type of glass while the upper two-thirds are perfect for regular driving. Also integrated into the design of these towing mirrors is a thermal sensor with built-in heating element, making sure you get to keep the visual clarity of your glass especially in snowy or rainy conditions. You can only place it on certain models of Cadillac, Chevy, and GM, though.

Key Features
  • Power replacement mirrors with built-in heater
  • Extendable mirror body
  • Dual mirror system: plane and convex
  • Compatible with 2007-2014 Chevy Silverado and 2007-2013 Chevy Suburban
  • Compatible with 2007-2014 GMC Sierra and 2007-2013 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL
  • Compatible with 2007-2013 Chevy Avalanche and Tahoe
  • Compatible with 2007-2013 Cadillac Escalade
Specification
  • Brand Auto Dynasty
  • Model AD-ML-WG003-Z
  • Weight 18.9 lbs

These towing mirrors are quite exceptional in that they can be tilted at a 90-degree angle from their horizontal position, instantly turning them into tall caravan mirrors. The other good news is that they come with heating elements to keep frost at bay, giving you unobstructed view of your camper or trailer. There are several variants to choose from, depending on your truck or SUV model whether it comes with a manually operated mechanism or a fully automatic, power-driven system. The point is that you’ve got several options you can choose. Whichever you eventually pick, you’d still get the same dual mirror system that comes with a plane and convex glass. These caravan towing mirrors also look very neat on your vehicle.

The issue, though, is that if you don’t have the SUV or truck that is compatible with the ECCPP system you won’t be able to use it. Like most towing mirrors in this list the ECCPP is specific for certain models of the Dodge, GMC, and Chevy badge.

Key Features
  • Choice of manual or power replacement side mirrors
  • Dual glass lens system: plane and convex
  • Behind-the-mirror temperature sensor and electric heater
  • Angle-tilt adjustment
  • Compatible with most 1994-2009 Dodge Ram, 1999-2006 GMC Sierra, and 1999-2002 Chevy Silverado (depending on ECCPP variants)
  • 12-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand ECCPP
  • Model 050263EP
  • Weight 18.8 lbs

Designed a lot like the ECCPP mirrors but priced a little bit higher, the DNA Motoring towing mirrors are a good alternative to clip-on mirror extensions, especially if you’ve got the 2009-2016 models of the Dodge Ram. If you don’t, then you’re better off with universal towing mirrors. The DNA Motoring comes with a tilt mechanism that allows the orientation of the mirror to be instantly changed from horizontal to vertical in a jiffy.

Frosting is not a problem either as the DNA Motoring comes with a heating element that works well with its thermal sensor. Unlike the ECCPP, however, this one is only available as a power side mirror. You’ve got to be ready to take out your car’s side mirror, though.

Key Features
  • Power side mirror replacement
  • Towing mirror angle tilt adjustment
  • Built-in temperature sensor with integrated heating element
  • Compatible with 2009-2016 Dodge Ram 1500
  • Compatible with 2010-2016 Dodge Ram 2500, 3500, 4500, 5500
Specification
  • Brand DNA MOTORING
  • Model TWM-013-T111-BK
  • Weight 24.4 lbs

Compared to the CIPA 10950, the 10800 is actually shorter by two inches but taller by half an inch. This gives this pair of mirror extensions a rounder profile compared to its slightly elongated, extra-slim 10950 cousin. Like the 10950, however, the 10800 can only be used on select models of GMC, Chevy, and Cadillac vehicles, so it really is important to double check the product’s specifications so you don’t end up with the wrong caravan mirrors.

One positive thing about CIPA towing mirrors is that they’re relative easy to install and are quite secure, especially when the wedge lock is put into place. And the 10800 is also cheaper than the 10950.

Key Features
  • Custom slide-in easy-install design
  • 4.5-inch wide and 5.75-inch tall extension mirror
  • With accompanying wedge lock and threaded tightening knob
  • Compatible with 1999-2006 Chevy/GMC Sierra and Silverado
  • Compatible with 2000-2006 Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, and Avalanche
  • Compatible with 2000-2006 GMC Yukon, Denali, and Yukon XL
  • Compatible with 2000-2006 Cadillac Escalade
  • 12-month limited warranty
Specification
  • Brand CIPA
  • Model 10800
  • Weight 4.2 lbs

Like the other two towing mirrors from Fit System in this list, the 81850 is a really easy-to-install system. It doesn’t come with straps that can obscure one’s view on the mirrors and its design is going to provide what it’s intended to do. There’s just one bit of an issue, though. The 81850 is designed specifically for the Ford F-150 series of truck from year models 2015 and upwards.

This somehow limits the 81850’s usefulness as there are plenty of pre-2015 F-150 owners who would also want to have this baby on their side mirrors. Regardless, maybe the other universal towing mirrors from Fit System will be a good alternative.

Key Features
  • Easy snap-on mirror extension design
  • Especially molded to fit OEM vehicle side mirror
  • Compatible with the 2015-2018 Ford F150
  • Doesn’t interfere with full functionality of OE side mirror
  • Vibration- and rattle- free mounting
Specification
  • Brand Fit System
  • Model 81850
  • Weight 3.3 lbs

Best Towing Mirrors Buying Guide & FAQ

Features to Consider When Buying Towing Mirrors

Picking the best towing mirrors means you’ve got to do a little digging into the various features that each single pair of towing mirrors have. More importantly, you’d have to be ready with the list of features that you would like to have on your vehicle. Here are several of them that you might want to give a thought or two.

  • Type of towing mirrors

One of the things you need to consider is the type of towing mirrors you want on your vehicle. There are small convex mirrors or hot spot mirrors that you can easily stick onto the surface of your mirror using the built-in adhesive tape at the back of the gadget. These are inexpensive and won’t require any extensive work.

You can also go for custom slip-on systems. These are specialty caravan mirrors that are designed specifically for a certain make, model, and year or vehicle. These can be easily slipped onto your existing side mirror often serving as mirror extensions. The beauty of these designs is that they don’t require any effort in its installation. The downside, of course, is that if the product is not compatible with your vehicle, then there’s nothing else you can do.

To address the issue posed by car make-, brand-, year-, and model- specific custom slip-on towing mirrors, you can get universal towing mirrors instead. These can be used on any type, brand, or make of vehicle whether it is brand new or already old. The point is that there are usually clamps or straps that will help secure the towing mirrors onto your current system. It’s a hassle-free solution, but one that comes with a price – it really won’t look good on your car. In all likelihood, these mirror extensions can increase drag and may even damage your car’s body if the system is not correctly mounted.

The last type is permanent towing mirrors. These are actually replacement side mirrors but are essentially designed specifically for your car and for the sole purpose of towing. Since you’ll be replacing your original side mirror this type of towing mirror is best reserved for those who will be hauling campers and trailers every day of their waking lives. But if you’re just going to need it on a once-monthly trek, it really is not a wise call.

  • LED mirrors

Some towing mirrors come with integrated directional arrow LED lighting system that is typically wired to the turn signals and brake lights of your car. These can be exceptional features to help improve safety especially when turning or perhaps even braking.

  • Heated mirrors

This is a special feature that works exceptionally well in colder environments where snow or ice can make the mirror hazy. A temperature sensor is typically built just on the underside of the mirror. A heating element is activated to help clear up the snowy haze.

  • Telescopic design

An extendable mirror is a good feature to have especially if you have an unusually large, tall, or wide carriage at the back. The telescopic design of the caravan mirrors enlarges your view of the entire scope of the trailer or camper.

  • Ease of installation

Portable caravan towing mirrors are very easy to install as they can either be clamped or slipped onto existing side mirrors. Permanent fixtures, on the other hand, will require replacement of the original side mirror including connecting it to the correct wires.

  • Field of view

The wider or larger your field of view, the better is your chance of maneuvering your trailer safely and efficiently. Convex mirrors can provide a good view of the rear, although a large plane surface should do equally well.

Benefits of Using Towing Mirrors

Mirror extensions, caravan mirrors, and towing mirrors provide a vastly improved view of everything at the back of your vehicle, but most importantly the trailer or camper that you’re towing. This is one of the greatest benefits of having such systems installed on your car. When you’re towing something that is essentially bigger than your vehicle your field of view of the rear and of the sides is substantially reduced. You won’t be able to see any vehicles that may be at the back of your trailer attempting to pass you. If you’re backing up or even maneuvering your trailer it can be especially tricky, too, since you clearly don’t have the ‘whole’ picture of your trailer behind you.

In other countries like the UK, there are also laws that require the installation of caravan mirrors. For instance, all drivers of vehicles that tow a caravan are required by law to have a minimum of 20-meter visual field at the rear and 4 meters on either side of the caravan being towed. In other words you should be able to see at least 20 meters from the back of the trailer you’re towing and 4 meters on either side of the trailer, not your towing vehicle. If you fail to comply with this requirement, you’re bound to incur a £1,000 fine, a 3-point penalty, or even a day in court. Getting caravan towing mirrors should help you avoid such penalties.

Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of the best towing mirrors is the peace of mind these give you while you’re driving. You have better grasp of what’s happening behind you and on your sides. This makes you feel more confident so you can focus on your driving instead of worrying on the things developing at the back.

Towing Mirrors Maintenance

Maintaining your towing mirrors is quite easy as it simply follows the care you put into your standard side mirror. Debris should be removed and the surfaces of the mirror should be cleaned. If there are chrome furnishings, having these polished is also a good idea. For portable clip-ons or slide-ins, they must be removed from their attachments for a more thorough cleaning. This will also give you the opportunity to clean the backside of the original side mirror.

You may also want to use an appropriate glass cleaner to maintain the clarity of the glass. Make sure to use the correct cleaning cloth so as not to scratch the mirror’s surface. If there are electrical components make sure to have these checked as well.

FAQ

Q:  What are towing mirrors?

Towing mirrors are especially designed mirrors systems that allow you to have improved visibility of whatever it is you’re towing. The increased visibility can help improve overall safety while driving while at the same time towing.

Q:  How do towing mirrors work?

Regardless of the mirror design, towing mirrors work by increasing the field of view on the mirror, substantially eliminating blind spots, and giving you a full-length view of your trailer or camper all the way to the corners of the back-end. Extendable mirrors increase the lateral field of view, enabling you to see more of the sides of your trailer as well their immediate surroundings. Convex mirrors, on the other hand, provide a wide-angle view of the road behind you including the side and the back corner of the trailer.

Q:  Will the mirrors fold back if I happen to hit something in the parking lot?

It depends on the model and type of your towing mirror. For portable ones that are clipped onto existing side mirrors, if the side mirrors fold back when they hit something then the towing mirrors fold back as well.

Q:  How do towing mirrors fit onto my car?

Universal towing mirrors can be easily fitted onto any brand and model of car as long as the mounting mechanism on the mirror meets the minimize specifications of the car’s side mirror. There are also custom-built towing mirrors that can be slipped onto the OEM side mirror. However, it is crucial to pick the correct model for your car. More permanent options require the replacement of the original side mirror with a replacement towing mirror.

Q:  My car has electric mirrors. Will this be an issue?

Permanent towing mirrors offer the advantage of retaining the full functionality of electric mirrors. From those with built-in LED lights to heaters and power motors, there are certain towing mirrors that can address these concerns. However, it is often best to have a professional install it for you especially if you’re not really familiar with your car’s electrical system.

Our Top Pick for Best Towing Mirror

There are a number of contenders for the best towing mirrors in this list. However, majority of them are limited by the fact that they can only be used on certain brands and models of vehicles such as GMC and Chevy. But not everyone actually has these brands of ride. As such, our top pick goes to Fit System’s 3891 Deluxe Universal Clip-on Trailer Towing Mirror. It is a really practical solution to increase your field of view of the rear and sides of whatever you’re towing. It is also very easy to install and, best of all, you can install it on any vehicle that has a side mirror provided it is not taller than 11.5 inches. While the straps may be cumbersome, you’d still retain pretty much the field of view of your original side mirror while adding the enhanced FOV of the 3891.

The best towing mirrors can improve your safety while towing heavy, large, and lengthy loads. Some are very easy to install while others may require replacing the current side mirror. Overall, everything boils down to how often you’ll be towing trailers, campers, and caravans.

Sources

  1. Caravan Mirrors and Cameras – How Important are They?, Camping and Caravanning Club
  2. How Towing Mirrors Work, HowStuffWorks Auto

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