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Wing mirrors not needed.


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The recent thread about wing mirrors not being fitted with at least two of the potential options makes me think it is time to revisit a personal soapbox.

I could of course buy a BMW and be free from the tyranny of using either mirrors or indicators because nobody expects you to use them but seriously there is no justification for wing mirrors.

The central rear view mirror is essential. It is cheap and used every few seconds but the door or wing mirror  has become redundant and overcomplicated.

Begin with a piece of reflective glass. Next add two electric motors and some complicated switchgear and wiring to move it around which makes it much more expensive to repair or replace. Add to that a useful heating element for those too lazy to clean them (so while defrosted, they are probably dirty anyway.) Let's motorise it so that instead of people keeping out of the way in the supermarket car park, they drag themselves down the side of the car to the detriment of the paintwork and add a vulnerable indicator repeater for the sole benefit of those who are so poor at driving that they haven't seen the indicators on the front and back of the car and worked out the intention of the signal (if not necessarily that of the driver.) A further add-on is the "puddle light." This could be, and was, fitted into the underside of the door. It could be fitted into a cill and doesn't need to be on flexible wiring routed through a door. If, of course it is needed at all. Auto dimming is expensive to fit and repair. It contains some nasty chemicals, which if broken harm the paintwork for little real advantage.

Then there is BLIS. A Godsend that by its very brilliance proves the limitation of mirrors by seeing where the mirror cannot.

Place this now overcomplicated, fragile and expensive object in the most vulnerable place to add noise and aerodynamic drag so the fuel consumption and emissions both rise and the folly is complete.

Three TV cameras will do the job of rear view for a fraction of the cost and far more efficiently. The third camera reads the driver, learning the eye position and adjusting the field of view for short or tall drivers, recognising where the eyes are pointed, so that the instrument panel, which these days is replaced by  a screen, can display the rear view when required. There will be fewer faulty cameras than damaged mirrors so the reliability of the rear view systems is not an issue.

(Electronics isn't sorcery, even if you don't understand it. Your Fiesta MK8 contains tens of billions of transistors and they keep working for the life of the vehicle without giving as much trouble as the pitchfork wielding yokels would have you believe.)

BLIS can be indicated on the screen and the camera can adjust the field of view to virtually eliminate the blind spot which is the fundamental purpose of a rear view system, so why (apart from a legal requirement that would be overturned by any sensible court,) are we still fitting side mirrors?

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My personal soapbox. Cars haven’t had wing mirrors since 1970s or perhaps earlier. They changed to door mirrors 50 years ago. Wing mirrors were hopeless, you had to get out of the car to wipe them or adjust them.  A car with wing mirrors.  

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10 minutes ago, isetta said:

Cars haven’t had wing mirrors since 1970s or perhaps earlier.

Yes indeed. The only car I have ever had with a wing mirror (just the one) was a 1968 Escort Mk1

I then moved on to a 1975 Escort Mk2 with ........... No outside mirrors 🤣 So I bought a pair of those new fangled door mirror things. First car I had with electrically adjustable door mirrors was a 1988 Orion GL Plus model.

I wonder in America do people still refer to them as "Fender Mirrors" ?

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1 hour ago, unofix said:

Yes indeed. The only car I have ever had with a wing mirror (just the one) was a 1968 Escort Mk1...

My first ever car, a 1971 Datsun 120y had door mirrors, though I do remember my mums 60s Triumph Dolomite & Morris Minor having mirrors mounted on the wings LOL

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Out of interest, does anyone else suffer from vertigo type symptoms when watching a reverse camera?  I've only had them in a couple of cars but my brain just can't comprehend the idea of moving backwards, while looking forwards, and the screen movement also appearing to move forwards! :unsure:

I'm a big fan of door mirrors personally - helps park tightly alongside kerbs on narrow roads or in tight bay spaces.  Also accept the point that they're in a vulnerable position, however fitting everything on that one component (side repeater, puddle light, BLIS, etc) makes factory build costs much quicker and cheaper.  The idea of having to drill holes in the chassis (which is then vulnerable to water ingress) and run wiring down to the sill for a puddle light would be much more work.  As we all know, every second they can shave off factory build, they will!

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3 hours ago, TomsFocus said:

Out of interest, does anyone else suffer from vertigo type symptoms when watching a reverse camera?  

I think vertigo must be like back pain - it affects different people in different ways!

I have BPPV and am very uncomfortable with travelling "back to engine" (as we used to say) on a train, but not had bother with the reverse camera. That said, I use my door mirrors for the bulk of reversing manoeuvres and just give the camera the odd glance when backing up to something.

Interesting main point in this thread though. Like most car stuff mirrors have become increasingly complex over time and I can see that cameras could well be cheaper, simpler, and have aerodynamic benefits.

Some cars like the Honda E are already equipped with cameras instead of door mirrors. Main snag seems to be the ones I've seen so far still stick out on little stalks so are still vulnerable to damage.

 

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7 minutes ago, Eric Bloodaxe said:

I think vertigo must be like back pain - it affects different people in different ways!

In fairness, I haven't been diagnosed with anything specific in that area so it may not be vertigo as such.  Only have to walk on a slight incline, turn my head slightly while walking forward, step on something bouncy (grass etc), see motion on TV or look up diagonally at something to trigger it.  Incredibly frustrating and causing a huge 'real world' impact.  One of the main reasons I haven't been able to drive or travel in any way for the last 18 months.  However, the best advice I've been given so far is just 'keep trying'...  :rolleyes: 

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