Mirror, Mirror on the Truck…are You Spec’ing Them Right?
November 1, 2004
TORONTO, Ont. - One of the last things that's probably on your mind when spec'ing a new truck is the mirrors. But when you're glancing at them hundreds of times per driving shift, it's definitely a component worth thinking about.
TORONTO, Ont. – One of the last things that’s probably on your mind when spec’ing a new truck is the mirrors. But when you’re glancing at them hundreds of times per driving shift, it’s definitely a component worth thinking about.
The number of options available just may surprise you.
One of the most common types of mirrors specified on Class 8 highway tractors is the traditional 6×17-inch West Coast style mirror. In Canada, heated mirrors are pretty much a standard spec’, with lighted mirrors also quite popular. Spec’ing heated mirrors is essentially a no-brainer if operating anywhere in Canada, where the mirrors tend to fog or ice up during the winter.
The cost premium is negligible when compared to mirrors that aren’t heated.
How the mirrors are mounted on the truck may have an impact on the amount of vibration they are subjected to.
Where are they mounted?
Some OEMs mount the mirrors to the cab cowl rather than the door to reduce vibration.
Other truck makers opt to mount their mirrors to the A-pillar rather than the door itself.
A small investment that will pay big dividends in the convenience department is remote-controlled mirrors on the passenger side.
It’s easy to adjust the driver’s side mirrors from within the cab, but having a remote-control mounted on the console for the passenger side mirrors can save you time and frustration when making adjustments – especially if you share the truck with another driver and frequent adjustments are necessary.
There have been a number of enhancements to the mirrors available on today’s highway tractors. Most OEMs now offer mirrors that are much more aerodynamic than their predecessors. Since the mirrors are the only component that stands out in the air stream, aerodynamics are an important consideration if you want to optimize your fuel efficiency.
OEMs have optimized the way the air flows over the mirrors and have also made adjustments to ensure water streams off the mirrors to the outside, rather than the inside, so the windows don’t get overly wet when it’s raining out, interfering with the driver’s view.
There are different spec’ing considerations when buying a vocational truck.
Those vehicles tend to have more rugged mirrors and aerodynamics are less of a concern.
Typically for off-highway applications you’ll want mirrors that are more easily replaced and perhaps less expensive as there’s a greater chance of damage.
Some OEMs provide mirrors that can be replaced with no tools at all, which is handy if you knock one off.
Breakaway mirrors are essential for vocational applications, but virtually all of today’s truck mirrors are designed to fold in upon impact.
If you’re having your truck custom-built, some OEMs can provide an external temperature gauge on the mirror which allows you to monitor the condition of the roads.
If it’s nearing the freezing point it’s a handy function to have as it could alert you to black ice or other hazards.
And then there’s the general appearance of the mirrors themselves which is another spec’ing consideration.
If you’re an image conscious owner/operator you can’t go wrong with chromed mirrors, but if cost is your primary consideration than mirrors without chrome will serve the purpose equally well.
A couple of products have recently been introduced to the marketplace to improve the functionality of Class 8 truck mirrors.
One is a wiper assembly for truck mirrors that can clear the mirror of dirt, debris and condensation improving a driver’s visibility.
The Mirror Wiper Device was developed by a former trucker from Ashland, Wisconsin and is easily installed on either side of the truck.
It’s lightweight and especially useful when backing up in poor weather, its inventor says.
“I have driven a truck for 47 years. During my adventures on the road, I have always tried to think of ways to make trucking better and safer for drivers,” the inventor said.
The design has been submitted to Invention Submission Corporation (ISC) and is available for licensing or sale to manufacturers.
Another invention recently submitted to ISC is an external truck mirror that provides an expanded field of vision.
The Double Wide View Mirrors allow a driver to see right to the rear of a tractor-trailer which is designed to assist with sharp turns or backing up.
It was also designed by a former truck driver in the U.S. and is now available for licensing or sale to manufacturers.
For more information on both products contact ISC at 1 (412) 288-1300 ext. 1368.