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Folding vs. Fixed Side Mirrors: Pros and Cons

Car side mirrors are an important part of a car that ensures safety as well as enhances the aesthetic appeal.

There are two different kinds of side mirrors; folding and fixed side mirrors, both are popular among car owners who prefer them due to their convenience, driving area, routine, and car requirements. Both are great in functioning but the reality is both have their pros and cons which we will discuss in detail in the next section with a quick introduction to each type.

Fixed Side Mirrors: The Traditional Approach

Fixed Side Mirrors are the common, simple, and basic type of car side mirrors that car owners have been using traditionally since the invention of the car. As the name says, these mirrors are inflexible so they remain in one place and guarantee a stable rare view which lessens the risk of accidents. They are comparatively more rugged in structure and also cheaper than the folding ones.

Pros of Fixed Side Mirrors:


Fixed side mirrors are made of only a few parts so they possess no complexity in structure and rarely face malfunctioning. As they have a simple design, it is easy to repair them in case of damage.

-Lower Cost:

Another advantage of fixed-side mirrors besides their simplicity is their pocket-friendly cost. As they have a fixed position and are not electrically controlled, they are relatively cheaper than folding side mirrors. This cost-efficiency also proves beneficial in case of an accident where you have to repair or replace damaged or broken side mirrors.


Fixed side mirrors are made of hard material which makes them endure every kind of road condition such as dust, and road debris as well as harsh weather conditions like humidity, rain, snow, drear, haze, and the like. As they are mechanically simple in structure and have no intricate machinery run on electricity as in folding side mirrors, they stay free from the impacts of fluctuations in humidity levels and hot or cold temperatures.

-Reduced Maintenance:

Taking care of and maintaining fixed side mirrors is super easy as they don’t have any complex machinery to look after. The greatest advantage is that the fixed side mirrors have fewer to zero chances of wearing out as they rarely get an issue with this much simple machinery. Also, in case of any damage, they are easy to repair with a little professional aid and a small amount of repair money.

Cons of Fixed Side Mirrors

-Limited Versatility

Though the simplicity of fixed side mirrors is a great benefit, in some cases it can be a big drawback as well. As they lack flexibility or are immovable, parking or driving the car in a preoccupied area becomes difficult. Also, in case of serious adjustments, the uninstall is manual and requires physical effort, unlike the folding ones which can be bothersome. They also become a bit problematic in washing the car, especially in automatic washing, and can get damaged or broken. Moreover, unlike folding side mirrors, you can not adjust the mirrors as per your view convenience which makes driving a bit uneasy.

-Parking Challenges

Many times you come across a situation when you have to park your car in a congested parking area where there is rather small space to adjust the car in. In such cases, fixed side mirrors can become an issue as they can not be tucked in like folding side mirrors and therefore do not support letting the car fit in and be parked.

-Potential for Damage

Fixed side mirrors are immovable and this characteristic contributes to their vulnerability to potential wear or breakage. Fixed side mirrors are prone to get damaged when you are driving the car in a jam surrounded by a lot of vehicles where any of them close enough may strike the side and break the mirror. While parked or being parked in an area where there is heavy traffic or less parking space, there are high chances of possible damage to the side mirrors.

-Wind Resistance

The robustness of the fixed side mirror causes an aerodynamic drag especially while driving the car at a fast speed so the car requires extra effort to pace ahead which results in minimized fuel efficiency. The wind resistance of the side mirrors also makes it difficult to drive at high wind speed due to reduced visibility as the air directly hits the driver’s face. Also, driving at a high speed with fixed side mirrors produces noise and in extreme conditions vibration which is quite unpleasant to ears unless you draw up the windshield.

-Visibility Challenges

Fixed side mirrors generally come with restricted adjustability, unlike retractable side mirrors which negatively impact the driver’s command over mirror adjustment for an optimal rear view that he needs to modify according to his height. In extreme weather conditions like rain, the visibility of fixed side mirrors is greatly affected as they lack adaptability which can result in a blurry view and potential damage to the vehicle.

Folding Side Mirrors: The Versatile Option

Folding side mirrors are modern and in-demand side mirrors that are retractable in design. They have an inner machinery for automatic functioning which runs on electricity provided by the car battery. These mirrors are movable can be tucked automatically inside the car and can be adjusted according to the driver’s choice. They also offer parking convenience and enhanced aerodynamics.

Pros of Folding Side Mirrors


Folding side mirrors are highly adaptable as you can retract them while driving through crowded, bushy, or rocky areas which can cause damage to side mirrors in case of friction. There is an option of driver memory in folding side mirrors which allows multiple drivers to save their mirror settings in one car for better driving with ease.

-Parking Convenience

One of the greatest advantages of installing folding mirrors is their contribution to parking convenience. Whether the space is small in the parking lot or not you do not need to worry as you can retract the mirrors to make the car adjustable in that area. This retraction also prevents any damage to mirrors while being parked if another driver parks or starts his car and accidentally hits yours.

-Protection from Damage

Folding side mirrors allow drivers to tuck the mirrors in while driving through swarmed places to avoid getting struck by other vehicles or pedestrians and also hitting any other object like rocks, trash bins, etc. which results in damage prevention. Moreover, the chances of stealing folding mirrors are fewer than their counterparts as they have a complex operating mechanism that is not easy and quick to break.

-Reduced Wind Resistance

While driving on a road or highway at a high speed where there is no traffic, folding the mirrors allows improved aerodynamics with zero wind resistance which results in smooth driving and better fuel efficiency as there is no need to drag the car. The noise degeneration in this regard also boosts the overall driving convenience.

-Enhanced Visibility

Folding side mirrors allow the driver to make adjustments according to his height and view which helps in better rear view visibility and secure driving. Additionally, while driving the gust does not bother the driver as the mirrors are already in great compatibility and adjustment with the driver’s seating and view and do not hit the driver’s face which ensures clarity in vision.

Cons of Folding Side Mirrors

-Mechanical Complexity

Folding side mirrors run on a complex mechanism that allows them to automatically move. Damages happen to these mirrors in case of carelessness while driving, bumping into an object or other vehicle, etc. require professional repair as the operating system is intricate and demands proficient dealing. In case of any inner part greatly damaged, you will be required to install that part all of which will cost you much money.

-Increased Cost

Folding side mirrors are much more expensive as compared to fixed side mirrors and as we mentioned above, any damage that happens to them will cost you a great deal of money. Either fixing the mirror or replacing it, both require the hands of a professional which brings more cost burden.

-Maintenance Requirements

The additional parts and electronic components in folding side mirrors can inflict higher maintenance expenses compared to fixed mirrors. Fixation or alternation of these mirrors is much more intricate and follows expensive procedures that demand skilled hands.

-Inefficiency When Not in Use

As they are operated by a mechanical system, the inner machinery can be damaged due to several environmental factors like humidity, dust, etc. which can lead to the formation of rust and mold which results in malfunctioning. When you have decided to keep the car inactive for a long time, make sure to maintain the folding mirrors properly to avoid unnecessary repair costs.

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