Passenger mirror exploded


#1

I read a previous post about and exploding passenger mirror and it gave me the chills. I drive a 2012 LR4, which I bought new a few years ago. Today, I was driving and suddenly there was a loud explosion from the passenger side mirror. It was a jarring noise, it sounded like a shotgun. The mirror exploded from the inside out. The mirror came out of its casing and slammed into my passenger window, cracking, and hanging by the wires that connect it to the rest of the unit. Simultaneously, the back of the mirror flew off the opposite way and landed several feet away on the side of the road.

Like the other person who indicated that this happened to them, I can assure you that:
A) There was a very large explosion/boom that accompanied the mirror breaking and popping out of its casing.
B) I did NOT hit anything, and nothing hit me. It exploded from the inside. There were no marks indicating I hit anything or anything flew up from the road.
D) It was not weather related as it was a nice day.
F) If this were to happen to someone while they were driving on the freeway or driving in traffic, it could have very serious safety implications not only for the people inside the vehicle but other vehicles near by if they were to lose control of their car in response to the loud explosion.
G) There was someone else in my car who witnessed this

Has this happened to anyone else? If so, did you find out what caused this? I am taking my car in to the dealer tomorrow. I searched the internet and it sounds like this has happened before, although not frequently.


#2

Someone posted about this before here on the Car Talk forums. Use the search feature in the upper right, just under “new discussion”, you may be able to find it.


#3

Glass can sometimes get stressed just right and the tiniest jolt or vibration can cause it to give up.

About 15 years ago I backed out from our local post officer in my Subaru (very small town), started off, and the left rear door glass shattered with a bang.

And for the obvious thought, this was not vandalism, shooting, or anything like that as the building shielded the car and there is absolutely nothing in the direction the glass was facing.

A few years ago a new windshield was installed in one of my cars. I picked the car up at the glass shop, drove it 20 miles home, and parked it. The next morning I walked out and found the new glass cracked halfway down from the rearview mount.
The glass shop of course said that I must have mistakenly hit the mirror hardand which was not the case. I had adjusted the mirror at the shop when picking the car up and never touched it again before locking the car at the house.

I was told by another glass guy that sometimes the glue used and the size of the mirror pad can cause glass to crack due to heating and cooling cycles in the glass. This question was posed to a few glass companies such as PPG, Safelite, etc but I never got a definitive answer from them about the glue situation.


#4

Happened to me years ago, 1978, to be exact. I was driving from KC Mo to minneapolis on a nice summer day. About 25 miles north of De Moines, the passenger window blew into a million little pieces with a loud bang. Scared the snot out of me. I pulled over, and once I got my heart restarted, I took a look at it. Never figured what caused it. Doorglass from a junk yard solved the problem.


#5

I’ve heard of water glasses exploding while sitting on a shelf. It all has to do with how the glass is manufactured. The manufacturing, shaping and molding, sets up stresses in the glass, which have to be relieved by going through the correct thermal cycle. If this is not done, or done incorrectly, the glass still has the internal stresses and can explode any time.

b


#6

Years ago I had a 75 Nova 4 door. Got rear ended in Georgetown, no biggie these things happen. About 20 minutes later the friend that was with me tried to roll the passenger front window down. The glass just shattered and yes it sounded like a small explosion. Turns out the whole body was tweaked just a bit more than was thought at first glance.


#7

I agree with @billRussel, about the water glasses. Many years ago a girlfriend and I would frequent a fancy restaurant that had a “South Seas” atmosphere.
If you ordered one of their “Island drinks” you got to take the glass home. We went back to her place, she rinsed the glasses and set them in the dish rack to wash the next day. We sat in the kitchen for at least an hour with no indication of the glasses breaking. When we went into the kitchen in the morning the glasses were shattered into tiny pieces.

I think I remember her mentioning it to the manager next time we went there and he gave us two new glasses.

Yosemite


#8

Good reason to keep the windows closed.


#9

I’ve had an oval rear glass of a Taurus go into tiny piece mode while sitting in a area where it would have been abnormal for anyone to be near enough to take aim and shoot it. There is always the possibility that it was hit by a descending bullet shot from afar, but I never found any evidence of a bullet.

I’ve never heard of a mirror exploding, but I have had the mirror glass fall out of its housing. It was loud as it hit the door. Perhaps that’s what the OP heard.

What happened to B, C, and E?


#10

Hi LR4,

Interesting to have learnt about your experience. I was searching about this strange “phenomenon” in the web for incident like yours which happened to me earlier in the noon. And i’m glad that i’m not alone.

It was a nice weather and was driving at speed of between 40 to 50km/h when suddenly a loud “BANG” happened and intuitively i look into the side where the sound came from. It is where at this point i saw the left wing mirror was badly cracked and it’s hanging in the air with a wire attached to the side wing mirror holder mechanism. It was really bizarre!!

I was suspecting on whether could the mirror exploded prior to my car’s exterior mirror heating function…as i’ve always position it in the heating position.

I have however managed to position the “exploded” mirror back to the wing housing and could only wait till Monday to get to the workshop to get if fix.

I’m driving a Volkswagen Passat B7 - 1.8 tsi. I’m from Singapore. Following this link to the image of my exploded left exterior mirror.


#11

Here’s a further view of the image for the exploded mirror.


#12

Like I said before, who knows? Recently though I happened to hit the side of my garage with my mirror and shattered it. I ordered an exact fit replacement for about $25. It was exact fit and exactly identical to OEM. Hardest part was picking up the glass shards on the garage floor. Wear gloves. Replacing a mirror is not the end of the world but another case for driving with your windows up.


#13

Hi, my mirror exploded on my 1yr old Honda and the dealership is stating that something must have hit it from the back and force it forward. My response to him is that how could something have hit my mirror from the back with my cars being still. He stated I don’t know but man this is not a manufacturer problem something hit it from the back you can see a crack down the back of it. Informed him that something exploded and if it hit the back shouldn’t the back have more than just a crack going down it? It really bothers me that car manufacturers will know that there was something going on but try to make the customer feel as if no it has to be your fault even though you did nothing we have a problem going on but we’re not going to admit to it. Has anyone had this happen and the car dealership fixed it do to a manufacturer issue? Maybe I’m saying the wrong thing when I take the vehicle up there but it seemed this managers just Shrugged it off as if no we are not going to pay for that. This is some scary stuff something could have happened to my kids the glass cut up popped in my car and got into one of our eyes! I’m really bothered that they want to say I don’t care if your car was in park standing still you still did this something hit it. They proceeded to tell me how strong this mirror is and that some someone could hang from this mirror and it would not break and asked me was anyone mowing around my vehicle to call something to ricocheted and hit the back of it and make it slam into my window. The answer to those questions is no this thing exploded out of nowhere and slammed against my window but I’m being told no ma’am there’s a crack down the back so it must have been something that hit it we don’t know what could have hit it strong enough or that would be so forceful enough to cause this secure side view mirror to shatter. Sigh what can I do?


#14

It is entirely possible that while it was in the parking lot, someone hit it and didn’t say anything. They put a stress crack in it and you never knew it until heat or whatever finally popped it. Or it could have been a manufacturing defect or rough handling in assembly, who knows? You can keep arguing but there really is no resolution and you’re just going to need to fix it anyway. You can continue up the chain of command to try and recover your costs so keep the old parts.


#15

I concur w/ @Bing above, presuming you are talking about an outside mirror @Mew . The most likely explanation is the mirror was damaged from something hitting it on the rear side of the mirror housing (that’s the front side of the car), and that stressed the mirror’s glass, causing it to eventually break. I’ve seen exterior mirror damaged when the driver tries to squeeze past something and doesn’t realize while the car can make it, the mirror can’t. One time, while driving a rental car, I hit the exterior mirror on the front side (towards the rear of the car) when backing out of a garage, the mirror contacting the garage door casing. Fortunately for me, the car designers knew I’d do that, and designed the mirror housing w/a spring in it … lol … it just hinged back, no harm done.


#16

If the back of the mirror (the housing) is cracked, it’s not from the mirror glass “exploding”, a mirror shattering does not have enough force to crack the housing.

The mirror housing must have been hit hard enough to crack the housing and shatter the mirror.