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How to adjust your RV MIRRORs properly - driving safely in your Class A Motorhome

Updated on May 11, 2016
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and he shares his knowledge of motorhomes and other RVs.

Road Safety and Mirrors

Road Safety is always the number one concern for the motorhome driver and even for someone towing a camper.

Regardless of what type you own, your RV is not only a big investment, but it must be driven properly to assure the safety of yourself and your family; not to mention everyone else on the road with you.

It really doesn't take long for even the novice RV owner to realize that the US is a big country laced with just about every imaginable type and condition of road.

And, eventually you and your RV are going to find yourselves on every one of these types of roads from the worst to the best.

Of course, when driving an RV you are always concentrating on the road ahead, but when you need to maneuver on the road, those two side mirrors become critical to doing so, in a safe manner.

And, every RV driver needs to have their RV mirrors adjusted for the optimum view of what is beside and behind them at all times.

The proper adjustment of Motorhome mirrors is critical

RV Mirror Adjustments
RV Mirror Adjustments | Source

Adjusting the Mirrors on your Motorhome properly

The proper adjustment of the Mirrors on your RV is critical for "on the road" safety.

Your Rig or Motorhome generally has two 2-piece mirrors extended on 2 adjustable arms on the front of the Rig situated for use by the driver.

Before adjusting the Mirrors, you must realize that these mirror bodies extend outside of a very wide vehicle.

With this in mind, look down the edge of your Rig, and always adjust the Body of your mirrors to have their edge aligned right at the very side of your Rig, and no further out.

A typical Class-A MotorHome, will be close to or right at 8-feet, 6-inches wide, which is the legal limit in most states. And, remember, these mirrors, that extend beyond that limit, will be the first things to get hit by, or to hit, other things when you are driving of parking, your RV.

Proper RV Mirror Adjustment

So, I recommend that you set your right and left mirrors as shown in Figure-1 so that you have the optimum field of vision.

Doing this will give the driver the best combination of views when operating the Rig on the road, as well as when backing up.

Typically, the lower, smaller mirrors of the pair are fixed in place and need to be set manually; while the upper or larger mirrors of the pair are typically adjustable from inside the coach.

This is true for most Rigs, although with some models their positions are reversed.

Ideally, if you have not adjusted your mirrors before, you should first loosen the lock-down bolts on the mirror frames and pre-set the frame as described, and then pre-set he adjustable and fixed mirrors to the middle of their range.

Then, you should sit in the drivers seat, while someone adjusts the mirror frame to where it is close to the setting shown in the figure and described below.

Once you are this close, lock the mirror frame bolts down. These are generally standard Allen Wrench bolts and every RV should have at least one wrench in the toolbox.

The top, or larger, mirrors are not magnifiers, and will give you a larger field of view down the road behind you. So you should set these to allow the driver, once he is comfortably seated in the drivers seat, so that he/she can see the edge of the RV, as well as down the road starting at a point, about halfway down the RV's body.

The lower, smaller mirrors are magnifiers, and will give the driver a smaller field of view, so set the edge further in on the mirror as shown, and so the driver can see the Bottom of the RV body about 8-10 feet behind the driver.

This should give the driver a decent view of almost all vehicles that might be driving directly beside the RV.

Motorhome Wheel Well Marks

In the drawing, you will notice the stars on the lower mirrors.

This is a handy trick you should try. While sitting in the driver’s seat, have your Navigator stand directly beside your rear tire on one side of the RV.

Make a small mark on the mirror where the Navigator's knees are.

Then place a small colored dot where you marked the mirror. Repeat this for the other side of the RV.

Now, when you are parking the RV, you have a nice clear indication of roughly where the rear wheels are. This is especially handy if your wheel wells are hard to see in your mirrors.

Mirror Lane Change Marks

Another aide you might try is the following.

Often, even with a rear view camera, you can have a hard time judging when to go back into a lane after passing another vehicle, especially when towing.

Hook up your tow to your RV, and have your Navigator walk back and stand parallel to the rear of the Tow vehicle.

Mark another spot on your larger mirror at your Navigators knees, and then place a colored dot on that spot on the large mirror.

Repeat this on the other side of the RV. Now, when you are passing another vehicle, and it is a decent distance beyond the dot, you have another indicator that you are safe in returning to your lane.

How to Adjust your RV Mirrors

© 2010 Don Bobbitt


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    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 19 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      R.J.Schwartz - Thanks for the read and the kind comment. It makes me happy when my stories and tips are of use to others.


    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 19 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      This is very useful Don - we're taking our first long RV trip next month and I'll certainly be utilizing the tips!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      Great suggestion, Don. I didn't even know mirrors like that existed. Thanks.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      ktrapp- I had the same problem with my Toyota that you have.

      I just couldn't see some of the vehicles that were in my "blind spot".

      I recommend going to your local auto parts chain store and purchase a pair of the 2-inch diameter mirrors that you then stick to the outer edge of your existing mirror.

      This mirror is concave and gives you a good view of your blind spot so that you will now have a good view for safe lane changes.

      Try it, you will love it.


    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      This caught my attention because I cannot even seem to get the mirrors adjust properly on my little Nissan Rogue. The rear visibility when changing lanes is pretty poor, so I find myself needing to rely on the mirrors more than ever. I cannot imagine driving an RV. I'm sure other drivers will find your RV mirror adjustment diagram incredibly useful. I bet you could make a whole RV guide book of helpful instructions like this. Voted up and useful.