Clearview tow mirrors: Product Test
Many caravanners despair about folding or clip-on tow mirrors; these large Clearview replacement mirrors may be the answer.
I am regularly frustrated with clip-on towing mirrors. If I’m not knocking them out of adjustment, someone or something else is. Usually it’s an oncoming truck, whose vortex sometimes folds them back against the window, leaving you to roll down the glass to set them right again, on the fly.
But this time, with nearly 8000km ahead of us to tow our new long-term Coronet XT-2 5950 from Melbourne to the lower Cape York Peninsula and back, I decided I would try something different and had Clearview fit a pair of its large, slide-out replacement mirrors to my Land Rover Discovery 3.
The timing was perfect as, after launching six years ago with replacement mirrors for the most popular Toyotas, Nissans and Mitsubishis, Clearview has recently expanded its range to encompass more than 20 popular tow vehicles including Discovery 3 and 4 models.
What also attracted me to Clearview is they are a full replacement towing mirror, bolting straight on to the three bolts holding the Disco’s original convex mirrors in around 15 minutes with no modifications. This means the original mirrors can be just as quickly refitted for resale and your Clearview mirrors can be fitted to your next tow car.
The mirrors also plug straight into the original wiring harness, so they retain the electrical adjustment of the original mirror and its clearance lights or turning indicators, if fitted.
ON THE ROAD
The first thing you notice about the Clearview mirrors is their size. Clearview founder Mike Cowan based them on the mirrors fitted to an American Chevy Silverado so, not surprisingly, they stood out like elephant ears on my Disco.
This made them a little tricky in supermarket car parks, where their extra 100mm width, compared with most standard mirrors, can be a liability in tight situations. If this is a problem, the mirrors can be folded backwards or forwards against the vehicle. However, once on the open road with the 2.44m (8ft)-wide Coronet behind, they really came into their own.
The unique feature of the Clearview mirrors is that their head slides out 110mm manually on twin stainless steel arms to give you a clear view down the side of virtually any caravan.
But unlike a conventional convex (curved glass) exterior mirror, the upper glass that covers more than two thirds of the Clearview mirror is flat glass, while the lower third is a fixed convex pane to eliminate blind spots that might hide overtaking vehicles.
They certainly work, but it took me a little while to adjust to referencing the two different views when it came to overtaking and turning. I also found this a little confusing at night, when, effectively, I saw four sets of headlights from a following vehicle.
However, this was more than offset by the joy of never having to adjust or remove them and they were never once blown in by a passing truck – even a road train!
The other thing that really impressed me about the Clearview mirrors was their superb finish. The mirror head is either powder-coated in black (as ours were) or chrome finished, and even a few bumps and scrapes failed to mark them.
My only wish, as I handed them back, was that the larger part of the mirror was curved, as this was the part most quickly referenced when overtaking. The smaller flat mirror part could then be used for checking caravan wheel clearance, such as on roundabouts and concrete park slabs. But everyone else I spoke to was delighted with theirs just the way they were.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #544 December 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!