I have been having an issue recently which may or may not be related to this other problem that I have been having regarding the heating element in the left wing mirror on my car.


I have that with the switch in the above position, only the right wing mirror was becoming clearer. Sure enough, when I got out in a car park to have a closer look at them I noticed that the right wing mirror was indeed warm (as it should be) but the left one was still cold and harder to see as a result.

Left Wing Mirror

  • Is the heating element in that mirror broken?
  • If so, is it an easy fix?

I am hoping that this is not the case and that I can kill two birds with one stone by just replacing the switch (which is probably the cause of the other issue I was having) but at this point I really don't know if that would fix both of my problems.

  • 1
    Now that you point this out, I'm wondering if you have a grounding (earth) issue at the left side mirror. This would account for it not working from the switch and the defrost not working on that side. Just a thought. Feb 7, 2016 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


The heated mirrors have a restive heat strip spiraled around the back of the mirror. It works much like the defrost "wires" on a rear car window but since its a mirror, you can't see them. The MkIII Jetta didn't have a control for the heated mirrors - they were always on, and would fail more often than the switched ones on newer cars, but failure does still happen.

To start testing this, you will need to remove the mirror. I really think it just pops off with some force, but verify that for sure... Disconnect the two-pin wiring connector.

Verify you are getting voltage from the car side, and check resistance on the mirror side. Infinite resistance on the mirror indicates a broken heat wire, and might be repairable with a rear-defrost repair kit, but I've never done it. No power from the car could be a bad fuse, bad switch, or a bad connection somewhere. Those possibilities should be checked in that order.

The mirrors are pretty easy to find "used" at a junk yard or eBay if the repair kit isn't a workable option.

  • So you think the mirror is definitely the problem as opposed to the switch? Also you said "it just pops off with some force"... I believe there is one screw actually, see this for details. Feb 8, 2016 at 19:12
  • I would have to see the design of the switch... Simply because the other mirror does work from the same switch, I would suspect the mirror first. The driver's side mirror on my MkIII stopped heating, but I ended up selling it before I got around to fixing it. I researched the fix and found that in my case the mirror was very likely to fail. Your case is a little unique since you are already having what looks like a switch problem. The switch could be a cause. Popping out the mirror and testing is probably easier than removing the switch.
    – JPhi1618
    Feb 8, 2016 at 19:21
  • Actually, as per this link you provided in chat, the switch looks very easy to replace! One thing to note though, I am in the UK so I'll need to buy the right hand version of the switch. I very nearly bought the wrong one as it was so cheap on Amazon. Here is a link to the correct switch for my car. Feb 8, 2016 at 20:34
  • 1
    You people in the UK driving on the wrong side of the road... That's clearly not my fault.
    – JPhi1618
    Feb 8, 2016 at 20:36

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