How to Install Aftermarket Heated Mirrors on a Subaru Forester for Clear Winter Vision?

Winter driving presents many challenges, and visibility is perhaps the most crucial one. A clear view of your surroundings – front, rear, and sides – is essential for safe driving. Ironically, winter conditions, with ice and snow, can severely compromise this visibility. One of the devices that can significantly improve winter driving experience is heated mirrors. They can de-ice and defrost themselves, providing you an unobstructed view of the side-traffic. While these mirrors come as standard equipment in many luxury cars, they are often not included in many models, including Subaru Forester. However, the good news is that you can install aftermarket heated mirrors on your Subaru Forester. Let’s look at how you can do this.

Choosing the Right Aftermarket Heated Mirrors

Before you start your installation process, it is essential to choose the right heated mirrors for your Subaru Forester. There’s a wide range of aftermarket heated mirrors available, but not all will fit your car or offer the ease of installation and operation that you need.

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Start by browsing through online forums dedicated to Subaru or car modification. You can usually find threads where users have discussed their experiences with different brands and models of heated mirrors. Look for recommendations that specifically mention the Subaru Forester for the best compatibility.

Ensure the heated mirrors have the necessary wires and connectors for installation. Also, check for any tools you might need for the installation. It is advisable to choose heated mirrors with a clear set of installation instructions.

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Preparing for the Installation

Once you have the right heated mirrors, it’s time to prepare for the installation. First, gather all the tools you’ll need. These usually include a screwdriver, a door panel removal tool, and possibly a wire stripper.

Before you start, it’s a good idea to disconnect the car’s battery. This will prevent any accidental short circuits while you’re manipulating the wires. Also, remember to park your Subaru in a well-lit area to see what you’re doing clearly.

Next, you’ll need to remove the existing mirrors on your Subaru Forester. To do this, you’ll first need to remove the door panel. Use your door panel removal tool to carefully detach the panel from the door. Once the panel is off, you should see the mirror’s mounting screws and wires. Unscrew the screws and disconnect the wires to remove the mirror.

Installing the Heated Mirrors

With the old mirrors removed, you’re now ready to install your new heated mirrors. Start by connecting the wires from the heated mirror to the correct wires on your Subaru Forester. If you’re unsure, consult the wiring diagram provided with the aftermarket heated mirrors.

Once the wires are connected, you can attach the heated mirror to the door. Screw it into place, ensuring it’s securely fastened. Then, reattach the door panel, making sure all clips and screws are in place.

Finally, reconnect your car’s battery and turn on the ignition. Test the heated mirror’s operation to ensure it’s working correctly. If the mirror heats up and the glass clears of fog or ice, then you have successfully installed the heated mirrors.

Maintaining the Heated Mirrors

After the successful installation of your new heated mirrors, it’s critical to maintain them properly to ensure they last and perform at their best. Cleaning them regularly with a soft cloth and a gentle glass cleaner can help prevent any buildup that might affect their performance.

Remember not to use any harsh chemicals or abrasive tools that could scratch or damage the mirror’s surface. If you notice any issues with the heating function, it’d be best to consult a professional or the mirror manufacturer for advice.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with meticulous installation and maintenance, you might still encounter some issues with your heated mirrors. For instance, the mirror might not heat up, or the glass might not clear as it should.

In such cases, the first thing you should check is the wiring. Ensure all wires are connected correctly and securely. If the wires are okay, the issue might be with the mirror itself. Consult the product’s manual or customer service for further troubleshooting steps.

Remember to refer back to this guide if you need to reinstall your heated mirrors or if you decide to upgrade them in the future. Safe driving!

Understanding the Wiring Process

Having selected the right heated mirrors for your Subaru Forester, gathered all essential tools, and prepared the workspace, the next step is to understand the wiring process. This is the heart of the mirror functionality and is of utmost importance for the heated mirrors to work efficiently.

First, you should become familiar with the wiring harness. This is a cluster of wires that power various functions of the side mirrors. In the case of Subaru Forester, it may include wires for power adjustment, auto dimming, and, if you have chosen the correct heated mirrors, for heating the mirror glass.

Second, you should know how to find the correct wires in the door harness of your Subaru Forester to connect the heated mirrors. This information should be available in the vehicle’s manual or through online forum members who have performed similar installations. One wire will be for power, and the other for ground. It’s crucial to connect these correctly.

Lastly, make sure the wiring is secure and properly protected. Wrapping the connected wires with electrical tape or using heat-shrink tubing can prevent potential shorts and provide a cleaner look.

Ensuring Optimum Performance

The final key step is to ensure that your aftermarket heated mirrors are performing at their optimal level. This involves two primary things: checking the rear defrost function and the clarity of the mirror glass.

First, start your Subaru Forester and activate the rear defrost button, which should also activate the heated mirrors. If the mirrors are getting warm, then they are functioning correctly.

Second, check the clarity of your side mirrors. There should be no condensation, frost, or ice on the mirror glass. If you notice any, check whether the heated mirror function is working correctly.

If your heated mirrors are not performing as expected, do not hesitate to seek advice from forum members, experienced friends, or even professionals. Remember, the ultimate aim is to enhance your visibility and thereby your safety during winter drives.


Installing aftermarket heated mirrors on your Subaru Forester not only enhances your driving safety during winter but also adds a touch of luxury to your vehicle. Although the process might seem a bit challenging, with this guide, you can confidently complete the task. From choosing the right heated mirrors to understanding the wiring process and ensuring optimum performance, you’re now equipped with the necessary information. Remember to keep your mirrors clean and check their functionality regularly, especially during the winter months. And, don’t forget to share your experience with fellow Subaru owners and forum members. Happy and safe driving!