How To Adjust The Tesla Rear-View Mirror

I remember when I had my first test-drive of a Tesla. The staff member in the dealer briefly showed me the controls of the car, saying that “literally everything is controllable from the touchscreen”. They showed me how to move the steering wheel up and down, and how to adjust the side mirrors.

Then they handed me the key card, said “see you in 45 minutes”, and went back inside. Okay, I can do this (I told myself). I jumped inside the awesome Tesla Model Y, and adjusted everything to my liking.

Well, almost everything. I couldn’t see how to adjust the rear-view mirror – which was pointing at the glass roof, instead of the road. Which made me wonder: how do you adjust the rear-view mirror? The short answer is…

The Tesla rear-view mirror is one of the only manual adjustments you need to make. Just grab it with your hand, and move it to your liking.

Yes this might seem like an obvious answer, but it’s worth digging a bit deeper into why people get confused about this on a Tesla..!

Tesla: The Button-less EV

Whilst some EVs look and feel like a ‘normal’ gasoline car, Tesla… is different. You jump inside, and other than two levers by the steering wheel and a few other buttons, there’s not much else there. The cabin looks fairly clean – with the imposing touchscreen staring back at you:

The touchscreen and steering wheel of a Tesla Model Y
The touchscreen and steering wheel of a Tesla Model Y

There’s then dozens of menu options and toggles that allow you to move the steering wheel up/down, change the steering wheel and acceleration modes, adjust the side-view mirrors, fart (yep, honestly!) – and loads more.

The pedals and steering options of a Tesla Model Y including acceleration and steering mode options
The pedals and steering options of a Tesla Model Y including acceleration and steering mode options

There are also two physical buttons down by the seat to adjust the position of the driver’s seat – allowing your seat to effortless move forward and backward at the press of a button.

That therefore causes people to assume that you can easily click a button and change where the rear-view mirror is pointing, right?

Well, sorry but this is one area that Tesla is (arguably) ‘primitive’ and ‘boring’…

How to Adjust the Rear-View Mirror of a Tesla

The rear view mirror inside a Tesla Model Y
The rear view mirror inside a Tesla Model Y

There is a simple three step process here:

  1. Raise your hand.
  2. Grab the rear-view mirror (with your hand…).
  3. Move the rear-view mirror up/down, or side-to-side (again, with your hand!).

As a bonus measure, you can actually use either of your hands.

Okay, whilst I’m being a bit facetious, that is the process for adjusting the rear-view mirror on a Tesla: it’s like every other car out there. Just grab the rear-view mirror with your hand, and move it up/down, or side-to-side.

I think that people sometimes get confused or worried at this step for a few reasons:

  • A Tesla is really expensive: the Model Y I drove was around £72k since it was the full spec. You don’t want to break something by manually yanking it, only to find out that there’s a menu option for it!
  • The rear-view mirror can be a bit stiff to adjust. I’ve driven a dozen cars, and the Model Y’s one was quite stiff. So it’s easy to try and ‘gently’ move it with your hand, only to have it not budge. This then leads people to assume that it must be moved electronically.

But if you’re still in any doubt, just reach behind the mirror and have a feel. The rear-view mirror of a Tesla is mounted on a standard ball joint: there are no wires near it. So this suggests that this does just require a physical movement to adjust it.

The Best Rear-View Mirror Position to See Traffic

An empty highway
An empty highway

If you’re now in over-analyzing mode, you might be wondering what the best position is for the Tesla rear-view mirror?

Well thankfully, there’s an easy answer: the rear-view mirror of a Tesla is the exact size it needs to be, in order to see the whole back window in view. There’s really no other position for it: just position the mirror to see as much of the rear window as you can.

Some Rear-View Mirrors Have Dimming Buttons

Another reason that you might have wondered how to adjust the Tesla rear-view mirror is because some rear-view mirrors have anti-glare or auto-dimming capability. Basically if the car behind you has their headlights (front lights) on brightly, the rear-view mirrors can dim themselves so that you aren’t blinded every time you look in the rear-view mirror.

This is a pretty useful feature, but it can lead to the mirror being too dark – so some cars have a button on the rear-view mirror to disable the auto-dimming function. This might make you wonder whether you can disable this on the Tesla too, right?

The auto-dimming function can’t be turned off physically, because there is no physical dimming “on/off” button on the rear-view mirror. However some recent Tesla models do offer this option via the touchscreen.

Whilst this new feature is a big step forward, the lack of this feature on older Tesla cars has led some drivers to claim that the rear-view mirror is actually a “no view” mirror (made worse by the fairly tinted rear window):

Rear-View Mirror Features on a Tesla

The Tesla Owner’s Manual (for the Model Y, Model X and the other models too) detail what features you can expect from the rear-view mirror:

Mirror Auto Dim

When certain environmental conditions are met, the rear view mirror and exterior side mirrors dim automatically (for example, in low light conditions or to reduce glare when driving at night). To enable or disable this feature, touch Controls > Mirrors > Mirror Auto Dim. Availability of this feature depends on market region and date of manufacture.

Rear View Mirror

The rear view mirror is adjusted manually. When in Drive or Neutral, the rear view mirror automatically dims in low lighting conditions based on the time of day (for example, when driving at night).

Tesla Model Y, Owner’s Manual, 2022

So from the above, you can assume that if you have a recently produced and delivered Tesla, your rear-view mirror should:

  • Automatically dim itself down when it’s nighttime and/or the car behind has their headlights on too brightly.
  • This can now be disabled within the Tesla screen, which is a new feature.
  • You can only control the position “manually”, i.e. by moving the mirror up/down and side-to-side with your hand.

Adjusting The Tesla Rear-View Mirror: Still (Fairly) Manual

The steering wheel and gear selection options of a Tesla Model Y
The steering wheel and gear selection options of a Tesla Model Y

So there you have it: despite the cabin of the Tesla EVs being minimalist (and offering most configuration via the feature-packed touchscreen), you will have to settle for an “old-fashioned” approach to the rear-view mirror: using your hand to physically move it!

It’s also frustrating that older Tesla EVs don’t have the option to disable the auto-dimming capability, but it’s at least positive that Tesla have learned from owner’s experiences and now added a menu option for this.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan is a software developer who is passionate about eco-friendly lifestyles - and products, such as green cars! He has loved seeing Nissan and Tesla sell loads of quality EVs over the last decade - with every other car manufacturer finally following suit.

EV adoption seems to be at a tipping point now, with 'ordinary folk' starting to order them too. This is naturally aided by very expensive gas prices, but also a genuine desire for people to try and improve the environment.

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