Minimizing blind spots - Tesla Model 3 wing mirror showdown:
US OEM vs Europe OEM vs Suma vs Hansshow
It all started with a somewhat close encounter on a motorway and was followed by a personal goal to increase safety and convenience, no matter the expense. Aftermarket wing mirrors are a much-loved accessory according to numerous Tesla owners, and it's not hard to see why. Europe OEM wing mirrors are almost good enough, but US versions suffer from gigantic blind spots (at least on the driver side) that makes lane changing more difficult than it has to be, or indeed, should be.
In this article, we'll be comparing four different wing mirrors to see which takes the crown. Factors taken into account include: viewing angle, hydrophobicity, wing mirror quality, and OEM-closeness for fitment.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Both aftermarket products reviewed here (Suma & Hansshow) have been personally bought with my own money, without any incentive or affiliation with the suppliers. Needless to say, the Europe OEM version was already owned (and the US OEM was emulated via a flat mirror).
♦ Fitment and features
♦ Viewing angle
♦ Mirror quality
♦ References and notes
I almost titled this "eliminating blind spots", but well.... let's get this out the way to appease the pedants out there: None of these will completely
remove the blind spots, but wow, the best of these gets jolly close. Maybe, if you're incredibly unlucky, you might be on a road with extra wide lanes, and find a silent (electric) motorcycle who has a taste for hiding in the 'perfect' blind spot, and who also happens to have zero situational awareness, and a poor reaction time. Maybe
then, there's a risk of collision.
If however you want increased safety and more focus time on the road straight ahead, or just want a better view from the side (especially if a passenger's head is in the way), then it's hard to argue against the advantages in swapping the OEM with a set of aftermarket wing mirrors.
With that out the way, let's dive straight in to the fitment and features:
Fitment and features
Neither of the aftermarket options support auto-dimming, but the manufacturers claim it doesn't matter, since they supply a blue tinted version which blocks out a lot of the cream-coloured headlights which may otherwise dazzle you at night. However, the clear versions are advised if you have tinted windows. Honestly, even though I don't have tinted windows, I opted for the clear versions anyway, since I don't find the dazzling to be that noticeable. Your mileage may vary.
Suma claim that their blue mirrors have a more lasting finish than alternatives and made a video
to demonstrate this. This may be a safer option if you really want that cool blue tint. It's unclear which brand the "Non-Suma mirrors" are in that video however. It could be Hansshow, or it could be another brand.
Both the Suma's and Hansshow's mirror shape is very similar to the OEM and both have a heating element, again, just like the OEM. Useful for drying rain or condensation off the mirrors.
The Hansshow appear to have a closer match than the Suma in terms of the plastic clips on the back (see photo). I'm sure both are fit for purpose however and will neatly fit on to the mirror casing. Finally, you're given options for indicator lights on the mirrors. This is a heck of a lot of DIY work to wire up though, so most people ignore that option.
The meat of the article and I'm sure what most of you (including me) are particularly interested in.
The aftermarket mirrors and European OEM mirrors are quite close to each other in terms of viewing angle. Because of this, I had to find a setup which could give me the peripheral detail I wanted, along with accurate positioning for the mirrors to allow for easy measurement and experiment reproduction if necessary. My kitchen worktop and shelf above that (to place the camera) served as a perfect surrounding for this experiment.
Because I didn't have access to a US OEM Model 3 mirror, I used a flat mirror instead, as the driver's side apparently uses this (I think the passenger's side is more convex however, like the Europe OEM mirrors). To reproduce the look of a Model 3 mirror, I coloured the non-relevant portions of the photo a dark translucent purple so you can get an idea how it compares with the other three.
As can be seen below, the Hansshow mirrors ARE NOT from the same factory as Suma's. In fact, they have the widest angle of all four mirrors, followed closely by Suma, with Europe OEM mirrors next, and obviously the US OEM mirror in last place with the narrowest view.
From the below photos, using image stretching to overlay the views, I calculate that there's an extra 8% increase (+8% in the X and +8% in the Y dimension) in viewing angle for the Suma over the Europe OEM, and impressively, a further extra 9% increase in viewing angle (again, both dimensions) for the Hansshow over the Suma. The US OEM version of course has the smallest viewing angle and relative to that, the Hannshow displays around 55% extra for both dimensions, which is pretty impressive. In summary:
For European Tesla owners
: 10-20% extra viewing angle may not sound like much, but when a car is otherwise JUST out of your viewable mirror area with the OEM mirrors, that extra bit of view becomes a lifesaver, perhaps literally.
For US Tesla owners
: That extra 55% viewing angle is like night a day. You'll probably wonder how you ever managed without it after a day of use.
The Hansshow mirrors have the widest view out of all four mirror brands, and thus win this section.
|OEM US (flat)
|OEM US (flat)
I used a pipette and put some random water drops on each mirror after using mild soap/water and alcohol wipes to clean them first (almost used dish soap / washing up liquid, but I was worried that would spoil the hydrophobic effect).
Suma claim their mirrors have a large hydrophobic effect, and this does indeed seem to be the case. The contact angle for the drips on the glass is around 90 degrees for the Suma, while for the Hansshow, it's more like only 45-60 degrees. The OEM did terrible, and you can see the drops are almost flat, somewhere around 15-30 degrees.
Bear in mind I have used the Hansshow ones for a couple of weeks now, so I'm not sure if that had any effect on the hydrophobic layer. Because of this, treat these results with caution.
All mirrors had excellent quality, with no noticeable difference in detail, except for the OEM version which had a tiny amount of double vision in some angles (possibly due to the layered glass responsible for the dimming effect). I made sure to check under a bright flashlight to look for unwanted lens flare / star / halo / streak effects.
Camera photos do not remotely catch the dynamic range of light intensity, so I was careful to use my eye to scrutinize any difference in artifacts. To the left, you can see the Suma and OEM mirrors next to each other. The Hansshow version performed equally as well.
Extra notes and references
Here are direct links to the wing mirrors. Another brand - SmarTesla - claim that their mirrors are technically identical to Hansshow. If true, then you may pick them up for a tenner cheaper. I found out though that shipping to the UK is much more expensive via SmarTesla compared to Hansshow.
Suma Performance: sumaperformance.com - $160-$170
Hansshow / Hautopart: hautopart.com - $79-$89
SmarTesla: smartesla.us - $69-$75
Content copyright 2021 onwards Daniel White.