Mirror replacements on semis and other commercial vehicles are all too common. No matter how rugged they are, external mirrors are vulnerable. They may strike elements around loading docks. Sometimes, they even get clipped by other large vehicles.
When something happens to your mirror, a quick repair or replacement is often the only realistic option. You lose money every moment your big rig is out of service. When there's a damaged mirror, everyone wants a prompt solution. This includes owner/operators, repair shops, fleet owners and fleet maintenance specialists.
The right mirrors reduce accident potential. They help a driver to remain calm regardless of the situation. Velvac mirror designs deliver clear views of blind spots and passing lanes. Make sharp turns with greater confidence. Reduced vibration improves viewing during those moments that demand near-instantaneous decisions.
A variety of external mirrors are crucial to Class 8 truck safety. For many truckers, this means folding mirrors on both sides of the truck. It also means multiple mounted hood mirrors. A mirror above the passenger side window improves visibility to the side of your truck. Sometimes, a change in load requires a specialty mirror. This is true when you start carrying wide loads. In that scenario, you'll need a wide load extension mirror.
Velvac mirrors set the standard for “OEM+” durability, finish and overall quality. You’ll find them on medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, RVs, buses, fire trucks and other commercial vehicles.
The Story of Velvac
Velvac began as the Vacuum Power Equipment Company in 1934. The manufacturer first focused on valve and air brake components for heavy-duty trucks. In 1940, the popularity of its Velvet Vacuum Brakes inspired a name change to “Velvac.” In the 1950s, Velvac expanded into west coast mirrors.
The Eastern Company acquired Velvac in 2017. It now operates as an independent subsidiary. Velvac headquarters is in New Berlin, WI, a Milwaukee suburb. The company operates remote warehouses in Texas, California and Ontario, Canada. Velvac does more than provide mirrors, cameras and complete vision systems. The company also offers fuel, air, electrical and related products.
Velvac is a preferred Tier-1 OEM supplier. It is also active as a heavy truck and RV aftermarket supplier. Velvac is IATF 16949 and ISO 14001 certified. Velvac’s motto is, “In the passing lane since 1934.”
Things to Consider When Selecting a Mirror
There are two times when you need a mirror replacement. First, when one breaks or is in danger of breaking. Second, when it’s time for an upgrade.
When a mirror assembly actually breaks, it’s an urgent problem. A prompt return to the road is crucial. No one generates revenue with a non-compliant rig sitting in the yard.
Sometimes there's a need to upgrade one or more mirrors on your rig. For example, you might have an older Class 8 truck that’s still more than roadworthy. Upgrade the mirrors for enhanced safety. Consider a vision system with the latest integrated camera technology.
Here are some things to think about when you need a mirror repair or upgrade:
Features and design
What features are you looking for? Do you need a heated or unheated mirror? Are you looking for one with an integrated camera? Do you want a mirror with LED lights built in? You want to have confidence that every function will perform as intended for a long time to come. This includes the remote control function. Heated mirrors must perform in tough weather conditions. Built-in cameras must be reliable as well. Built-in LED lighting will deliver years of trouble-free service.
Resistance to breakage
When you're out on the road, it’s impossible to avoid all high-speed encounters with flying objects. An average semi travels more than 65,000 miles per year. Long-haul semis often cover more than 100,000 miles in a year. There are many opportunities for unwanted run-ins with both static and airborne objects.
Vibration is the curse of mirror clarity. High winds, rough roads and worn engine mounts can all make mirrors vibrate. Therefore, it's important to select a vibration-resistant design. It's also important to use right mounts and clamps. Proper installation also minimizes the potential for excess vibration. All components must work well together at highway speeds.
Heavy-duty trucks face an endless siege of environmental contaminants. Road salt, acid rain and air pollution are some examples. Contaminants can corrode or otherwise harm mirrors, brackets and other vision system components. Durable vision systems made of corrosion and rust-resistant parts are the answer. Many truckers rely on the corrosion resistance of stainless steel. High-quality powder coating can also protect mirror housings for the long-term.
Velvac Mirrors Overview
The majority of the time, a Velvac mirror is the solution. Today, Velvac is the “go-to” brand for truckers everywhere. Select from universal designs as well as those fabricated for major brands. Examples include Peterbilt, Kenworth, Mack, Western Star, Paccar, Volvo and International.
When it comes to replacing or upgrading truck mirrors, all stakeholders have the same priorities. Everyone wants the right combination of features, durability and price. Velvac mirrors are often a good choice for those that consider both quality and price. They may not always be the choice for those looking strictly at price.
Velvac Mirrors: Features and Benefits
During its long history, Velvac developed a reputation for quality truck parts that stand the test of time. Velvac offers selection, accessories, warranties and product innovation.
There are so many kinds of mirrors for heavy-duty trucks. For example, there are tripod fender mirrors and single mount mirrors. There are also wide angle mirrors and rear cross-view mirrors.
Velvac offers a wide selection of heavy-duty truck mirrors, brackets and clamps. It also markets sophisticated vision systems with integrated cameras and other deluxe features.
A comprehensive selection is important. For example, truckers need mirrors with different backs. They include V-back, bubble back, pyramid back and ribbed back designs. Some heavy-duty truck mirrors are hood-mount, while others are fender-mount. Some mirrors come with extendable arms. Wide load extension mirrors are crucial in certain situations. There are also convex mirrors, including semi-bubble and full bubble designs. You’ll usually find a Velvac mirror that meets your needs.
Overall, the company produces more than 4,500 different vehicle parts.
Velvac also delivers important components like mirror brackets and clamps. To minimize repair costs, replace only what you need. There are many kinds of mirror brackets found on heavy-duty trucks. There are door mount brackets, loop arm brackets and brackets with adjustable arms. There are also U, L and J brackets.
It’s always important to consider a truck part warranty. Velvac's website says that “The standard warranty coverage for Velvac manufactured parts is twelve months from the date of sale to end-user or twenty-four months from the date of manufacture whichever comes first.”
Velvac continues to develop new products that further enhance safety. Velvac’s aero cam kits reduce blind spots to enhance safety. Velvac designed this camera-based vision system around NHTSA height and width recommendations. The design optimizes the field-of-view. A Velvac aero cam delivers a clear view along the side of the truck and the trailer. Aero cam kits are available for a variety of makes, including Kenworth, Volvo and Paccar.
The Lane Optics mirror cam is another example of Velvac innovation. It combines a camera with a hood-mounted, blind spot mirror. The system includes the ability to record events. Velvac's fifth wheel dual camera is yet another example. Finally, Velvac provides a special tri-plane mirror system for refuse vehicles.
Alternatives to Velvac Mirrors
There are other sources for semi truck mirrors and mirror components. Many don’t offer the selection that Velvac does. Three examples are United Pacific, Grote and Navistar.
United Pacific offers mirrors, brackets and related parts for various brands. Examples include International, Kenworth, Freightliner and Peterbilt. United Pacific offers manual and non-heated mirrors as well as heated and motorized mirrors. Its Universal 7-in x 16-in West Coast Mirror comes with a stainless steel housing and an available convex mirror. Check out United Pacific mirrors here.
Grote is another source for Class 8 truck mirrors. The company offers both heated and unheated west coast mirrors. It also sells convex and elliptical mirrors. Grote mirrors are often an economical option, although the selection is somewhat more limited. You’ll still find rugged powder coated mirror housings. Check out Grote mirrors here.
Navistar supplies a wide range of mirrors, brackets and clamps. Many are for International heavy-duty trucks. When you replace a mirror on an International semi, consider Navistar mirrors here.
Velvac Mirrors: A Solid Selection
When you invest in a Velvac mirror, you’re choosing a product made by a company with an 85-year history. You’re also investing in one of the most popular heavy-duty truck mirrors on the market.
Consider a Velvac mirror when you need a mirror replacement or an important upgrade. It’s possible to upgrade to heated mirrors, those with LED lights or those with built-in cameras. Well-constructed Velvac parts can reduce the need for more repairs in the future.
FinditParts delivers the Velvac mirrors and accessories you need. At FinditParts, you’ll get the right deal, and you’ll get your parts quick. Check out Velvac mirrors here.
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