Science Technology
Strongly bond metal to glass with rear view mirror adhesive
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rearview_mirror.jpg

The glue that holds rear view mirrors in place is amazing stuff, that breaks all the normal rules about adhesives: it holds a joint between two extremely smooth, entirely nonporous surfaces that are subject to near-constant mechanical vibration, extremes of temperature, and ongoing exposure to UV radiation. And it holds for years, even decades. If you are faced with one of those “impossible” gluing problems requiring a strong metal-glass or glass-glass bond, try using a rear view mirror repair kit on it. They can be had for a couple bucks from most hardware stores.

26 thoughts on “Strongly bond metal to glass with rear view mirror adhesive

  1. rear view mirror adhesive is designed to break off if it’s hit as a safety feature. In a collision if you hit your head against the mirror it’s supposed to break off with less than enough force to injure you.

    It’s illegal to use superglue to mount a rear view mirror *because* it holds a lot stronger, and therefore poses a safety risk.

    If you want to make the sort of bonds mentioned in the article, just use superglue, it will work a lot better.

    1. I can confirm, through experimentation, that the rear-view mirror on my car (99 acura)is bonded *so strongly* to the windshield that if you forget the latch to remove the mirror from its metal baseplate, the windshield glass will break when you try to remove your mirror, and you’ll be left with a windshield that needs replacing and the baseplate will still have bits of broken windshield glued on.

    2. Wouldn’t they design it so the mirror mount can break away from itself rather than relying on the mount to glass glued connection? At least that’s how I would do it.

      I drive an old car. My mirror is bolted to a spoke running across the middle of the windscreen frame and it falls off all by itself!

  2. I can also confirm rear-view mirror glue being strong enough to remove a divot of glass before the adhesive fails. Many people have bad experiences with super glue because they try to bond the wrong materials with it, or they don’t use fresh glue. Superglue bonds the molecular layer of water that exists on the surface of many materials (including metal and glass) and therefore has a tendency to absorb atmospheric moisture as it sits on the shelf, rendering it less than effective. Try to get really fresh stuff, in a foil or aluminized plastic package.

    And, don’t forget our old friend, Duct Tape:

    “You can glue anything with Duct Tape. It will glue wood to metal, or metal to glass, or doors to cars. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could glue pudding to air with Duct Tape. Wouldn’t that be something? A big dollop of butterscotch pudding, just hanging in your foyer? ‘Good to see you mom, come on in'” – Red Green (Steve Smith, “The Red Green Show”)

  3. OMG YES!! Thank you for posting this!! I have been having the WORST time trying to find something to use to bond glass to metal, and was running out of things try! On top of that my rearview mirror fell of and I’ve been meaning to get a kit to fix it! Lol Two birds, one stone, epic!

  4. The rear view mirror adhesive is a terrible thing to use. I had to repair my own and it held for a while but the first day after I applied it (this was in the summer) that it was really hot (90 degrees) the glue actually melted away and now it has happened in a recurring fashion as the temperature increases and has happened twice this summer already.

    1. Really? That’s not my experience at all. Works like a champ for me, though I’ve only ever had to actually use it on a rearview mirror once.

  5. Depending on what you buy it will last or not. I have had mirrors fall in both my Jeeps and I have used the glue kits and they fall off a month or a year later. Just happened today and I have to use superglue for now because it’s Sunday night and no auto parts places are open. Wish I had the stuff that everyone else says only falls off it it takes the glass with it :(

    Other thing is that most rear view mirror adhesives are packaged so that once you open them, you can’t reseal them for later use on another project. Maybe store in a baggie or something, but you have to think about how to open the contents if any chance will reuse later on.

  6. try nano470IC80 I repaired my windshield with that product back in 2011 on a 1989 Deville with no problem no UV light required takes about three minutes with 60 watt white or florescent light very strong bond very clear.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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