Hyundai Santa Fe Rear Hatch Mirror Installation / Report

Installer: twospirits
Observations: nbdave, onigoroshi,
Testers: twospirits, onigoroshi and other Santa Fe Owners
Part supplier: TFR Racing
Author of report: twospirits
Images provided by: twospirits and TFR Racing

Introduction / History

Like most SUVs' of this day and age backing up in them can be a chore in and above itself. The rear hatch window of the Hyundai Santa Fe allows only a certain amount of viewing area. It takes much practice to be able to tell exactly how far you are to an object behind you. While there are numerous aftermarket backup accessories that one can purchase, most of these need for you to drill around the rear bumpers to attach the sensors and then wire it behind the interior panels. This mod/report is on an item that addresses this problem. It shows an alternative way of backing up without having to drill or wire the vehicle by attaching a backup hatch mirror that you attach to the rear window.  . Pic 01 - Provided by TFR Racing


Please Read the disclaimer before proceeding

Difficulty level / scale: On a scale of 1 - 10

Easy   Difficult
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Tools and materials needed:

alcohol or a good window cleaner
Rear Hatch Mirror from TFR Racing

Time to install aftermarket item:

Total time for install: 5 minutes

Source and item

Pic 02    
กก I purchased the OEM Rear Hatch Backup mirror from TFR Racing. Its main function is to facilitate seeing objects while you are back up with your Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. The item itself is manufactured by the Hyundai Motor Company and is sold throughout Asia. Unfortunately it is not marketed here in the United States and must be purchased through a third party vendor. TFR Racing is one such vendor.


Pic 03    

Purchasing through TFR Racing was quick and easy. I received the package a few days later and I was surprised that it was packed very well. It comes in an original Hyundai shipping box and actually looked smaller than what I was expecting. (see pic 03.)

The product itself is a one piece unit. Once out of the box it looks bigger than inside. The product is a mirror encased in a plastic housing. The mirror part can be positioned (manually of course) just like your side mirrors. The one I purchased was in white to match my Santa Fe, and it had the Hyundai symbol as well as the words Santa Fe with its signature sunburst symbol on it. (See pic 02.)


Pic 04    

Installing the Hatch mirror is really quite simple. It comes with 3 - 3M heavy duty double sided tape and attaches to your the rear hatch mirror by the built in hooks. These hooks wrap around the top part of your hatch window and stays put once placed in the position you are most comfortable with.  I cleaned the rear windows first with alcohol or window cleaner first.
(See pic 04.)

Observations and test drive

Pic 04 - Rear View Pic 05 - Left side view Once I placed the mirror on the hatch window I noticed that it changed the smooth rear contour of the Santa Fe. (You now have a metal looking/plastic thing sticking out the back.) I did not take the 3M tape off the mirror at this point because I wanted to test it and determine the best placement for it, so I just left it as is on the window. I tried different positions, Sat in the Santy for a while to see if I like it and it felt weird having something now hanging over the back and obstructing my view a little bit. I finally positioned the mirror to the farthest right possible and from the drivers side had the least amount of obstruction looking back.
The following day I went to test drive with it. (It is still not attached properly, in case I decide not to use it.), After driving around slowly, and avoiding bumps so it won't fall off and break, I started to realize that it really does not obstruct my view. I was getting ongoing looks of "what's that". At this point I decided to really test its function of it helping you park and backing up. I tried parking with and without it and it really helps having it. The parking and backing up was so much less stressful. I can even backup without having to turn my your head to look out the back. Now I just have to look at the rear view mirror.
I parked the Santa Fe and attached the mirror properly and then went for a real drive with bumps and all. It took the ride very well, I inspected the mirror to see if the 3M tape held up through all that bumping and jumping and it did. I went around the vehicle and my worries of it disrupting the smooth contour lines of the it quickly disappeared, it actually gives it a unique look..
Pic 06 - Hatch window opened view Pic 07 - Right side rear view
Pic 08 - Right side view

How it works

Pic 09 - Lines of sights ..
The pictures at left show the lines of sight one gets from using the mirror. This allows the driver to get into really tight spaces without having to hit the object behind you. The mirror is angled so that when you look at it either directly or from the cabins rear mirror you will be able to see objects directly behind you or on the ground. It is like looking in your bathroom mirror and holding a small mirror behind your head so that you can see the back of your head and neck. It is just a matter of changing the angle of the mirror to see further down or up. This is the same for the hatch mirror.
Pic 10 - Provided by TFR Racing
Pictures 10 and 11 show the view from the drivers seat. As you can see it shows you the red bottle from behind the vehicle that's on the floor. This object would not be visible from the side mirrors or rear mirror.
Santa Fe Forum Members have expressed concern whether this mirror would obstruct the installation of a rear spoiler. And to my knowledge it does not. (See pic 01 above 12 below). Others have mentioned that it would not allow the rear hatch window to fully open if one were to have a spoiler also installed. I do not have a spoiler at the moment but there are others that have and attest that you can still open the rear window without any obstruction.
Pic 11 - Provided by TFR Racing . Pic 12 - Provided by TFR Racing

Long term update

Taking the vehicle around the city and up country through numerous bumps, potholes and areas I can honestly say that the hatch mirror performs great. Before getting it, I backed into a mini cart that I did not see behind me. Now I can see any object back there. Within the city, with the limited parking space, I was able to get into tight spaces without fear of getting either vehicle scratched up.
The only problem with the hatch mirror was and is my fear of taking it into car washes and worrying that those brush less rags would be too much weight on it and cause some damage to it or my rear window. So for the time being I have been just hand washing the Santa Fe or when its too cold outside I take it off and reinstall it after the car wash. This of course will in time wear down the 3M heavy duty tape of its usefulness, but I can always replace the tape. The hooks are another story, these are plastic and if broken basically makes the mirror useless. Which did occur after taking it on and off in a 3 month period. So it seems that with the Hatch Mirror as well as any other plastic accessory I place on the vehicle forces me to do my own car wash which in a way is better than taking it to a Commercial Car wash or just take it to a Hand Car Wash. I replace it with another one and do not take it on and off. I also placed it in the middle of the rear window which is another modification outlined in my WebPages that I did for replacing the Rear Brake light with LED lights. In conclusion, I would recommend the Hatch mirror for those that want a less stressful and hassle free way of backing up without fear of hitting an object that's not in view.
Additional View of the Hatch Mirror

This site was last updated 06/10/05