How to Replace the Mirror on an 88 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail

Road dust and small bits of rock can damage your motorcycle, especially the mirror. Exposure to different weather conditions can also make your mirror hazy. Changing the mirrors on your Harley is a simple upgrade that adds a significant improvement to its appearance and performance.

Thankfully, changing mirrors is one of the easiest upgrades you can make to your ride that won’t empty your pockets. You don’t even need to pay a pro to install a new mirror on your bike because you can do it yourself with a little guidance. Plus, Harley Davidson mirrors universally fit almost any make and model of the brand. Therefore, the process is essentially the same. In this article, we’ll show you just how to go about it.

Replacing a Mirror on an 88 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail

You will need the following:

  • Soap and water
  • Allen Wrench
  • Box Wrench
  • Blue Loctite
  • Glass cleaner / Warm water and soap
  • Absorbent cloth

Step 1: Clean the Parts

Make sure to clean the surrounding parts around the mirror first. This is to ensure there will be no grime going inside the mount (that might cause rust) or even the turn signals that might affect the electronics. Using a damp soapy cloth, wipe the surface clean. Dry these areas before proceeding with the installation.

Step 2: Uninstall the Turn Signals

Next, you will need to uninstall the turn signals of your Softail. Removing the turn signal can help you do your task much more easily because the parts will not get in the way when replacing your mirrors.

To remove the turn signal, use the Allen wrench. Keep the wires attached. With the device removed, your way to the mirrors is clear.

Step 3: Remove Old Mirrors

You can now remove the current mirrors in your Softail using a box wrench. Start by removing the lower mounting board. Pull the board straight up, and slide it away from the handlebars. Make sure to secure these parts in a secured box so you won’t accidentally step on and crack them.

Step 4: Install New Mirrors

You can now start installing your new mirrors. Check if your mirrors have a bolt system with a locking nut. If it doesn’t have any bolt system, use the blue Loctite on the mounting board that came with the mirrors. The Loctite will ensure the bolt does not get loose vibrating.

When you check for aftermarket mirrors, you will find that most are aluminum. That’s why you need to ensure that you don’t twist the bolts too tightly, or they will bend and get damaged. Use the blue Loctite to keep the mirror sealed tightly and steadily.

Next, position the mirror properly before tightening the bolt. If you have already tightened the bolt but saw it unevenly, you need to unloose it again. Be careful with this step because you wouldn’t want the mirrors wrongly positioned. The mirrors can vibrate and crack during a hard ride if improperly positioned.

Step 5: Re-Install the Turn Signals

After installing the mirror, you need to re-install the turn signal and adjust it properly. Once installed, tighten the mirrors again. For safety, start your bike to check if the turn signals are working, or the mirrors are not vibrating.

Step 6: Clean Everything

Handling your new mirrors will likely cause handprints and some grime on the surface. Before you take your Softail out for a ride, you’d want everything to be shiny and spotless. 

Use a glass cleaner or warm water and soap to clean your mirror. Spray the surface with the liquid solution, or using soapy water, wipe with a sponge. Dry using an absorbent cloth. Remove all remaining marks using a microfiber cloth to buff it spotless.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How can I clean my motorcycle mirror?

If your Softail’s mirror looks worn, all you need is water, soap, and a clean rag. The first step is to clean the mirror with soap and water. It would help if you went at it lightly to avoid damaging the glass. To finish, rinse the mirror with water and dry it with a soft clean cloth. With these few simple steps, you can restore your bike’s mirror to prime condition.

Q2. How can I prevent my bike mirrors from vibrating?

You can prevent motorcycle mirrors from vibrating by inserting a set of vibration isolators. You can find these isolators at local dealers of motorcycle parts. Vibration isolators look like rubber plugs with a rod attached to one side and a threaded hole on the other.

To install, set isolators between your bike’s mirror and the mirror’s mounting board. This accessory will act as a shock absorber and prevent your mirrors from shaking.

Q3. Where can I find motorcycle mirrors for the 88 Harley Davidson Softail?

You can start by looking at online marketplaces, and you will most likely find them on eBay, Amazon, and other eCommerce sites. You can also check second-hand parts sellers. Your local motorcycle parts and repair shops will likely have spare parts too.


Replacing your Softails side mirror is a very simple task. The process and tools for mirrors are nearly universal, so they can be used for any make and model. You’ll be amazed how much sizzle a new set of mirrors can bring to your Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail’s handlebars.

Carefully and patiently follow each step. Take care of your mirrors throughout the process because the last thing you want is cracked mirrors. Remember to position the mirrors correctly so they won’t vibrate, and you won’t lose to bad optics. You can use vibration isolators to keep your mirrors stable.

DIY repairs on your Softail can be exciting because you will have a more personal investment in your bike’s maintenance. You can build a repair kit with socket wrenches, adhesives, and cleaning supplies.