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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, quite a few reviews on Youtube indicate the "a-pillars" (correct term?) are too big and make blind spot checking difficult during look-over-your-shoulder maneuvers.

Thing is, I was always taught to adjust your mirrors so you DON'T see any part of your own car without moving your head from neutral driving position. That is, I have to move my head left until I'm almost touching the driver's window to see the left rear of my car. For the right rear of my car, I move my head right until it's roughly over the arm rest.

How bad is the blind spot and should I invest in those convex blind spot mirrors that you stick onto existing side mirrors? Also, would the heated mirrors (going with Comfort package) be too hot for adhesives to stay in place?

Update: I used the wrong term. These are the pillars that support the hatchback hinge. Would these be the C-pillars?
 

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The A-pillers are on either side of the windshield. Just move your head to one side or the other if they obstruct your view when making a turn for example.

For side view concerns, consider the safety alert packages available for the Gen 2. Me, I just look over my shoulder and yes, I have convex mirror on the driver side mirror.
 

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So, quite a few reviews on Youtube indicate the "a-pillars" (correct term?) are too big and make blind spot checking difficult during look-over-your-shoulder maneuvers.

Thing is, I was always taught to adjust your mirrors so you DON'T see any part of your own car without moving your head from neutral driving position. That is, I have to move my head left until I'm almost touching the driver's window to see the left rear of my car. For the right rear of my car, I move my head right until it's roughly over the arm rest.

How bad is the blind spot and should I invest in those convex blind spot mirrors that you stick onto existing side mirrors? Also, would the heated mirrors (going with Comfort package) be too hot for adhesives to stay in place?
A pillars are the first set of roof supports, B pillars would be the next furthest back, and so forth. The B pillar (behind front door) annoys some people on the Volt, if you are tall it will be near your head. Correct mirror positioning helps a lot, as you mention.

The A pillar, as steverino says, just lean around it to check, it can be a problem in some situations.

However, most new cars face similar issues, they only differ slightly in which situations that are most problematic. The A pillar in my van can also block site of entire cars. Always look twice. I wouldn't see that convex mirrors would be of any different value than they would be on any other vehicle.
 

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Not sure which pillars you're talking about since there are no mirrors to see around the a-pillars.

I have convex mirrors on my Volt and on my Silverado.

I like those. Well placed, too.

I wish (somehow) they could make perfectly clear A pillars. Would make going around a curve in the road or turning SO much safer.
 

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The best I have seen and which is what I use is the "AutoBahn Mirrors". They are simply amazing. And yes, the Volt has huge blind spots just like most other cars. The A pillars are on the front windshield. There is nothing you can do about those except move you head a little to the left and right. I have noticed that is only necessary though in certain curves. You quickly get used to it. Those large A pillars are necessary as they provide your crash protection.
 

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You were taught well, grasshopper ;-)

So, quite a few reviews on Youtube indicate the "a-pillars" (correct term?) are too big and make blind spot checking difficult during look-over-your-shoulder maneuvers.

Thing is, I was always taught to adjust your mirrors so you DON'T see any part of your own car without moving your head from neutral driving position. That is, I have to move my head left until I'm almost touching the driver's window to see the left rear of my car. For the right rear of my car, I move my head right until it's roughly over the arm rest.

How bad is the blind spot and should I invest in those convex blind spot mirrors that you stick onto existing side mirrors? Also, would the heated mirrors (going with Comfort package) be too hot for adhesives to stay in place?
 

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If you're concerned about safety get blind spot warning and cross traffic alert. They work very well and do enhance safety. The A pillars are a problem. Not unusual. Manufacturers have beefed up the A pillars in order to protect occupants in roll overs. That's great but the downside is larger pillars. The workaround is to look more carefully.

In our dreams for now, but.....
I don't think we're that far away from this. Even on my 2011 MY Volt the car knows when a pedestrian in approaching the car. The problem is it just beeps like crazy, which conveys little useful information and is mostly annoying.

Very nice placement on the mirrors.
 

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So, quite a few reviews on Youtube indicate the "a-pillars" (correct term?) are too big and make blind spot checking difficult during look-over-your-shoulder maneuvers.

Thing is, I was always taught to adjust your mirrors so you DON'T see any part of your own car without moving your head from neutral driving position. That is, I have to move my head left until I'm almost touching the driver's window to see the left rear of my car. For the right rear of my car, I move my head right until it's roughly over the arm rest.

How bad is the blind spot and should I invest in those convex blind spot mirrors that you stick onto existing side mirrors? Also, would the heated mirrors (going with Comfort package) be too hot for adhesives to stay in place?
I had the convex blind spot mirrors in the bottom inside corner on my gen1 and they worked very well...also worked very nicely for parking close to the curb and making sure I was centered in parking spaces.

On gen2 the side mirrors are noticably smaller, and I still have to figure out what mirrors to use. I bought some yesterday, but placing them in the same spot as I had on my gen1 obstructs too much of the mirror IMO.

I mainly want them for seeing parking lines, because I find well adjusted mirrors + blind spot monitoring on my gen2 are doing a fine job....I actually feel more comfortable with this combination than my gen1 + blind spot mirrors.

Most mirrors I see at crappy tire (aka Canadian Tire for you 'mericans) are 2" diameter, and that's too large....really what I want is something like a 1" or smaller mirror just to let me see the lines while parking....anyone know where I can buy something like that?
 

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Ever since I began using the "Car Talk" method of setting my rear/side view mirrors, I have felt much safer with better coverage of what's in my no-longer-blind spots. I now use my rear view mirrors to see rearward... And side view mirrors to see sideward. It takes some time to trust... But it really does work. That, plus the alerts from side and cross traffic system works pretty well.
 

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If you're concerned about safety get blind spot warning and cross traffic alert. They work very well and do enhance safety. The A pillars are a problem. Not unusual. Manufacturers have beefed up the A pillars in order to protect occupants in roll overs. That's great but the downside is larger pillars. The workaround is to look more carefully.
It's ... well... The pillars have always been kind of beefy. They do have to hold up the roof, including potentially a half-ton of snow. The big problem is aerodynamic. Back before people cared about such things, the windshield was right there above the instrument cluster. Consequently the A-pillar base was within easy reach of the driver's left hand, and blocked the view of across the street at about a 50 degree angle on the left and about 80 degrees on the right.

Aerodynamically, a much shallower rise from hood to roofline is much more efficient. So the bottom of the windshield's moved now something like 20-24" away, and the A-pillar now blocks the view of the crosswalk to the left and right-to-left bicycle traffic on the cross street to the right. Yes, bobbing your head around does allow you to see all of the blocked area, but doing quickly and just once isn't really enough. One needs a couple of seconds to get a full understanding of not only where everything is, but also how fast it's moving WHILE adjusting one's head position, and that's a skill that takes time to develop. Weeks. Months, even to actually get reliable at it. It's an important thing to warn new owners about, especially if they're coming from a 20 year old car.
 

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the A-pillar now blocks the view of the crosswalk to the left and right-to-left bicycle traffic on the cross street to the right. Yes, bobbing your head around does allow you to see all of the blocked area, but doing quickly and just once isn't really enough. One needs a couple of seconds to get a full understanding of not only where everything is, but also how fast it's moving WHILE adjusting one's head position, and that's a skill that takes time to develop. Weeks. Months, even to actually get reliable at it. It's an important thing to warn new owners about, especially if they're coming from a 20 year old car.
Thank you.

It's one of my biggest pet peeves on this site when people downplay the visibility issue. In my opinion it's the biggest drawback of the Volt and is a legitimate safety issue -- particularly to pedestrians and cyclists and drivers in other vehicles, but also to the driver and passengers in the Volt who are more likely to get into an accident in the first place due to the poor visibility. Bobbing your head back and forth would work fine if both your car and everything around it was stationary, but that ain't ever the case.

My friend recently got a Fusion Energi. He let me take a test drive. The forward visibility is vastly superior compared to the Volt, principally due to thinner A-pillars. The slope of the Fusion's A-pillars/windshield appears very similar to the Volt's. But maybe the Fusion can get away with thinner A-pillars because a non-hatchback sedan frame can derive more structural support for the roof from the C-pillars than can a hatchback(?). Idk.

The improvement in rear visibility vs the Volt is even more dramatic, but a direct comparison would be less fair since the Volt is a hatchback and the Fusion isn't.
 

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My credentials on this topic, I have been a professionally trained "truck and livery" driver (aka Limo and bus), so you can believe me or not but I've had a lot of training and discussion on this topic.

Of course the things I outline below are my own preferences and "your mileage may vary" but I will say that in almost 30 years of driving I've never scratched a paintjob :)

The Volt's -direct- visibility to the rear is less than a lot of vehicles, but far better than others (you want to talk blind spots, drive a 29+ foot super-stretch limo).

I think this set of instructions best illustrates how you want to set your mirrors and why.
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-adjust-your-mirrors-to-avoid-blind-spots

In addition I'm very fond of the "square" style of "blind spot" mirror as I find the view angle to be superior to the simple round ones. My favorite style is this type placed at the bottom inside on the mirrors.

If you are using the mirrors correctly, then your larger, regular mirrors are your "long range scanners" allowing you to see things overtaking you. The smaller blind spot mirrors are your "short range scanners" allowing you to see anything right next to you in the lane.

My wife used to hate the small blind spot mirrors because "<she> can't see anything in them". Eventually I figured out that she meant she couldn't see details and I was finally able to get her to understand that the blind spot mirrors are "binary", either you see "something" in them or not. If you see something, don't change lanes because something is right beside you. If you don't see anything in them then nothing is beside you and you can change lanes.

For backing up.... the rear view camera is a real godsend in the Volt (at least in Gen 1)
 

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The really cool thing about ELR's mirrors is that you can set them to 'look down' when in reverse. Makes it real easy to get between the lines. I have also used the mirror adjustments to see something off-line (such as female watching) and then use the "memory seat" control to set mirrors back in place. (I wish the center mirror was powered as well.)

When backing in, the rear camera is great!
 

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I may try the convex mirrors, as I find the minuscule amber LED's in the mirrors to be nearly useless. I wish they were red and maybe even flash slowly... The A pillars are a challenge and I have on several occasions not seen pedestrians crossing from left to right at dusk or at night. Very scary. Be careful and..... back up VERY slowly. Murphy's Law seems to provide cross traffic back there just as soon as R is selected. Drives me nuts.
 

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My wife used to hate the small blind spot mirrors because "<she> can't see anything in them". Eventually I figured out that she meant she couldn't see details and I was finally able to get her to understand that the blind spot mirrors are "binary", either you see "something" in them or not. If you see something, don't change lanes because something is right beside you. If you don't see anything in them then nothing is beside you and you can change lanes.
That's a good tip, thanks.

I've been driving for over 40 years and have never used those convex mirrors, then about six months ago I had an epiphany and got one for each of my vehicles. But I don't use them to see into my "blind spot" (I set my mirrors so that there really isn't anywhere a car could be beside me and not be visible either through the mirrors or by just looking out the window). Instead, I use them when parking because they let me see vertically down the side of the car, which makes it easy to tell how far away I am from the curb or from a painted parking stall line and also tell if I'm lined up properly or am at a bit of an angle.

Wish I'd thought of that years ago!
 
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