Nigel HutsonSee other accessory reviews written by Nigel Hutson
Check out the new-for-2016 Milenco Grand Aero 3 towing mirrors, as Nigel Hutson tests an updated version of these essential caravan accessories
Towing mirrors are essential for safe caravanning. So when Milenco, for many the go-to brand in the world of towing mirrors, announced its new-for-2016 mirrors, we had to put them to the test.
Called the Milenco Grand Aero 3, at first glance they look very similar to previous versions. But a closer inspection reveals a few subtle changes.
In the main, the modifications are restricted to the clamps. These still have a slim profile, which will fit the vast majority of car mirrors and still allow that mirror to be adjusted. However, look closer and you’ll see a slender rubber pad in there.
This is designed to prevent the clamps slipping off the car’s mirror if it’s an unusual shape and tricky to attach to. In addition, the moving part of the clamp is now a single moulding, rather than having a separate rubber cover that can pop off and be a fiddle to put back on.
Being more grippy means these new-for-2016 towing mirrors don’t have to be clamped as tight on the mirror housing, which should prevent damage. Plus, each of the thumb screws has either a ‘1’ or ‘2’ moulded into it, showing the order in which they should be tightened.
Earlier this year, we put these new mirrors to the ultimate test at our 2016 Tow Car Awards. How did they perform?
Very well indeed. With 41 cars to test, each set of mirrors was put on and taken off plenty times, and not one came loose or fell off during testing, so it looks as though the improvements have worked.
Practical Caravan's annual Tow Car Awards testing week is a stern test for any product – and for the volunteers involved! I have been very fortunate indeed to have taken part in every Tow Car Awards since the scheme’s inception in 2007. In that time, we have tested some 447 tow cars, and each judge drives every car.
Not only has the event developed over the years, and continues to do so every year, but so has some of the equipment that is used – and often taken for granted.
For instance, every car that goes out on a test run is fitted with a pair of towing mirrors (something that 99.9% of cars towing caravans need, in order for the driver to have adequate rear vision), and we’ve been fortunate enough to have them supplied by Milenco, the leading manufacturer of these vital pieces of safety equipment.
The history of Milenco's towing mirrors
Milenco launched its Aero in 2007 and the larger Grand Aero a year later. The beauty of the latter is that it gives a superb field of vision, and in most cases you can see the complete sides of the caravan, from top to bottom. In 2010 the Grand Aero 2 was launched to give an improved view.
Over the years, we have used both flat and convex lenses, the latter being my personal preference. I can’t remember a car that we did not manage to clamp the mirrors to either, whether it was along the top or bottom edge of the car’s mirrors.
However, we have lost the odd mirror during some of the more extreme testing, when they slipped off because they have been difficult to tighten onto the tow car. Hopefully the 2016 updates seen on the Grand Aero 3 will mean this is a problem of the past for caravanners.
The updates to the Milenco Grand Aero 3 towing mirrors might be hard to spot, but these detail changes are meaningful upgrades to an already very good product.
- They're less fiddly than before
- They'll fit more easily onto unusually-shaped wing mirrors
- They vibrate a little in use