NEWS

You Can’t Get Towing Mirrors on a 2021 F-150 Limited, So What Do You Do?

ford-f-150-hybrid-supercrew-limited--02-angle--black--exterior--front--towing.jpg 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Supercrew Limited | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

We’ve owned a 2021 Ford F-150 Limited with PowerBoost hybrid powertrain (boy, that’s a mouthful) for several months now, having purchased one after it won our Best of 2021 award earlier this year. Wanting to experience all the tech that the new ‘21 F-150 offers, we found a top-of-the-line Limited trim with big blingy wheels, two-tone leather interior, gimmicky folding transmission shifter and things like that. The Limited also comes with the Max Trailer Tow Package, which includes a seven-pin harness connector, Class IV hitch receiver, Pro Trailer Backup Assist system, integrated trailer brake controller and an LED light on the tailgate. Given the Limited’s 11,000-pound towing capacity, I was looking forward to towing my friend’s brand-new, 25-foot Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB on vacation.

But then I learned something interesting about the Limited we purchased: The Max Trailer Tow Package does not include power-extending trailer tow mirrors that slide out to widen your aft field of view, allowing you to see behind a wide trailer like a chonky Airstream camper.

Related: Owning the 2021 Ford F-150

Those mirrors are available as a stand-alone option, according to the Ford vehicle build configurator, but here’s what the configurator doesn’t tell: The trailer tow mirrors are not even offered for Ford’s top trim pickup truck. If you’re planning on towing with your luxe-o-truck and what you’re towing is wide, you’ll have to find your own solution if you want to see around it because Ford doesn’t offer one.

ford-f-150-hybrid-supercrew-limited-2021-01-exterior--side-view-mirror--towing-mirror.jpg 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Supercrew Limited | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

What Can You Do?

And I do mean find your own solution — a Ford spokesperson told us we should work with our dealer and that, in the past, towing mirrors simply didn’t have a high take rate with people who bought the Limited trim. In other words, you’re on your own to figure out what to do. Armed with that conundrum, we turned to suppliers of aftermarket towing mirrors and found that there are plenty of parts out there — but they’re almost universally poorly reviewed. 

Almost, but not entirely. There’s one solution that would be ideal: slip-on aftermarket mirror caps that affix over the existing mirrors but include an extension that widens the field of view to the rear. Several manufacturers make such things, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed development of them for the redesigned 2021 F-150, which has differently shaped mirrors than the outgoing 2020 model, so none were yet available at the time of my planned trip. So we went with the next most recommended option, clip-on adjustable mirrors that also affix to the existing mirror caps but tighten down with adjustable rubber straps.

ford-f-150-hybrid-supercrew-limited--07-exterior--side-view-mirror--towing-mirror.jpg 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Supercrew Limited | Cars.com photo by Joe Bruzek

How Did They Work? 

Specifically, we ordered from etrailer.com. Reviews are mixed, and despite claims that they’re vibration-free, many complaints surround the fact that the adjustable mirrors themselves shake considerably. I tried similar mirrors on a 2020 Ford Explorer ST I towed with last year to no avail, but I think I discovered why they didn’t work in that application yet did work here. The extensions affix snugly on the F-150’s squared-off mirror caps because of the caps’ shape: Parallel upper and lower surfaces allow for consistent grip, and the Limited’s side-view cameras on the bottom of the mirrors actually act as a blockage to prevent the straps from sliding off. 

After affixing the K-Source extensions to the F-150 mirror caps, they didn’t budge over more than 1,800 miles of highway towing. I’d call that pretty damned secure! Do the mirrors themselves vibrate? Yes, considerably. But they still allow you to see if there are vehicles behind your widebody trailer; so what if you can’t tell if it’s a Mercury or a Mercedes-Benz?

They do provide an extra level of welcome spatial awareness that aids considerably in peace of mind when changing lanes, rounding tight corners or navigating parking lots. The F-150 Limited’s existing mirrors are more than adequate if you’re towing something on a flatbed, like a race car or personal watercraft. But for a big camper, the extensions we installed worked well enough, even if they weren’t our first choice for equipment.

ford-f-150-hybrid-supercrew-limited--06-exterior--side-view-mirror--towing-mirror.jpg 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Supercrew Limited | Cars.com photo by Joe Bruzek

What’s a Better Option?

Frankly, if you do plan on towing with a 2021 F-150, your better bet might be to skip the primo Limited trim and ratchet your ambitions one notch lower to the Platinum trim. You can still option it up with niceties like a power tailgate, the more powerful Bang & Olufsen audio system and twin-panel moonroof (all things standard on the Limited), but you’re also allowed to specify the trailer tow mirrors as a $250 option provided you’ve already selected the required towing and 360-Degree Camera packages.

I honestly think that the F-150 Platinum is probably the better trim option for the F-150 given that it has smaller 20-inch wheels on thicker-sidewall tires instead of the Limited’s rather punishing 22-inch wheels on lower-profile rubber. It’s easily as luxurious as the Limited, which, despite its super-lofty $70,000-plus price, still doesn’t feel anywhere near as premium as a mid-level Ram 1500. The Platinum has almost all of the amenities, but I suspect would work just a little bit better as a working truck than the prestige-aimed Limited trim.

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But if you already have a Limited and plan on towing some wide trailers with it, that extra visibility afforded by a set of $100 clip-on mirrors is definitely worth your time and money, at least until some suitable slip-on covers arrive.

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