Can a Radar Detector Really Damage Your Chevrolet Corvette C8?

Everything on modern cars is more complicated than they seem. Even glass and mirrors have miles of wiring and piles of tech. Cars like the Chevrolet C8 Corvette are no exception. In fact, Corvette owners are noticing that one of their once-simple pieces of glass is getting destroyed by radar detectors. 

LAPD motor officer Troy Williams with his "Lidar" gun, a laser guided infrared radar, on Sherman Way
LAPD motor officer | BRIAN VANDER BRUG/Los Angeles Times DIGITAL IMAGE

How can a radar detector hurt your Chevrolet C8 Corvette? 

According to our friends at Roadshow, GM issued a service bulletin in late November warning Corvette owners with side-mirror-mounted radar detectors that their sleuthy devices might tear their beloved Corvette up. 

The warning is specifically “for owners that hard-wire a radar detector behind the rearview mirror; the aftermarket device can change voltage levels in the vehicle, and specifically targets the side mirrors.” This disrupted voltage can cause the mirrors to dim or even spider web with obscuring lines on the glass. 

C8 Corvette side mirror damage from radar detector
Chevrolet C8 Corvette | GM

One of the plugs is overvolting the mirror and disrupting the other factory electronics within the side mirror. GM dealers are not covering this damage under warranty. Since the repair bill goes to the owner, GM recommends that C8 Corvette owners who have made this mod get a certified mechanic to unplug the radar detector and/or fix the damaged mirror. 

Is putting after-market parts on your car a good idea? 

The problem with aftermarket parts on factory cars is that OEMs build their cars to work with factory specs. It is easy to overwhelm or disrupt the many computers in cars today with foreign bits unless the parts were made well by a company that knows the car. 

Of course, plenty of people modifies their factory cars every day. There are plenty of aftermarket parts and part makers who work with OEMs to ensure the parts are compliant. But before doing any modifications to your car, make sure you do the research. This will inform you of the quality of the parts you use and the legality of the modification. 

Are radar detectors illegal? 

Yes. Radar detectors have a lot of myths and misconceptions around them. However, the little speeder’s friend is legal in every state except Virginia and D.C., Meaning 49 of the 50 states will allow all the radar detecting your Honda Civic can detect. 

As the Chevrolet C8 Corvette has proven, not all radar detectors are a good fit for every car. In fairness to the radar detectors, the C8 Corvette seems like a fairly disagreeable car. It has had so many setbacks, recalls, delays, issues, and other such ass pains that this unwieldy voltage in the side mirrors shouldn’t come as much surprise to anyone. 

Thankfully, the voltage isn’t setting them on fire or making something explode. With the C8’s track record thus far, that doesn’t feel out of the realm of possibility. 

So, if you have the side mirror radar detector in your Chevrolet C8 Corvette, it would behoove you to take care of that before it ruins your mirror. 

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