Give Your Car the Features the Factory Neglected Using Arduino

A big part of buying a new car is deciding what trim level and options you’re willing to pay for. In some cases, the bangin’ stereo and trick spoiler are worth the upgrade, but sometimes it’s better just to save the money for gas. And, other times you run into a situation like Balrog-k1n’s, and your car is simply missing an obvious feature.

Balrog-k1n owns a Nissan Qashqai (the Rogue Sport in the United States), and it came equipped with motorized folding mirrors. Annoyingly, however, their position had to be manually toggled using a button in the interior—unlike newer models which automatically fold the mirrors when the car is parked. So, Balrog-k1n used an Arduino to deal with that glaring oversight in older models like his.

The build only required a handful of components: a 5V Arduino Pro Mini, a H-bridge motor driver, and some miscellaneous components like MOSFETs and resistors. The Arduino connects to the Qashqai’s mirror motors through the H-bridge, and to the wires that carry the signal for the door locks. When the car is locked, the mirrors fold in, and when it’s unlocked they fold out—just as they should have done from the factory.

Performing this operation on your own car would require a bit of work to decipher the wiring schematics, but it should be possible on any vehicle with motorized mirrors. Plus, with the Arduino already in place you can add other nifty features. In Balrog-k1n’s case, that was to play the Star Wars Imperial March music when the Qashqai is started.