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A sun visor is a component of an automobile located on the interior just above the windshield (also known as the windscreen). They are designed with a hinged flap that is adjustable to help shade the eyes of drivers and passengers from the glare of sunlight.
Starting in 1924, automobiles such as the Ford Model T began to include an exterior sun visor on closed body versions. Other early automobiles also had externally attached sun visors to their windshields until 1931, when interior mounts were introduced. As automobile design advanced with windshields mounted on an angle to lessen wind resistance, the outside or "cadet-type" sun visors were no longer seen on cars starting from 1932. Henceforth, sun visors were mounted inside the vehicle, making the hinged flap easier to reach and adjust.
Most cars have two sun visors, one for the driver's side and a second for the passenger's side, with the rear-view mirror often mounted in between the two sun visors. Each visor can be lowered to help block light from the sun entering through the windshield. They can also be turned towards the front side window, covering a small part of the window at the top to block sunlight shining onto the side of the face.
The sun visor's flap is typically made from pressboard with a piece of metal for its attachment onto a mounting bracket. The mounting bracket is often a metal rod with a slight bend in the middle and a bracket that attaches it with screws to the sheet metal above the headliner. The bend in the rod serves to hold the visor flap in the desired position. The visor flap is covered with a material, most often to complement the interior of the vehicle. Padding on the sun visors became popular for the extra protection afforded to passengers. Such safety improvements included Ford's 1956 Lifeguard package, and the seat belts, as well as padded dash and visors that were offered by 1957 on Rambler cars.
Many sun visors also incorporate a vanity mirror for the passenger's convenience. The visor mounted mirror was among popular dealer-added accessories that provided high profit margins with the sales staff receiving extra incentives to sell them. In some cases, a flip up or sliding cover over the mirror automatically turns on vanity lights, which can be adjusted with a dimmer control (see image).
Visors are also available as an option or standard item from manufacturers with a built in garage door opener.
Aftermarket exterior sun visors are available for trucks as cab visors.
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