How To Fix Power Windows

If the power windows in your car are not working correctly (or at all) it can be caused by several things. The most common cause is a bad or a fauty power window's motor. The switch might be faulty or the regulator could even be binding or the cable could be off one of the pulleys.

It's rare that windows just get stuck in the weather. But what can happen is stripping (called a run) and need to be freed up and the guides lubricated with silicone spray. Most owner's think immediately of their power windows not working and consider it to be a serious and costly thing to fix. However, over 90% of the time, these type of problems can be diagnosed in less than sixty seconds, and with little expense and time. Sometimes if the glass moves only a few inches and then stops, just allow the motor time to cool down and it will usually move a few inches or so more.

Windows completely stopped working

But you will need to have the power motor replaced. If you hear NO sound at all coming from the motor it may not be getting any power or the motor itself may have an open circuit. To check and see if any power is getting to the motor normally requires removing the inside door panels to access the electrical wiring. After access to the power window wiring is gained, a test light or multimeter can be used to see if it is getting power and ground.

Pro's Tip: Here's a litle known short cut that saves the hassle of removing the door panel for testing the motor. Most of the time when checking this problem, just turn the headlights and interior lights on; look for a slight dimming of the interior or dash lights when the power window switch is pushed.

If a slight flicker or dimming of the interior lights occur, this indicates that the switch is functional and the motor is shot. Try this with one of the power windows that is working to gauge the affect on the interior lights. If you notice there is no change in the brightness of the interior lights when trying this with the inoperative window, the switch could also be bad.

Window is off off its door track

Power windows usually don't just go off track. But if the window appears to be off track it's normally because the regulator has most likely failed. Window regulators either use metal gears (which rarely fail) or they use a cable and plastic pulley design.

The later type is the common cause for failing. If the window has fallen then regulator will NEED to be replaced. If the glass is cocked unevenly and is binding, the regulator has most likely came apart. The motor will be heard when pushing the switch in many cases but the window won't work correctly due to the failed regulator.

Do it yourself tips & advice

Oftentimes the electric contacts in the window switch get worn, corroded or even dirty. Try pushing the switch with your finger hard and deliberately. If the window starts working, then it's the switch that's the problem and it will most likely need replacing. Another thing to do after accessing the electric motor is try tapping on it gently with an blunt object (e.g. a small hammer or wrench) and if it temporarily works, then the window motor will need replacing. You can find helpful advice on how to flush your car radiator.