Introduction: How to Fix Common Electric Window Issues

Picture of How to Fix Common Electric Window Issues

If your car's electric windows are stuck open or stuck shut, it's a major inconvenience. If they're stuck open, you won't be able to close them in case of rain or to secure valuables. If they're stuck shut, you can't open them when you need to let in some fresh air or hand over cash at a toll both.

If this is happening, the root of the problem could be mechanical or electric. This guide from YourMechanic will help you locate and fix the problem so your windows can work properly.

Step 1: Mechanical Diagnosis

If you press the window switch and hear or see the window trying to move, it's more likely a mechanical issue than an electrical issue. To fix a mechanical issue, you will need:

  • Butyl rubber tape
  • Door panel screws (commonly 8mm, 10mm, T30, or phillips)
  • Glass cleaner
  • Gloves
  • Digital Multimeter
  • Panel popper tool
  • Safety glasses
  • Silicone spray
  • Trim wedge
  • White lithium grease

Once you've gathered these materials, you're ready to move onto repairing the mechanical problem.

Step 2: Mechanical Repair

Picture of Mechanical Repair

Follow these steps to repair a mechanical issue with your car's windows:

  1. Remove the door panel. Locate the securing screws, usually behind covers or trim, and undo them. The process of removing the door panel will vary depending on your particular car.
  2. Remove the vapor barrier, which is usually held in place with butyl ribbon sealer.
  3. Visually inspect cables or window guides for broken or misaligned pieces. If you see a loose or broken cable and hear the motor moving when you hit the window switch, the window regulator may need to be replaced.
  4. If the cables are intact and the guides are aligned, the window motor may have stripped gears. Remove the motor from the regulator to check.
  5. Replace or repair any parts that are broken or stuck.
  6. Lubricate moving parts and window guides, and clean the window glass.
  7. Reinstall the door panel using the reverse process to how you removed the panel.

Step 3: Electrical Diagnosis

If you press the window switch and nothing moves, or you don't hear any noises coming from inside the door, it's probably an electrical issue. Diagnosing an electrical issue requires the same materials listed for fixing a mechanical issue. Once you've assembled these, you're ready to move into the diagnosis.

Step 4: Electrical Repair

Picture of Electrical Repair

Follow these steps to repair an electrical issue with your car's windows:

  1. Locate and check the fuse for the problematic window motor. If it's blown, replace the fuse. A blown fuse can indicate increased power draw due to a binding or worn mechanical component, so you should continue with then mechanical repair process once you replace the fuse.
  2. Remove the door panel. Locate the securing screws, usually behind covers or trim, and undo them. The process of removing the door panel will vary depending on your particular car.
  3. Check the electrical input on the power and ground wires, which are generally the two largest wires connected to the window motor. Attach the multimeter to the wires, then activate the window switch with the car's key in the on position. If you are getting power in both directions of the switch, then the electrical wiring to the motor is good, and the motor should be replaced. If you are not getting power to the motor wiring, then you need to check for power going to the window switch.

If power is going to the window switch but no power is coming out, replace the window switch. If you are not getting power to the window switch, it may indicate a larger electrical issue that a qualified mechanic will need to inspect.

Once you've located the source of the problem, follow the same steps to clean, lubricate, and replace the pieces you undid earlier.

YourMechanic offers car repair and maintenance services at the convenience of your home or office, 7 days a week, and saves you up to 30%. A version of this Instructable originally appeared on YourMechanic.com: How to Fix Common Electric Window Issues.

Comments

Toxictom (author)2016-07-25

If the window is frozen shut don't try to force it by trying the switch up and down. Many of these are cable actuated and this will eventually break the cable. I had to replace two on a Chevy Silverado. The replacement window operators are cheap enough but I learned my lesson after the second one.

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