How to Lubricate a Window Regulator or Mechanism

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Video tutorial on how to lubricate window mechanism in your vehicle, this applies both to manual & power windows. Over time the existing lubricant can become contaminated with dirt, loosing it’s lubrication qualities, and eventually cause excessive wear on certain components. Once those components wear out they’ll require a replacement and depending on the vehicle, this can be costly.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • paper towel
  • degreaser
  • nylon trim tool
  • screwdrivers

Step 1: Remove Door Panel - First Example

Remove the door panel on the vehicle. First is a 2001 Toyota Tacoma. As a rough overview, locate any fasteners which may need to be removed. Here there are two phillips screws hiding behind plastic caps which are removed. Pop up the window switches, disconnect the wires on the rear.

The door handle also has a phillips screw that needs to be removed. Then the handle will need to be slide forward to disconnect it from the door. Remove the cap up by the mirror area. Unclip the panel from the door.

Disconnect any wires in the rear & push the door handle through the panel. Doors typically have a vapor barrier in behind the panel as a form of protection against moisture. This just pulls away, they’re usually held on with butyl tape.

I also removed the door speaker to help gain more access inside the door.

Step 2: Cleaning and Lubrication

The window switches were reconnected, turn on the key & then operate the window. Once you have it in a workable position, turn the ignition off and remove the keys. When the mechanism is moving, do not stick your fingers anywhere near it. Once it’s in the right spot, remove the key. Some vehicles can still have their windows operated for a few minutes when the key is removed, so press the window switches again to determine if this is the case or disconnect the window switches.

Using a degreaser, this can be applied to paper towel, a rag or lightly sprayed to clean away the old lubricant or dirt. Using a grease, apply this within the track, both on the bottom and top where the wheels ride. You should be able to see wear marks where the mechanism runs, grease needs to cover these areas.

Now moving the window up & gaining access to the half moon gear. Again using the degreaser & paper towel, clean away the old grease. Finally apply new grease to the gear. Clean the rubber tracks on each side of the window. Using a brush, either a detailing or toothbrush with a vacuum, clean the rubber tracks.

Using a rubber safe lubricant apply a couple, drops to the inside of the tracks. Only do this on the vertical tracks.

Step 3: Reinstall Door Panel

Once done, reinstall the vapour barrier and any other components which were removed.

Clip on the wire connectors, clip on the door panel, and finish up with any screws or trim pieces. The window can be operated a couple times to ensure it’s functioning correctly, after the lubricant works around you’ll immediately notice a a quieter and smoother operation, along with ensuring those components have a longer life, saving money in the end.

Step 4: Remove Door Panel - Second Example

For a 1998 Ford Ranger, this time around this has a manual window. First removing any screws in the panel. This particular window crank requires the cap to be popped off and a torx screw is hidden in behind. Remove the trim piece on the door panel using a nylon trim tool. Disconnect the power mirror connector. There is one screw hidden in behind this panel. Pull the panel straight up & remove. Pull the vapor barrier back to gain access to the window regular. The window crank can be slid back on to operate the regulator.

Step 5: Cleaning and Lubrication

Using a degreaser, apply it to a paper towel & remove the old grease. For the half moon gear, clean it using paper towel & a degreaser. If this were a power window, DO NOT STICK your fingers anywhere near the mechanism. You can get severely hurt if your fingers get caught in the mechanism. Use a vacuum & brush to clean the vertical rubber tracks. Apply a rubber safe lubricant to only the vertical rubber tracks. Apply a grease to the metal tracks inside the door, both the horizontal & vertical mechanism. Apply grease to the half moon gear.

Step 6: Reinstall Panel

Once done, you can then reinstall the vapour barrier and then reinstall the door panel in reverse of removal. While a manual window has a simpler operation, it doesn’t have an electric motor so there’s less components to fail. It can still use a refresh on lubrication, making it’s operation much smoother and easier.

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