How to fix a stuck power window: 3 practical steps

September 15, 2015

If you've got a power window on your car that's stuck you don't have to drive over to a garage. You can fix your stuck power window on your own in an afternoon. Here's how to do it in three practical steps.

How to fix a stuck power window: 3 practical steps

Getting started

  • When one of your power windows is stuck, the first thing to check is the fuse.
  • If it's good, the problem is either a bad switch or motor or a broken regulator (the device that actually lifts and lowers the glass).
  • For this job you'll need a voltmeter, a basic set of metric sockets, screwdrivers, a drill and most important, a subscription to an online service manual.
  • This sort of subscription allows you to download instructions and diagrams that are specific to your car.
  • The instructions in this article are good as a rough guide, but you should refer to a manual for your particular make of car for specifics.

1. Remove the trim

  • First, remove all the trim panel fasteners to access the switch for testing.
  • Remove the trim panel and peel off the vapour barrier.
  • A trim panel removal tool is cheap (about $5 at auto parts stores) and saves you a lot of time.

2. Test with your voltmeter

  • Reach into the door panel and disconnect the power connector to the window motor (wear leather gloves to protect against cuts).
  • Connect the leads of your voltmeter to the two terminals on the connector.
  • Turn the key to the "on" position and toggle the window switch up and down.
  • If the switch is good, you'll see the voltage reading change from plus 12 volts to minus 12 volts.
  • That means the problem is the motor/regulator.
  • If your meter doesn't display those readings, you've got a bad switch or a broken power or ground wire.
  • Download an electrical diagram and check the power and ground wires leading to the switch to isolate the problem.

3. Replace the old regulator

  • If you need to remove the window's regulator, you first need to remove the glass.
  • Tilt the glass away from the door and lift it out to remove it.
  • Next, remove the regulator bolts or rivets.
  • Drill these bolts out and snake the old regulator out through one of the door panel openings.
  • Reverse that procedure to install the new regulator.
  • Bolt the new regulator in place and then reinstall the motor and window switch electrical connectors and the window glass.
  • Test the window for proper operation.
  • If the glass binds, you may have to loosen the bolts and make minor adjustments to the regulator.
  • Then tighten everything and replace the vapour barrier and trim panel.

Keep this helpful how to in mind next time you have to fix a stuck power window to have an easier time getting the job done.

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