How To Repair Your Car's Power Windows

Matthew Keegan

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As you’re driving down the turnpike and approaching the tollbooth, you reach for the switch to lower your window and nothing happens. The switch moves but the window does not budge. Not even a noise from the window motor can be heard which strongly suggests to you that the device is not functioning. You must stop your car and open up the door to pay the attendant before continuing on your trip. Thoughts of an expensive car repair bill are dancing through your head, putting you in a foul mood and tempering the anticipated fun of your getaway weekend. Don’t despair: you can repair the power window yourself and save a bundle over expensive dealership charges. Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to fix the problem yourself and save a lot of cash in the process.

Before assuming that the window regulator must be replaced you should first rule out the possibility of dirty electrical contacts. On most cars the main power for all switches goes through the master switch located at the driver’s console. Sometimes the switch is dirty causing the window to malfunction. If this is the case, take the necessary steps to clean the contact and your problem should be resolved.

Should you determine that the contacts are clean and your switch is functioning, then it is likely that the motor has burned out and is in need of replacing. Whether you are installing a Honda window regulator or a Volkswagen window regulator, or a regulator for any other make the steps involved in replacing a window regulator are usually quite similar:

1. Remove the door panel for the affected window.

2. Locate and remove the bolts holding the regulator to the door; it is likely you will have to manually lower the window in order to access the bolts.

3. Remove the old regulator, disconnect all wiring, and replace the old regulator with a new one you have purchased from a parts supplier. Shop online to find the best value as you will pay a mint if you order one through a dealership.

4. Tighten the bolts holding the new regulator and reinstall the moisture barrier. Make sure all the wires are put back in the door before closing the door panel.

5. Engage the power window switch and the new regulator should work unimpeded.

Of course, follow your car’s repair manual for specific instructions.

I’ve given to you a general outline to convince you that this is a task that even a novice mechanic can handle – in other words: you can do it! By handling the problem yourself, you’ll save plenty of money by avoiding garages who will mark up the replacement part as well as tack on several hours of labor costs to your bill. Shop online to compare prices and to receive the best shipping and handling arrangements available.

Matt is a contributing writer for Car Parts Stuff.


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