Fixing a Stuck Car Window Is an Intermediate Job for Most DIYers. Here’s Everything You Need to Know to Fix Your Car Window at Home
- DIY Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Time Required: 2 to 3 hours
- Tools & Materials:
Why Is the Car Window Stuck?
The vast majority of modern vehicles now have electronic mechanisms that roll down your windows for you. Though these are more convenient than manual hand-crank windows, the more complex a system becomes, the more things that can go wrong with it. If you’ve found yourself with a window that is struggling with rolling down and up or won’t do it all, the good news is that you can often fix this problem at home to save yourself some money.
But why do car windows get stuck at all? Here are a few reasons your car window might be on the fritz:
- The fuse in charge of powering the power window is blown.
- The motor that powers the window-lowering or -raising mechanism has malfunctioned.
- The switch that engages the motor and mechanism has gone bad.
- A dent or vehicle damage is blocking the window.
- The window slot is clogged.
How you fix your car window depends on which of these issues you’re dealing with. As with many vehicle issues, one of the most time-consuming parts of this job can be identifying the issue.
Is It Safe to Drive with a Broken Car Window?
Aside from the obvious annoyances of driving around with a car window that’s stuck open, doing so can cause more damage to your vehicle. If you have an electronic window opening mechanism, rainwater can get into your door’s system and make matters worse. What was a simple motor issue could turn into much more the longer you leave your components open to the elements. An inoperative window also limits the security of your vehicle.
If you already have the tools needed to remove the panels of your car door (or don’t mind purchasing them), this can often be an easy and inexpensive fix you can do at home. But if you find that the issue is from an electrical connection and you don’t feel comfortable tinkering around with your vehicle’s wires, we suggest that you take your vehicle to a shop to be safe.
What Are Common Symptoms Indicating You Need to Fix a Car Window?
Sometimes you can catch this issue ahead of time if it starts to display some warning symptoms. As with any other vehicle system, your window-rolling mechanisms are subject to wear and tear. Be on the lookout for these symptoms to tell if your car window is about to lose its ability to roll up and down:
- It takes multiple button pushes to get your window to roll down or up.
- Your window is taking longer to roll down or up.
- You can hear new and unusual sounds such as clicking coming from the door.
- The window isn’t staying up by itself.
- The window is crooked.
Keep in Mind
Before you start taking your vehicle apart to replace a car window or window mechanism, be sure to check the repair manual for any useful information about the process. If you’re not confident with taking on this job, consider taking your vehicle to a trusted mechanic to save your time and the potentially higher repair bill if you make a bad mistake.
If you’re repairing a window that’s stuck open or closed, be aware that not every vehicle has the same solution. It’s up to the manufacturer what mechanisms and motors go into your car door. This is why it’s very important that you read your owner’s manual or repair guide to figure out what parts your vehicle needs if you need to replace anything.
How To Fix a Stuck Car Window
Step 1: Double-Check to See If the Problem is What You Think It Is
Before you do anything, make sure your child safety locks aren’t engaged. If this is a one-time occurrence, try turning your car on and off again. If it’s very cold outside, try warming up your vehicle to melt potential ice or snow blockages.
Next, you should check your vehicle’s electronics such as the interior lights to see if anything else is having issues. This will help you figure out if the problem is circuitry or battery issue.
If none of these work, then it might be time to get down to business.
Step 2: Remove the Interior Panel
To get to your window’s components, you’ll need to remove the interior door panel. You can do this by removing the door’s trim panel fasteners. Where these are depends on your model. Using a trim panel remover can make this job much easier. After you remove the panel, peel off the vapor barrier.
Step 3: Disconnect Window Motor
Disconnect the power connector that powers your window’s motor. Use a voltmeter to test the terminals of the connector. If the motor is getting enough power, your voltmeter should change from plus-12 to minus-12 volts. If this is the case, then the door’s motor is likely the issue and needs to be replaced. If the voltmeter is reading anything else, you might have a damaged or faulty ground wire, power wire, or switch.
If the latter is the case, you should be sure you’re ready to work on the electrical system in your vehicle before you move forward. However, if you find that it’s the motor that’s the problem, you can order a replacement and simply switch the old unit out with the new unit. Be sure to reinstall the power connector appropriately.
Still Need Help?
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Disclaimer: The guidelines in this article are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
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