My Power Window is Stuck – Broken Window Problems
Summary: Tips on pinpointing power window problems. Broken power windows are usually caused by one of several things. The most common problem is a bad power window motor. The second most common problem is the regulator, followed by a bad power window switch. If the window regulator is broken it could be binding or the cable could be off one of the pulleys. In a few cases, the window may just be STUCK. This happens sometimes in rear windows that get little use. The weather stripping that the window slides in (AKA called a window run) can sometimes prevent the window from moving.
Sometimes moving the window by hand at the same time the switch is tried can free up the window. The guides can be lubricated with a clear silicone spray. Auto mechanic’s repair many of these power window problems week in and week out. I too have repaired literally hundreds of power windows in nearly all makes of cars over the years. In this how to auto repair blog I’ll let you in on some of my personal tips and tricks, when checking power windows that are not working. Most of the time, broken power window problems can be diagnosed in less than a minute.
Power Window Stops Working
If the window only moves a few inches and stops, but after it is allowed time to cool down – then the window motor will again move a few inches and stop; the power window motor will need to be replaced. If there’s no sound coming from the motor at all, it may not be getting power and ground supplied to it. Another possibility is that the motor itself may have an open circuit. To check for power at the power window motor requires removing the door panel to access the electrical plug. Then wiring can be tested, by using a power probe, test light or multi meter. Over time I’ve learned a short cut that saves the hassle of removing the interior door panel for testing the motor. Due to the demand of current, the fluctuation can be seen by looking for decreased strength of the lights. What I do is; with the key on and engine off, turn the interior and head lights on.
Then I look for a slight dimming of the interior or dash lights when the power window switch is pushed.
If I see a slight flickering or dimming of any of the lights, I know that the power window switch is working.
This tells me in most cases that the power window motor is bad.
You can try this with one of the power windows that is working to see how it affects the interior lights. If there’s no change in the intensity of the lights when trying this with the power window that’s not working, the switch is most likely bad.
Window Appears to Be Off track or is Binding
Windows won’t just go off track by themselves, usually if they fall or bind it’s due to a broken power window regulator. If a window regulator breaks it can cause the window to go out of it’s normal zone causing it fall or bind and therefore it can be out of the window run or guide. If a window seems to be off track, the regulator is most likely broken. Window regulators sometimes have metal gears (which rarely fail) or they have a cable and plastic pulley design (which commonly fail). If the window has fallen, the regulator will most likely need to be replaced. If the glass is pitched unevenly and is binding, the regulator has most likely came apart. The window motor will be heard when pushing the switch in many cases but the window won’t work correctly due to the broken regulator.
Window switches are sometimes exposed to rain or spilled soda’s. The electric contacts in the window switch can be worn, corroded or dirty. Try pushing the window switch particularly hard to see what happens – if it works, the PW switch is the problem and will most likely need to be replaced.
Using the tips above and finding the switch to be working and the motor is not. Remove the door panel and try lightly tapping on the motor with a metallic object. If it temporarily works, the window motor will need to be replaced.
If the window has fallen and it just needs to be put up temporarily, many DIY’s will use a piece of wood to prop it in the upright position until they can a visit a repair shop. *Fair warning though, if the window falls inside the door it can break.