Gone are the days of old when one had to crank your car windows up and down. If you want a laugh, toss a fifteen-year-old in a pre-90’s vehicle that doesn’t have power windows and ask them to roll them down. It’s hard to believe that something touted as an extra feature one might pay for in a vehicle has become standard, but that is exactly what has happened (and thank goodness). The downside to the standardization of power windows is they can occasionally go bad and end up in need of repair. Let’s take a look at how your power windows actually work.
Sections of your power window.
The whole of your power windows, known as power window regulators, are encased within the door of your car and are made up of a few different parts:
The motor: Each window regulator comes equipped with, unsurprisingly, a motor. This little piece of machinery can range from simple, only moving the auto glass up and down, to complex, coming equipped with a microchip that measures the number of rotations it takes for the glass to reach the top of the door and the ability to sense when an object is impeding its progress.
The cables: A cable runs through the motor that serves to move the auto glass up or down, depending on the button pressed.
The track: The track is a long, thin sheet of metal. Picture the track of a drawer and you’ll know what we’re talking about. This track is fastened to the inside of your door.
The guide: This is the piece that slides up and down along the track and to which the bottom of your auto glass is bolted.
Mind you what we’ve just described is the most common type of window regulator that we see. There are others that run two tracks or are even more complex.
What could go wrong with your window regulator?
Diagnosing a broken window regulator can be complex as you’re unable to see inside your door and identify what might be broken. Here a few general rules that can help you identify just what’s gone wrong:
If when you press the button there no sound or movement, it’s very likely the motor has gone bad.
Is the window rolling up and down crooked? If so, one of the bolts holding your auto glass to the guide might have fallen out or broken. We recommend you leave it in a closed position and don’t use the button until it can be repaired!
If sound is produced when you press the power window button but the glass isn’t moving, the cable might have broken and need replacing.
When none of the windows respond to attempts to raise or lower them and no sound is produced, the problem could very well be electrical and the fuse may need replacing.
As you can see, issues with your window regulator can range greatly. Knowledge is power, however, and if it can be diagnosed, it can be repaired. Repairing can be a tricky business as it requires the door to be taken apart.