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How to fix a Window Regulator on your Car

Things You’ll Need

Screw drivers

Wrench and ratchet set

Digital multimeter or voltmeter

Jumper wires

Spray type window regulator grease

Hand drill (if your car use rivets in place of bolts)

Car manual

Window Regulator Repair Steps

The window regulator on your car is connected to several parts, especially if it’s the powered type. During repair, you need to check the entire system including the wiring and associated components. These steps explain how to fix a window regulator in most cars.

testing a power window switch
testing a power window switch

Step 1 Test Window Regulator Switch

A faulty switch often causes bad window regulator symptoms. Start by testing it. For that, you need your digital multimeter. Pry open the switch and door panels to gain access to the motor connector. Using the multimeter probes, check if the switch is passing current. Here is how to do it:

  • Detach the window motor connector

  • Connect the millimeter probes to the connector to measure voltage

  • Push the window switch to move the window up and down

  • The multimeter should read 12V then -12 as the polarity changes. This indicates a working switch

  • If there’s no voltage, the switch is bad and needs replacing, or the wiring upstream is compromised

Step 2 Test Window Regulator Motor

The window motor fails if it burns out, often due to overheating. A worn motor will also cause window regulator problems. When that happens, your car window will not work at all- or works but weakly. Having tested the switch, we can now proceed to the motor. Here is how to test a window regulator motor:

  • Start by back probing (check video) the motor connector to test for voltage when you press the switch. If the connection is analogue, it will have two wires and easy to test. Digital connections are multi-wired and may be difficult to diagnose

  • If there’s power reaching the motor, it means the motor is the problem

  • Confirm the window motor problem by powering it directly. For that, use your jumper wires to connect the battery voltage to the motor terminals

  • The motor must spin. If it doesn’t, replace it or the entire window regulator mechanism. It depends on if the motor is built to the mechanism or separate

rusted window regulator parts
rusted window regulator parts

Step 3 Inspect the Window Regulator Assembly

There are instances where the switch and motor are in good condition but the window regulator lifting mechanism broken. Some of the things that can cause that to happen include broken or worn parts gears and pulleys or rollers, worn, snapped or tangled cable, and more.

Being a mechanical assembly, most of these window regulator faults are diagnosable just by looking. A visual examination will reveal rusted parts, for example, dried grease, or broken and bent parts. Here is how to fix a window regulator assembly that’s not working.

  • Secure the glass to prevent it from falling when you remove the window regulator rivets or bolts. You may use suction cups, painter’s tape or any other tape that may serve the required function

  • Take out the fasteners that hold the window regulator assembly in place, then gently slide it out through the opening on the door frame

  • Spread the assembly on a flat surface and where there is sufficient lighting. Clean and check it for signs of damage such as rust or corrosion, dried lubricant, worn or broken parts, tangled, loose, frayed, or snapped cables, and more.

  • If using window regulator repair kit, you will have parts to replace worn or broken components. You may also purchase the replaceable parts separately but that would be costly.

  • If you suspect excessive window regulator damage, consider installing a new mechanism. Sometimes, the repair cost offers little financial savings. Depending on the type of damage, make the right choice.

  • Complete the window regulator repair steps by greasing the assembly. Use the recommended type of grease for window regulator parts, such as silicone grease, to achieve the best results.

Step 4 Install Window Regulator

Reinstall the repaired window regulator by sliding it into the door space and bolting it in place. If the motor is separate replace it too. Test the assembly to see if it’s working. If it doesn’t, the mechanism could be too worn for repair. Instead, replace it with a new one.

Car window regulator repair involves more than inspecting the mechanism or testing the motor and switch. There are times when these parts are in good condition but you cannot get the window to move. That happens as a result of bad wiring, blown fuse, and damaged relay.

Unless you replace these parts, your car power window will not work. Note that the location of the components varies across different vehicles, and you might need your car’s manual. Check the parts using a multimeter and visual inspection then replace the faulty ones.

the window repair cost depends on type of car and window mechanism
the window repair cost depends on type of car and window mechanism

How much does it Cost to fix a Window Regulator?

If you do not know how to fix a window regulator, the only other option is to take your car to a mechanic. Charges vary from one repair shop to another. The car window regulator repair cost also depends on your type of car or regulator mechanism. If you own a high-end car, for example, the cost will be higher than usual.

On average, the cost to fix a window regulator ranges from $75 to around $350. This includes the cost of different parts or window regulator kit- which often goes for around 25 dollars. As stated earlier, labor charges vary across different repair facilities and may be higher than the quoted figures.

When looking for a window repair shop in your locality, consider checking their rates online. This will give you a chance to compare prices and make the right choice. An online search will also offer you the opportunity to check the ratings of a repair facility before deciding to take your car there.

Another important thing to remember when estimating your car window regulator repair cost is the cost of the particular repair kit. The type of parts that need replacing, too. Most often, manufacturers produce kits to repair specific parts.


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