Do It Yourself Auto Repair: Power Window Fixes You Can Do Yourself

How to fix those annoying power windows without having to rely on a repair shop or dealership. Power windows are easier than anyone thinks.

Repairs done to a power window system are rather simple.

The system is divided into 4 separate parts. Power, protection, user control and mechanical operation.

This article shows how they all come together.

At its root, the windows are powered by the battery - the central core of all power in any car.

If the battery is dead the power windows are dead. Make sure you're not chasing the wrong symptoms.

Reassuring that the battery is charged, the next thing to check is the fuse related to the power window system.

The fuse panel can be located under the drivers dash, in the glovebox, in the drivers door jamb, drivers' kick panel, or the passengers jamb or kick panel.

If the fuse looks good then, using a 12 volt test light, check for power going to the fuse.

Remember that the key has to be in the 'On' position to power the fuse.

The engine does not have to be running.

Power at the fuse with the key in the 'On' position also verifies that the ignition switch and all the wires before and after it are functioning properly.

The ignition switch only allows power to the windows when the key is turned to the 'On' position to keep children and pets from running the windows. This allows you to keep pets contained in the vehicle and keeps children from burning out the window motors from excessive running when the car is parked in the driveway.

It also keeps thieves from putting a clothes hanger or other long skinny rod down through the top of the door and visually pushing the window switch to gain access.

Next down the line of power is the window switch.

Remove the window switch from the door and use the 12 volt test light to check for power to atleast one wire. If there is power, check for power at the other ones as the switch is pushed up or down.

Also, push the switch up and down and notice if the domelight dims more than usual.

This will tell if the window motor itself is seized and drawing extra current.

Remove the wiring harness from the window motor and check for power with the switch pushed. If power exists then either the motor is bad or the glass or arms are binding.

Remove the glass from the arms and move it up and down. It should slide easily.

(Note that window motors should only be replaced by a professional technician.

The spring and arms are under extreme pressure and can cause harm.

If you still want to try, concider this a warning.)

Window motor replacements tend to go easier if the motor and arm/spring assembly is removed as a unit.

Four or five rivets typically hold the entire assembly to the door.

Remove the glass from the upper arm and hold it up with several pieces of tuct tape.

With some manuevering, the motor and arms will come out of the largest door panel access hole.

The arms will look like an 'X'.

Place two arms of the assembly into a bench vise together to keep them from moving freely. A pair of welders' vise-grip pliers will work if a bench vice isn't available, but it's not very safe.

If the arms are not secure they will close like a pair of scissors and could take a finger, or worse.

With the arms secure, remove the motor and replace it with a new unit. If the motor doesn't want to be removed easily the arms may not be properly secured.

Before going through the hassle of reinstallation plug the motor into the wiring harness and run the switch to make sure the new motor actually works.

This also allows for adjusting the arms for easier installation since taking it out as a large 'X' was a pain.

Install the assembly and reattach the glass.

Run the switch again to check for any clearance or binding problems.

This would also be a good time to lube the window tracks, where the glass rides inside the door, with a light or lithium grease.

Clean the glass and reinstall the door panel.

That's all there is to the entire system.

© High Speed Ventures 2011