How to Adjust Power Window Regulator Tension

by Sam Smith
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For car owners with power windows, nothing is more frustrating than having to help a sticky window down at the drive-through. The switch works, but the motor is laboring to lower the window. So, what gives? Chances are, the tension on the window regulator has gone awry. Window regulators are a track and linkage system inside the door panel that transfers power from the window motor to the bottom of the glass. Fortunately, adjusting tension on the regulator is a fairly simple task -- it's getting at the device that takes a little finesse.

Access the Door Panel

Step 1

Remove any screws on the door handle bezel by turning counterclockwise with a screwdriver. Slip the screwdriver blade between the bezel and the decorative covering and pry gently until the bezel pops loose. Slide the bezel over the door handle then set it aside.

Step 2

Slip the small pry bar between the window control assembly and the decorative paneling and pry gently until the control assembly is freed. Pull loose the wire bundle attached to the control assembly then set the controls aside. Repeat this step for any other lock or mirror control assemblies.

Step 3

Remove any screws and bolts that fasten the decorative panel to the door by turning counterclockwise with a screwdriver or socket wrench.

Step 4

Slip the small pry bar between the decorative door panel and the door frame and pry gently until you feel a pop. Slide the pry bar a few inches in either direction and pry again until the panel pops. Continue sliding and prying until you have gone all the way around the decorative door panel. Pull the panel off the door frame and set it aside.

Peel back any plastic insulation that may be installed between the door panel and the door frame.

Adjust the Regulator

Step 1

Reconnect the window control assembly to the wire bundle and turn the vehicle's ignition to the "on" or "run" position. Lower the window to about 1/4 inch below fully closed.

Step 2

Locate the two jack screws at the bottom of the window regulator, and turn them to adjust the window's tension against the car frame. Turning the jack screws clockwise will draw the window closer to the frame of the car; counterclockwise will push the window toward the street.

Step 3

Turn each jack screw about a quarter-turn at a time, alternating between the two screws, until the desired tension is achieved.

Disconnect the window control assembly, then replace the door panel, switches and trim by following Section 1 in reverse.

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