How Do I Diagnose Problems With a Power Window Regulator in a Car?

by Justin Cupler
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car door image by Albert Lozano from

The power window in your car consists of three main components: the switch window motor and regulator. The regulator is what is commonly referred to as the track or the lift. When this part goes bad, it can cause several symptoms, including uneven movement, sudden dropping of the window or no movement at all. There are several diagnostic steps to determine if the problem is the power window regulator.

Step 1

Open the door and remove the screws holding the door panel to the door frame. The screws are hidden all around the door so make sure you get them all.

Step 2

Pry out the trim clips at the base of the door with the trim clip tool. Release all of the clips then pull the panel away from the door.

Step 3

Disconnect the wiring harness that plugs into the window switch by pressing the locking button and pulling the harness straight out.

Step 4

Examine the inside of the door to find the motor and frame that the window sits on. This is the window regulator.

Step 5

Disconnect the window motor wiring harness from the vehicle.

Step 6

Position the car battery near the door and use the wire to connect the positive and negative terminals of the battery to the window motor. Watch the window motor closely to make certain it is operating.

Step 7

Observe the movement of the cable and the pivot points on the window regulator as the motor spins. If the cable appears to slip or the pivots point are loose, this means that the regulator will need to be replaced.

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