How to Fix a Car Window That Won't Roll Up?

by Eli Laurens

Car windows are typically a sheet of glass set into a scissor-pulley track, turned by a crank that is either hand-operated or motorized. When the glass does not roll up and close, several parts may have malfunctioned and require repair. The average mechanic will spend about a half hour to disassemble the door and fix the problem.

1

Remove the door panel to access the window's mechanics. On most vehicles this is done by unscrewing one or more screws set behind the interior door handle, then pulling on the panel to uncouple the plastic pressure rivets. With manual windows, remove the screw holding the window crank to the mount. Once the panel is off, there will be openings in the sheetmetal to access the window pulley and crank.

2

Check the window glass's position in the track(s). If the glass has become dislodged from the track, or tilted to one side, it may not raise when cranked. The tracks themselves may have come loose over time, and may need to be tightened for the glass to fit properly.

3

For manual windows, check the operation of the crank and its connection to the scissor-shaped jacking mechanism. If the crank's operation does not move these arms, the window will not raise. Normally, the entire window pulley system must be replaced when one of the mechanical parts of it fails.

4

For electric-powered windows, check the fuse and wiring circuit to the motor, including the operation switch. Any of the points in the electrical system can fail, and prevent the window from moving. The battery might be dead, or the car's ignition may not be turned on, as some cars require for window operation. The motor itself may fail after years of continuous use, and it is replaced by disconnecting its wires at the adapter plug and unbolting it.

5

Free the window glass, as the window is being prevented from moving. Ice and snow can freeze the window in place, as can glues and adhesives. Removing or melting the blockage will allow the window to move.

Tip

  • check Disconnect the battery before starting a repair.

Warning

  • close Use proper protection equipment when working on a vehicle.

About the Author

Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera www.m-99.co.uk