Miata Power Window Problemsby Mike Southern
If you have a Mazda Miata with power windows, there is a good chance that you have had some sort of problem with them. While the windows generally work fine with no problems, it is not unusual to have one window that stops partway down, or a window that moves slowly when you raise or lower it, or even to have both windows go out at once. Many of these problems are not expensive to fix, and can be handled by the owner himself.
If both windows stop working at the same time, you may simply have a blown fuse. Check the car's fusebox; find a fuse labeled either as "POWER WIND (30A)" or "P.WIND (30A)." Pull the fuse and replace it if it is blown.
A common problem is a window (one or both) that moves up or down more slowly than normal. This is often little more than a buildup of dust and dirt in the guide channel along the small vent window on the door. Clean the channel using a cotton swab and some denatured alcohol, then apply some lubricating grease intended for use on rubber and silicone with another cotton swab.
Loose or Broken Cable
There are cables inside the door panels that connect the motor and window regulator. These cables can slip off their pulleys and stop the window partway down, which may allow the window to travel up and down for only a few inches; they can also break, leaving the window stuck in one position. (You can often identify a broken cable because the motor continues to run while you hold the switch, although the window is not moving.) Remove the door panel, so you can slip the cable back into its pulley track or replace the cable. The cables are inexpensive, but purchase a Miata repair manual to walk you through this procedure.
Dirty Window Switch
On occasion the power window switches in the center console can develop dirty contacts that interfere with the operation of the switch. (This problem is not unique to Miatas; even home entertainment equipment develop this buildup over time.) Because these switches are fairly expensive, you may want to remove the switch, disassemble it, and try cleaning the contacts with electronic switch cleaner. This often solves the problem but if not, the switch may need to be replaced.
Failure of Major Electrical Components
As a general rule, power window problems are a matter of electrical failure or cable failure. If the relatively simple (and inexpensive) fixes already listed do not solve the problem, it is probable that a major component---a motor or regulator---has failed. Owners typically take their cars to a shop for these repairs; however, it is possible to replace defective parts yourself. Again, get a Miata repair manual to walk you through the necessary procedures if you take this route.
North Carolina native Mike Southern has been writing since 1979. He is the author of the instructional golf book "Ruthless Putting" and edited a collection of swashbuckling novels. Southern was trained in electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College and is also an occasional woodworker.