Imagine for a moment a world where cars are completely manual – gear shifting, door locking, seat moving, radio settings, etc., all done manually by the driver. If you’ve survived the past decade of changing auto mechanics and engineering, then you remember this time period well – the time when power windows didn’t exist! Manual windows are things of the past and totally forgotten by most, perhaps by choice. Now, power windows have spared us the manual labor it took to roll them down at a drive thru or to just get some air.
Although the invention of power windows is a luxury many of us rarely acknowledge, the convenience becomes apparent to us when our windows suddenly begin to malfunction. Power windows utilize what’s called a window regulator, which can be prone to failure over time. Regardless of what type of car you drive, power windows can fail and cause significant inconvenience; therefore, it’s important to know what to look for in a failing window regulator and how you can address the issue with an automotive professional.
What are the signs of power window regulator malfunction/failure?
As with any automotive issue, power window failure can either creep up quickly, or can occur suddenly. It’s essential to be on the lookout for any struggles or difficulty you experience while attempting to roll up your windows in your car. Here are some of the most prominent symptoms of power window regulator failure you might encounter and should follow up with immediately to avoid more costly repair bills:
Window doesn’t stay in place
Sometimes when the window regulator begins to fail it can sink into the door and refuse to remain rolled up. Usually drivers don’t notice this issue until they’ve left their car unattended and are surprised to find their car window down. This is a safety concern, so it’s important to have the problem fixed right away. Furthermore, the interior components of your vehicle, such as the upholstery, can become damaged by excessive sun and weather exposure.
Odd sounds as you attempt to roll up the window
The window regulator is essentially a motor that your window uses to roll up and down. If the regulator is beginning to fail, you might notice clicking, screeching, or grinding as you attempt to roll it up or down, or as you engage the power window button. This issue could be due to the window becoming misaligned, causing it to become lodged in an incorrect position. Usually this is due to a failing motor/regulator and should be addressed with immediacy.
The power window button is unresponsive
Your power window button should be working normally at all times, and should be quick to respond. If you notice that your power window button doesn’t seem to be working properly and the window won’t roll up or down, the problem could certainly be electrical in nature, but it is also possible that the problem can be traced back to a failing regulator. A differential diagnosis is necessary to determine what the true source of the problem is.
Window speed rolling up and down is excessively slow or fast
The window regulator not only “regulates” the window up/down mechanism, but it also determines the speed of the up/down action. If you notice that the window is taking a long time to roll up or it practically falls down as you push the “down” button, the regulator should be checked out.
Usually window regulators aren’t examined until there is a problem, which seems fit, as there is little you can do to “maintain” the regulator. If you do encounter problems with your power windows, here are some things to have checked:
• Window regulator
• Power window switch/button
• Electrical connections
• Power window motor