Car Window Won’t Go Down? Try These Fixes

Car Window Won't Go Down

Have you driven up to the drive through window to grab a bite to eat, only to find the window won’t go down? How embarrassing right? Well don’t worry, the window can be repaired. Read on to find out why the window won’t go down and what you can do to fix it.

How Power Windows Work

The evolution of the car window from the old crank to the press of a button happened over seven or eight decades. Power windows emerged in the 1970s as automobile design continued to capitalize on the possibilities of electricity. The power window comes with a window motor attached to a worm gear. Along with other gears, the motor and worm gear create torque in order to raise the window. The regulator slides into a groove and moves the window.

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Today, most vehicles have the automatic rolling function for when the power window is raised or lowered which automatically activates the motor and regulator. Toggle switches allow all of the windows in the car to be raised or lowered and similarly, the doors can be locked. Overall, the power window is better for people with disabilities, such as arthritis. Parents can control the windows for small children.

Causes of Power Windows Not Working

Due to that fact that everything in newer cars is powered, it is common for the powered parts to fail sometimes. You can troubleshoot the problem so that it may be repaired. Here are the most common reasons why your power window is not working properly:

Window sticking on track – Sometimes the power window will go part of the way up or down but remains stuck in one position. You may have tried to get it to move by pressing the window power button over and over. The window area will make a clicking sound, which means the motor is fine, there may be something stuck. The window can sometimes get stuck on the track due to just about any type of debris. More friction causes the window to stick which means the track must be lubricated.

Blown fuse – When the power window will not work at all when you press the button, there is no power getting to the window. The lack of power can be for a number of reasons, one reason is a blown fuse. There is a fuse in the fuse box under your dash that is for the window system. If the fuse is blown, none of the windows will work. You will have to replace the fuse and test the windows to see if that was the problem.

Bad window regulators – The window regulator is an arm that connects the window motor to the glass. The regulator raises the window up and down when the button is pressed. It is a part of the window system inside the door. In some cases, the motor and the regulator are combined in one assembly. The regulator can become disconnected from the other parts or it may just be worn out. If the regulator is bad, the window may only go up if you press the button many times. It will go up and down at a slower speed and you may here clicking noises from inside the door.

Bad window motor – The window motor provides the power needed to raise and lower the window. The motor does the job that we used to do by cranking a window handle either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Each window has a motor with a gear which connects to the regulator. Sometimes, the bearings or brushes in the motor go bad or the windings in the motor wear out. It could be the motor or a bad pulley cable.

Bad power window switch – Each window in the car has a power window switch. Pressing the window button too aggressively or using the power switch too much can expedite the wear on the switch. When the power window switch is bad, the power window will not work even though the motor is still good. When the switch is bad, it only effects the one window as each window has a switch. If all of the other windows work, test the switch for the power window that won’t work.

Bad wiring – A series of wires connect the components of the window system. This includes a wire circuit that runs between the switch and the motor along with a ground. These wires can become damaged, worn, or corroded over time. When wires do not send the require voltage, the motors and switches do not work.

Cold Weather – During cold weather seasons, the window glass can become stuck to the frame. If the glass is really stuck, the window and frame can be frozen together and the regulator may not be enough to move the glass. If it gets cold enough for this to happen frequently, the regulator may wear down faster than usual.

You Don’t Like Your Car – if you don’t maintain your car, it can lead to the window components failing. Your windows allow you to keep the car cool and it can make you comfortable as a driver. If you want to avoid having bad components like the power window, then you’ll need to maintain them.

If you want to avoid window problems or other issues and save $100s of dollars that you’ll spend at the auto repair shop, you’ll need to service your vehicle often – you can use our mechanic-rated Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual to do this. It’s basically what mechanics use to go through your vehicle to check if there are any problems that need fixing. As soon as they notice the most minor problem, they’ll ask you to fork out some money even though it’s a problem you can fix yourself in minutes – the manual will teach you how to maintain your vehicle every few thousand miles and it’ll teach you how to fix minor problems that mechanics will ask you to pay for; saving you money in the long run.

A lot of our readers have the Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual printed on their garage wall and 92% of them haven’t visited the auto repair shop in the last year because they know what to do to avoid problems. All it takes is giving your vehicle a little attention every few thousand miles and you’ll never spend money at the workshop again.

Symptoms of Power Windows Not Working

There are several reasons why a power window is not operating as it should. There are several parts inside the door panel which could be worn or damaged. Also, the window is powered by electricity, which means there could a wiring problem. Here are some of the most common symptoms of a power window that is not working:

Warning Light – Just as the ECU monitors the other parts in your car, it also monitors the sensors and other parts of the window system. When the CPS is malfunctioning or not working at all, the ECU will activate the check engine light (CEL) and show codes in the OBD2 system pertaining to the crankshaft area. You may also see an activated malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) (view on Amazon) along with OBD2 diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) trouble codes.

Window going up and down at slow speeds – If your power windows are going up and down at slower speeds, it means either the window is sticking to the track or that something in the assembly is about to go out.

Clicking noises when you press the button – If you hear a clicking or grinding sound but the window moves, you know that the motor is getting power, but there is a problem. If you hear the sound but the window does not move, it could be the motor or there is a problem with the alignment of the parts. The contact points on the switch may be dirty, which means they have to be cleaned.

Window won’t stay up – If your power window won’t stay up, the first thing you can do is use the palm of your hands to push the window up and then pull the fuse. If that doesn’t work, you may have to remove the door panel to get the window back up manually. A broken or damaged regulator cable can also cause the window to slip down.

Window is crooked – Car windows that are slanted or drooping indicate that the window parts are misaligned. The adhesive in older car window systems may be weakening. You may have to remove the door trim to fix the problem.

How to Diagnose a Bad Power Window

Several things can result from a power window system that is malfunctioning. Depending upon the case, fixing the problem can usually be done by removing a blown fuse or removing the door panel. First, find out if and where there is a problem, here are a few things you can do to diagnose a power window that is not working:

Check the fuse -The first thing you want to check if your power window(s) are not working is the fuse. Vehicles made after 1985 use Fuse 4 (30A) for the window motor. You can find the fuse in the fuse box under the dash. If you’re not sure which is for the power window, check your owner’s manual, or there may be a diagram inside the cover of the fuse box. If your vehicle was made before 1985, the fuse will be located in the extra fuse box, Fuse 8 (16A). Once you find the right fuse, examine it to see if it is blown. If it is, you must replace with the same type of fuse. Then check to see if the power window is working.

Check the power relay – Next, if the fuse is not the issue, check the power window relay. If your car was made after 1985, the Central Electric Panel should be on the lower left hand side of the center console. From there, remove the power window relay, jumper terminal 30, and jumper terminal 87. After the jumper is installed, test the window to see if it works. If it does work, the window motor is fine and does not need to be replaced.

Check the power window switch – If the motor is good and the fuse is not blown, it’s time to test your power window switch. You must remove the door panel to access the switch. Once the panel is removed, use a voltimeter or an ohmmeter to test the switch. The two terminals “4” and “5” should have 12VDC readings or something close to there. The other terminals should be less than 1 ohm when the switch is open. Low voltage means that switch may need replacing, and also the motor could be going bad. You will have to remove the door panel to check this problem.

Check the OBD2 codes – When components in your power window system go bad, the computer in your car makes a record of each event. You can use an OBD2 Scanner (view on Amazon) to check the trouble codes that have been thrown about your vehicle. One code that you may get is the U0225 “Lost Communication With Door Motor D” code, which means the Door Window D located inside the door panel and the control modules are not in communication with each other. This is a generic code that suggest you check the window motor and sensors. This code may not come on for certain problems with the windows.

Get an inspection– If you don’t have an OBD2 scanner, or you don’t know how to use one, you can take your car to a local automotive repair shop. They are likely to have a scanner. Most car repair shops have computerized tools to perform diagnostics on your vehicle. If you are due for a regular service call, make sure to tell the technician about the window that is not working.

Safety First

Although you drive regardless of the condition of your windows, it’s not a good idea to drive around like that if you can help it. Changes in weather, polluted air, children in the back seat, blowing the air conditioner and heater, and even small flying insects, particles and objects are good reasons to make sure you can power your windows up and down.

Job Guthiri is a freelance writer with 3 years of experience writing for Motorsrun and other established automobile outlets. His focus and key interests are Tacomas and maintenance. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.