DIY

How to Fix a Stuck Car Window

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It’s a nice day out, so you decide to roll down your car’s windows to enjoy some fresh air. But then you get on the freeway, and you press the switch to close the windows—only now, one of them is stuck. And you have no idea what to do.

Obviously, leaving your window rolled down isn’t really an option. Not only does it make your car vulnerable to theft, but it will also leave the vehicle cabin exposed to the elements.

car window
A common cause of an inoperative power window is a faulty motor.

How to Roll Up a Car Window with a Broken Motor

One common cause of an inoperative power window is a faulty motor. To fix the problem completely, you’ll have to replace the window motor—or have a mechanic replace it for you. Fortunately, on most vehicles, power window repair is relatively affordable and straightforward.

But what if you can’t get the motor replaced right away? Thankfully, there is a temporary solution that sometimes works.

Quick Fixes for a Stuck Power Window

Here are two options you can try to quickly (and temporarily) fix a stuck car window:

Quick Fix #1

  1. Make sure to turn the ignition key on.
  2. Press and hold your window switch in the ‘up’ position.
  3. While pressing the window switch, open and slam the car door. This may jar the motor and get it to bump into the next contact in the armature. Usually, the window motor will start running again until it reaches the bad contact. This gives you the opportunity to roll up your car window before it starts malfunctioning again.
  4. If your car window does not roll up, try it a few more times.
holding the car window switch up
Holding the window switch up while opening and slamming the car door may jar the motor and get it to bump into the next contact in the armature.

Quick Fix #2

If the steps above did not work…

  1. Locate the power window motor (it’s usually located near the bottom) on the affected car door. If you’re unsure where it is, you may be able to look it up online.
  2. Hold your window switch in the ‘up’ position. Then, using your fist or a blunt object, strike a spot in the general area where the power window motor is located. Be careful not to damage the door panel—it’s made of fragile plastic.
  3. If the window finally rolls up, leave it as it is until you can get it fixed. Remember that this is only a temporary fix and these steps may not work the second time.

If your window does not roll up after several attempts, the motor may be too far gone to be revived. It’s also possible that a problem other than the motor is preventing the window from functioning properly.

Note: If you succeed in getting your car window to roll up, do not attempt to roll it down again until the window motor is replaced. There’s no guarantee that a quick fix will work a second time.

Why Won’t My Car Window Roll Up?

Power windows usually stop working due to a failed power window motor. There are, however, other reasons why the window might not work.

Here are some of the common reasons why your power windows have become inoperative:

Failing or Bad Window Motor

As discussed previously, the window motor is the component most susceptible to failure. It is activated upon pressing the window switch. If your window motor is bad, there will be nothing to operate the window regulator.

Bad Window Regulators

Window regulators can also fail. Each car door has a window regulator that moves the window glass up and down. If the regulator fails, it will not be possible for your window glass to roll up and down, even if the power window motor isn’t broken.

A common sign of a bad regulator is when the window rolls up then falls back down on its own.

window regulator
A faulty window regulator can make your window glass impossible to roll up and down.

Bad or Loose Window Switch

Another common cause of an inoperative power window is a bad or failing window switch. Over time, these switches, just like the rest of the switches found on your vehicle, can get worn out due to frequent use. If you notice that the window is not responding even when you press down on the switch several times, the switch may be bad.

If you’re using a passenger-side window switch, try pressing the master window switch located on the driver side. If it works using the master window switch, then your passenger-side window switch is likely the problem.

Most of the time, if the switch is the culprit, you’re lucky. It is usually cheaper to replace the switch than other components.

Snow and Ice

Snow and ice accumulation can also cause your power window to get stuck. Glass windows may stick to their frame and cause stress on the window regulators. If this is the case, a simple solution is to regularly clean your vehicle and de-ice your windows during the winter months.

Severe cold weather may also cause cracks in your window glass.

frozen car window
Ice accumulation can cause power windows to get stuck.

Replacing Your Window Motor

Even if you get your car window to close using the steps discussed above, you will have to repair it eventually—and it’s advisable to repair it as soon as you can.

If the problem turns out to be the power window motor, there are many quality parts available online, so finding an affordable window motor replacement is quite easy. You can choose to either replace the motor yourself (if you have the know-how) or have a professional tackle the job for you.

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CarParts.com

Staff Writers

In the Garage with CarParts.com is an online blog dedicated to bringing DIYers and devoted car enthusiasts up to date with topical automotive news and lifestyle content. Our writers live and breathe automotive, taking the guess work out of car repairs with how-to content that helps owners get back on the road and keep driving.

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