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  • The power window can get stuck because of an issue with its motor, switch, window regulator, or wiring.
  • There are temporary measures to roll up a stuck power window, such as slamming the door or hitting the area over the motor.
  • A faulty window switch, snow, and ice are common reasons for the power window not rolling down.
  • Even if you close the car window with the steps discussed above, you must repair it eventually—and it’s advisable to fix it as soon as possible.

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. If your window is not rolling up, here are a few things you can check:

Components that Can Cause a Window to Get Stuck

Window Regulator

The window regulator is the mechanism by which the window motor raises and lowers the window. For decades, scissor-and-gear type regulators were common, and on those, motor failure is the most common cause of malfunction. Seized or worn regulator joints may also cause a similar issue. 

window regulator
The window regulator is the mechanism by which the window motor raises and lowers the window.


Power window motors are reversible DC motors mounted in the doors and connected to the window regulator mechanism, which is usually driven by just two wires. Reversing the polarity to the window motor causes it to reverse direction. Some power window motors (such as the One-Touch-Down and One-Touch-Up motors) are “smart motors” that must be “initialized” whenever they are replaced.


The power window switch is a polarity reversal device that delivers power and ground to the center common terminals. When the switch is operated in one direction, power and ground feed the motor one way, and when the switch is operated in the other direction, the polarity to the motor is reversed. Unfortunately, when it rains while the windows are left down, the switches are usually the first recipient of rainwater, which can collect in the switches and ruin them.

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.


Power window wiring is specialized because the master switch is wired in series with all the other switches. When all the switches are at rest, both sides of the power window motor are grounded. But usually, the ground that feeds all the other switches (on the other doors) is fed to those switches through the master switch. In rare cases, the ground may be fed through the passenger front door switch.

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Important Note: Understanding how your power windows are wired makes all the difference if there is a wiring fault preventing window operation. For example, you may see a passenger side power window that will work just fine with the master switch but won’t work with the passenger side switch regardless of “Window Lock” switch position. This can be a problem with the master switch not feeding a ground to the passenger side switch. It can also be caused by a bad passenger side switch. Either one is possible.

How to Roll Up a Car Window with a Broken Motor

One possible cause of an inoperative power window is a faulty motor. Sometimes DC motors have problems with the brushes, so they won’t respond when power and ground are applied. In a case like that, the motor ultimately needs replacing. 

car window reflecting sunset
One possible cause of an inoperative power window is a faulty motor.

But as a temporary measure, you can, with the ignition on and the power window switch engaged, open the car door and slam it. If worn brushes have caused the motor not to work, this may get the window up (or down) a time or two, but don’t count on it working more than once or twice. Detailed step-by-step instructions are listed below under “Quick Fixes for a Stuck Power Window.”

Quick Fixes for a Stuck Power Window 

If your window won’t roll up, a temporary fix might be necessary. Here are two options you can try to quickly (and temporarily) fix a stuck car window:

Quick Fix #1

  1. 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.

Quick Fix #2

If the steps above did not work…

  1. Locate the power window motor (it’s usually found 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.  
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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 Down?

Sometimes power windows, particularly the ones in the rear, won’t roll down because they’re stuck in the rubber due to not being used much. If you try to operate the window and it doesn’t work, watch the dome lamp. If the dome lamp dims when you operate the switch, that means power is getting to the motor, and it’s probably not the switch or the wiring.

If you try to operate the window and it doesn’t work, watch the dome lamp. If the dome lamp dims when you operate the switch, that means power is getting to the motor, and it’s probably not the switch or the wiring.

Richard McCuistian, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
luxury car interior lights close up
If you try to operate the window and it doesn’t work, watch the dome lamp.

With the engine running and the slightly higher system voltage provided by alternator output (14.5 volts rather than 12), gently use some silicone spray on the inside and outside of the stuck UP window where the glass meets the flocked run while gently working the switch. It should break loose that way. If it doesn’t, you may need a professional to look at it.

Silicone lubricant (either from the tube or spray) can be used to lubricate the flocked run where the window moves up and down to help the windows operate more smoothly. Technicians do this regularly when working on power windows.

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. These switches can be damaged by rainwater corroding the internal switch contacts. If you notice that the window is not responding even when you press down on the switch several times, the switch may be bad. Again, watch the dome light to see if it dims a bit when the switch is operated. If it does, the switch or wiring probably isn’t the cause of the concern.

See also  How to Replace a Window Regulator
Hand Pressing Car 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’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. However, as mentioned earlier, the master switch can, if the at-rest contacts for the window in question are compromised, prevent the passenger side switch from working even though the passenger side switch isn’t bad. This can be confusing if you don’t understand that the master switch is wired in series with the passenger side and other switches.

Most of the time, you’re lucky if the switch is the culprit. It is usually cheaper to replace the switch than other components if a switch is available. But be very careful with the plastic trim parts when replacing the switch. Vehicles more than a few years old have out-of-production plastic trim parts, and the switch connectors may be brittle as well.

Snow and Ice

Snow and ice accumulation can also cause your power window to get stuck. If your car window is frozen, it won’t go down or up. 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. After all, you’re more at risk of theft or exposure to toxic fumes if your car window won’t close.

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.

Products Mentioned in this Guide

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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Bob Hoffman

I agree to the policy!
Any one buying a new motor with out checking to see if the regulator has any cable twisted or binding first has wasted their money if that is the problem. You may have to spend a lot more time and effort working with the project looking over the regulator first but it will be the better option of the two. (I had a ford that had a small piece of plastic broken off the regulator and had to purchase a regulator WITH THE MOTOR as they manufactured that way.)
Bob Hoffman

Carl Hursman

I am very pleased with my purchase of regulator and window motor. Price was great delivery was almost on time considering Covid transportation problems. Electronic matched which made me a happy camper👍


1997 Ford Aerostar. I have been puzzled with this problem for 2 years. Replaced regulator with new o.e.m., replaced motor 3 times under warranty. Driver side window glass gets stuck at the max. lowered position and at the max high position. Have to release motor bolts to loosen the gl and force it up or down. Passenger side window works fine. Ordered new master switch a couple days ago just because I love to waste money!! What in the world could cause this lock up? I have sprayed silicone WD40 in the flocked tracks, but it only made it slower??


Thanks for reply. This morning I removed the motor again and it runs fine. Then removed the regulator, seems fine, identical to the old original one. Going to remove the flocked insert tomorrow. The front metal track bracket is factory spot welded to inner skin, the rear track bracket is rivetted to inner skin. Don’t know what else to remove!!


my car windows dont go up or down when pressing the button and they don’t stay up, what do I need

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