Window Motor Buyer's Guide
- A window motor is a reversible electric motor powered by a switch. It is usually installed inside the door panel behind the trim.
- Signs of a faulty window motor include a slow-moving glass window, a glass window that moves downwards instead of upwards, and problems in the system's wiring or window switch.
- A faulty window motor might seem like a small problem, but it can be a big factor in your overall travel experience.
- Window motors are usually sold individually or in sets of two or three. Window motors are usually priced from $50 to $100.
Raising and lowering a power window can easily be done by pressing a switch. The key components responsible for this is the car’s window motor and regulator.
What is a window motor?
A window motor is a reversible electric motor powered by a switch. It is usually installed inside the door panel behind the trim. By pressing the window switch, an electric current is sent to the window motor. This activates the connected window regulator which is responsible for raising and lowering the car window.
Brands offer variations in window motor series and model types. These are usually classified into two categories:
Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM window motors are typically the same as the motor you are replacing. It can either come from the same manufacturer or a dealership that carries the brand. An OEM window motor usually comes with a warranty.
Aftermarket window motors are popular because they are widely available in local auto parts stores. These pieces may not come from the same manufacturer or dealership, but most aftermarket brands offer premium, high-quality window motors too. Aftermarket window motors are usually less expensive compared to OEM replacements.
An electric window motor cannot work without a window regulator. This part comes in different designs.
A scissor-type window regulator looks like a typical pair of scissors. One of the main arms is connected to the window carriage while the other is connected to a large plate with gear teeth. A secondary arm is placed right across the main arm. This mechanism works to push the glass window up or down.
A cable-driven regulator, on the other hand, is more compact. It looks like a piece of metal track but actually has more intricate parts in it. The right design for your vehicle will depend on the motor and glass window installed.
Signs of a faulty window motor
A window motor is a sealed system that cannot be repaired. When a window motor starts to malfunction, there is no other option but to replace it.
The first sign of a faulty window motor is a slow-moving glass window. Another sign is when a glass window moves downwards instead of upwards when pressing the switch. This may also point to problems with the system’s wiring or window switch.
Make sure to have it checked by a professional to accurately identify the problem. Although there are a lot of self-help videos about window motor replacement, it is highly recommended to contact your trusted mechanic.
For additional information, you may read our article, "How to Fix a Stuck Car Window".
Why is it important to replace a faulty window motor?
Having a faulty window motor puts you at risk for theft, especially when you leave valuables inside the car. Leaving your window open may pose a health risk not only to you but to everyone inside the vehicle. Power windows also provide protection from dust, pollution, and elements. As a safety measure, a car window must be able to open freely in all instances, especially in times of emergency.
A faulty window motor might seem like a small problem, but it can be a big factor in your overall travel experience.
A Few Things to Consider When Buying a Window Motor
A window motor helps you roll your vehicle's window up and down effortlessly. Once it gets damaged, expect your vehicle's entire window to malfunction as well. If you're on the lookout for a window motor to fit into your auto, you should evaluate the pros and cons of your options before buying a new one. Keep in mind that picking the right window motor for your vehicle is absolutely important for your convenience.
Types of window motors
Choosing the right window motor for your vehicle significantly depends on your needs and budget. Here are the two types that you can choose from:
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
An OEM power window motor is basically the same as the one you're replacing. You'll be having no problems familiarizing yourself with its mechanisms. It's also proven to have good quality, providing you the assurance that it will work properly for a long period of time. Additionally, an OEM window motor is sold with a warranty, which is another good advantage over its aftermarket counterparts.
However, this type is not widely available in local auto parts stores and is most often bought from a dealership. It also comes with a heftier price tag compared to an aftermarket window motor. If you're someone who's willing to pay the extra bucks for a part with a guaranteed quality, then this type is for you.
An aftermarket window motor isn't produced by the vehicle's manufacturer, making it a lot cheaper than those that came from an OEM. With so many companies producing this type of window motor, you can easily find one in your local auto parts store. There's also a wider selection to choose from.
Unlike the OEM type, the quality of an aftermarket window motor is not guaranteed to be superior. It's also usually sold without any warranty in order to keep the price low. An aftermarket window motor is perfect for those who are looking for an affordable alternative without minding the risks.
Other things to keep in mind
You may also opt to buy a used OEM window motor, especially if your vehicle is already a few decades old. Be sure to test it to see if it’s still working properly. You should also double-check if it's compatible with your auto. Salvage yards and online marketplaces are just some of the good sources for this type of window motor.
How much does a window motor cost?
Window motors are usually sold individually or in sets of two or three. Window motors are usually priced from $50 to $100. An actual window motor replacement only takes approximately 2.1 hours.