I learned valuable DIY skills from my dad who was an electrical engineer and physicist; I took a year of auto in high school.
Quick Fix for a Power Window That Won't Go Up
Did your power window get stuck in the down position? Are you trying to avoid an expensive bill from the auto-mechanic? Are you worried about leaving your window down? This quick fix will allow you to pull a stuck window up manually. After you get that taken care of, you can either take it to the mechanic or buy the replacement motor yourself for the repair.
How to Fix a Stuck Car Window Manually
The principles for fixing a stuck window will be the same or quite similar whether you have a 2000 Toyota Camry, a 1997 Toyota 4Runner, a 2001 Mazda, or some other car model. I've had this issue with my 1997 Toyota 4Runner before. Here's what you will need and here's what to do:
- Remove the door panel.
- Disconnect the window from the motor.
- Disengage the motor.
- Raise the window.
- Reconnect the motor.
- Replace the door panel.
- Flat-head screwdriver
- 2 Rubber bands
- 2 pieces of wood (approx. 12-inches in length); alternatively you can use painter's tape
As a general word of caution, always be careful when working with electrical equipment and wiring and wear PPE. Never attempt anything beyond your skill level.
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Step 1: Remove the Door Panel
- Remove all screws on the door panel: Remove the screws on the front of the driver's-side door panel (they may be plastic or metal). Be sure to locate all screws—some will be under plastic covers, behind a door handle, beside a courtesy light, etc. Remove the plastic covers during this process and set them aside. (Always put your screws in a safe place.)
- Remove the door console: Remove the door console using a flat-head screwdriver by prying it gently out.
- Disconnect the two plastic wire switches: You can use a flat-head screwdriver to pull the connectors apart. Put the door console aside.
- Remove the door panel: Using your hands or a flat-head screwdriver, gently start at the front edge of panel and pry it off. Work your way along the sides and to the back of the door frame. The plastic snaps should disengage. Lift the door panel off.
- Remove the polyethylene cover: You can use a razor blade to remove it instead of pealing it entirely off or just cut it along the inside of the car (see the video below).
Step 2: Disconnect the Window From the Motor
- Get two pieces of wood: Get 1–2 pieces of wood (1-foot-long is fine) that will serve as braces for holding the window in place from the inside of the door (you can also use painter's tape). You will need to hold the window up once you remove the screws of the regulator mechanism so that the window does not fall off the regulator mechanism.
- Locate the regulator mechanism screws: There will likely be two screws that are holding the window to the regulator mechanism that you will need to remove—these are often seated and visible through the door frame. When you unscrew them, be sure to hold the window so that it won't accidentally fall off the regulator mechanism's ledge (this is an extra precaution).
- Move the window up: While holding the window in place with one hand below, grab the top of the window and pull it up as high as you can. Stick a piece of wood into the frame to hold the window in place.
Step 3: Disengage the Motor
- Locate the motor and remove the bolts/nuts: Find the motor in the door. It's often located in the top right of the frame. Remove the bolts and nuts holding it in place.
- Remove the cover: Remove the cover but first secure the nuts in the base of the cover with tape (to prevent them from getting lost) before unscrewing. The cover will have a magnetized pull when you remove it.
- Remove the motor axle: The brushes along the axle are spring-loaded and will pop out if the axle is removed, so use two rubber bands to hold them in place. Take one band and thread it through the wire that leads to the brushes; loop it back through its own end and over a section of the regulator to secure it. Repeat this for the other brush with a second rubber band. You can then lift the motor axle out of the motor body by turning it counter-clockwise. Set it aside.
Accessing (Repairing) the Car Window Motor
Step 4: Connect the Window and Motor and Raise the Window
- Replace the screws: While grabbing the window from above and below, replace the screws that hold the regulator mechanism ledge and remove the piece of wood holding the window in place.
- Raise the window: While holding the window from above and below, push and lift the window up; you can be more forceful here while lifting to really get the window high enough. Always keep your hand holding the window from below so that the window stays up.
- Put the motor axle back in place: Use your free hand to put the motor axle back in place into the motor body; careful not to force it. While keeping the window in place, turn the axle clockwise to rest it into the motor body, keeping the brushes aligned with their original position with the commutator. Turn the axle as far as you can (the window should be lifted up); you can now release both the window and the axle.
- Replace the motor cover: Very carefully, replace the motor cover and be sure to mind the magnetization—do not knock the axle out of place. Replace the bolts.
- Secure the motor to the door frame: Fix the motor to the door frame again by threading the bolts/nuts back in place. You can tie off the wires to the door—do not reconnect them since you're not going to use the window.
Step 5: Replace the Door Panel
- Replace the polyethylene cover.
- Put the door panel back. This is a multistep process: start by inserting the door handle into the panel and fit the top-rear edge of the door panel into the top lip of the door frame. Snap the door console back into place and connect the plastic wire connectors. You may need to bump the panel back into place along the edges of the frame.
- Replace the screws. Replace the screws that you removed at the beginning of the project.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2019 Laynie H