I have an old car with hand-crank windows, and this is what I do to fix them.
How Do You Fix an Old Hand-Crank Car Window?
If your car does not have electric windows, then you have car window crank handles on your doors. If one of these handles becomes damaged, you can easily fix it without taking your car to the auto mechanic.
This is easy to do even if you have no mechanical skill at all. You likely won't need much in the way of tools either. To replace a car window crank you'll likely just need needle nose pliers.
!. Find a New Window Crank
You'll be surprised at how many window cranks are available at auto supply stores. I bought mine on eBay, but you might be able to get what you need at a store with a little luck. It helps to know that make, model, and year of your car. Search online or try the store first and get yourself a crank. Make sure the car window crank comes with a clip (shown in my pictures both next to and installed on the crank). You'll need the clip for sure.
2. Prepare to Remove the Old Crank
See if you are able to roll your window all the way up using the old crank. If the crank is in really bad shape or is already off the door, you might be able to put an adjustable wrench onto the shaft sticking out of the door (where the crank used to be) and roll the window up. You might even be able to do it by hand.
Actually, if you are really savvy, you might be able to put the new crank on the door shaft (but don't install the clip yet) and roll it all the way up. Then continue reading below.
Whatever you do, make sure the window is up. If the old crank handle is still intact, take note on what position (one o'clock, two o'clock) the handle is in with the window all the way up.
#3 Remove the Old Crank
If your crank is cracked or broken and it is still on the door, you might be able to remove it with needle nosed pliers. Basically, there is a clip that holds the window crank handle to a shaft in the door. The clip is located on the opposite end of the side of the crank you grasp with your hand. Pictures below show the crank with this clip inserted.
- While being careful to not to scuff your car door, take a pair of needed nosed pliers and get between the door and the inside of the crank.
- Pull the clip out. This is the way I removed mine. If you are unable to remove the clip, you might need to get a special tool that you can buy at most auto parts stores. A local Pep Boys had one for mine, but I did not need to buy it.
- Once you remove the clip, you can slide the crank right off the shaft.
#4 Get the New Crank Ready to Install
Take your new crank out of its packaging and locate the clip that comes with it.
If the clip is not installed the handle (as shown in the photo below the clip), you'll need to install it. The actual position of the clip might differ depending on the car your own and type of crank you by, but they are likely very similar.
For mine, the clip fit into the window crank very easily as shown in the third picture. You can just install it by hand. No tools needed. Just squeeze the clip and slip it into the handle. Let go and it will lock itself in.
#5 Look at the Shaft Sticking Out of the Door
Just giving you a heads up here. See the shaft in the door? You'll see there is a groove or spline that goes around the shaft as shown. When you put the door crank handle on, the clip you installed on the handle will ultimately slip into that groove (spline) and lock your handle in.
#6 Position The Handle Before Installing
I asked you to roll the window all the way up a few steps ago for good reason. When you put the new crank on, you'll want to install it so that the part you grab with your hand (the handle part) is in the position you are familiar with. If you aren't sure, I'd suggest installing the part you grab ( handle ) at the two o'clock position or thereabout. For me, this feels like a natural area and motion when I reach to roll the window down.
#7 Install the Handle
With the handle positioned at the two o'clock (or whatever you prefer) position, press the window crank on to the shaft that is sticking out of the door. Keep pressing. It might take a little elbow grease and some slight jiggling (be careful not to break the handle). Keep pressing until you feel the clip lock into the groove (spline) in the shaft.
Once that is locked in, your car door window crank has been successfully replaced.
Watch Installation of Roll Up Window Crank
Let's put it all together now. Check out the video below that puts it all together.....
I Hope That Helps
I hope that helps you to repair or replace your car window crank. Thanks for stopping by!
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.
Rob on April 24, 2015:
Thank you so much for posting this great article and the pictures.