Fix a Power Window
How to Replace a Power Window Regulator
By Matt Weber
My son was complaining about all the rain and hail slapping him in the face during his backseat commute to daycare. I suggested that he roll up his window. He said, “But Dad, it won’t work.” I tried it myself. He was right; the window was stuck halfway down. After dropping him off, I haphazardly duct-taped a trash bag over the opening, and as fond as I was of this stylish look, I decided I’d better fix the window because nobody else thought it was as cool as I did.
The nice thing about power windows is that there’s no need to crank on a handle. The downside is that the motorized devices that raise and lower them (called regulators) tend to fail over time.
The older the car you drive, the less likely you’ll be to find a matching replacement regulator in stock at your local parts dealer. Regulators vary greatly in design among different vehicles, and the easiest way to locate a suitable replacement might be to visit your local junkyard. I’ve replaced four or five regulators throughout my life, all from junkyard parts, and it’s a job that can easily be done by a DIY’er who wants to save a little money rather than pay a mechanic.
When purchasing a part from a salvage yard, always call ahead and provide the salesperson the make and model of your car to see if they have a part in stock. If they do, make sure that the part is in good working order once you arrive to pick it up. For a window regulator, have the salvage dealer hook it up to a power source to verify that it works.
Another tip for salvage dealers: Take advantage of any free instruction you can get. For example, the salvage dealer where I got the replacement regulator wouldn’t pull the part until I showed up to the junkyard, so I spent my time on site watching the mechanic remove the regulator from an old car. Since car doors and windows differ in construction and fastener location, I was able to see how to take the door of a Dodge sedan apart without wasting my time searching for hidden fasteners.
Although the methods of replacement will vary somewhat from vehicle to vehicle, the following article shows the basics steps for window regulator replacement. I suggest you also invest in a repair manual that is specific to the make and model of your car to determine fastener details and any other particular requirements related to your vehicle.
Step by Step
Here’s the replacement window regulator that I purchased from a local salvage yard. The aim of this project is simply remove the existing regulator and swap it with this one.
First step is to remove surface fasteners from the finished door panel.