Ultimate Guide for Fixing a Car Window That Won’t Roll Up or Down

Is one of the windows on your vehicle stuck and just won’t budge? As there are multiple reasons why this might happen, there are multiple solutions to the problem. So, here’s the ultimate guide to fixing a car window that stopped working, including every possible scenario and the solution for each of them.

The Technology of How We Maneuver Our Car Windows Has Changed Immensely Over the Years

The days of manually rolling up your windows are long gone, and this hand-rolled design is nowadays the selling point of only vintage classics. But, there were many changes during the evolution of cars, and modern vehicles now have very convenient technology for getting your car window to roll up or down.

It Might Be More Convenient Now, but the Technology Opens the Possibility of Numerous Electronic Glitches

The polished technology we have now makes everything as easy as a push of a button, but it also brings a wide variety of reasons why this mechanism might stop working. Sometimes there is something blocking the window, and the fix is a quick and obvious one, such as removing debris that is stopping the window from moving. Other times there might be more serious mechanical problems that are not that easy to fix. 

So, while the immense advancements in technology have made every aspect of driving much more convenient in recent decades, there is still a possibility that your automated windows could run into issues that prevent them from functioning. If the window of your vehicle is stuck in an open or closed position, here is the ultimate guide to the reasons why it might be happening and fixing advice for every possible problem. 

A dog looking out of an open car window
A stuck window is not convenient at all – it’s either no breeze or constant breeze

There Is a Variety of Possible Culprits When It Comes to the Windows of Your Vehicle Not Functioning Correctly

The technology behind automated windows includes several mechanical and electrical components, and all of these parts work together to ensure the window can roll up and down smoothly. Here are some of the most common culprits when it comes to malfunction:

  • The child safety lock is engaged – it might sound funny, but people can be forgetful and not realize that the safety lock is engaged, so before you start considering more serious problems, check this simple one,
  • The seals and gaskets are overworn – the rubber trimming around the opening where your window sits is prone to general wear and tear, and if it’s loose or broken, it can prevent your windows from rolling up and down smoothly,
  • There’s debris clogged up in the window slot – if there is any debris, ice, or snow accumulated inside the window slot, it will prevent the window from moving up or down,
  • The car door is dented due to damage – if you’ve had an accident on the road, or you’ve bought a used vehicle or even one with a salvage title, the door may be dented, and that can prevent the window from rolling up or down, even if the motor is completely functional, 
  • The fuses are blown – if fuses are not working properly, the electrical controls that handle the window will malfunction as well, 
  • The window motor is not functioning correctly – even if the window switch is working, the window motor may have malfunctioned, and there is a grinding noise when you push the window switch up or down,
  • The window switch has malfunctioned – there might be voltage problems or poor structural design that stops the window switch from working properly.

There Are a Few Obvious Things and Methods You Should Check Before You Get Into the More Serious Stuff

As mentioned in the list above, sometimes the problem is as obvious as forgetting you’ve got the child safety lock engaged. It might sound funny, but sometimes the most obvious stuff goes right over your head. When you’re maneuvering through the busy city streets, especially as a beginner driver, it’s easy to forget you’ve engaged the safety button by accident. 

Imagine taking apart the whole door panel in order to fix the problem, only to realize the culprit was something as simple as an engaged safety button. So, don’t feel stupid to double-check because it can save you a lot of time in the long run. 

A worried woman in a car
Not knowing why your windows are not functioning properly can be stressful

Check if Other Electronic Components in Your Vehicle Are Working Properly

Sometimes the culprit of your car window not working correctly is not directly related to the window itself. That’s why you should check if the electronics in your vehicle, such as the interior lights, are all in order. If any electronic components are not working, the problem might not be with your window and its automated technology but with the car’s battery or circuits. 

There’s one more obvious thing, the advice above all others – try switching it off and on again. Yes, sometimes the simplest of tricks can do the job, and switching your car off and on again can reset the electronics and internal computers of the vehicle that might have been preventing the windows from moving. 

Try Out the Slam or Striking Method, but Do It Very Carefully

This is the last of the simple, common sense fixes – try slamming the car door or striking the center of it with the palm of your hand. Your window might be dislodged from the track, and that can stop it from engaging with the motor. Slamming or striking the car door can resolve this problem by realigning the glass with the tracks. 

To do this, turn the vehicle on and hold your window switch down either way as you slam the car door while you’re sitting inside, or simply strike the center of the door on the outside. These steps should be repeated a few times, but be very careful not to do it too hard. Damaging the paint on your car or shattering the glass is much easier than you might think. 

Man opening a car door
You can try the car door slamming but be very careful while doing it

DIY Fixing a Car Window – Materials and Tools You Might Need During the Process

Before I get to each possible problem and its quick or not-so-quick solution, here’s a brief overview of all the materials and tools you might need, the reasons why you might use them, as well as where you can find them:

Material/ToolUse Where to Buy
Butyl rubber tape or a super adhesiveReattaching the seals and gasketsAuto shop, online
VoltmeterTesting if the switch panel is workingElectronic or tool shop, online
Test lightChecking if a fuse is blownElectronic or tool shop, online
Screwdriver or a plastic panel popperRemoving the door panel by loosening the clipsTool or auto shop, online
Door panel fasteners or clipsReattaching the door panelAuto shop, online

Easy Fixes – A Step-By-Step Guide to Every Possible Scenario

So, you’ve checked the child safety lock button and other electronic components in the car, as well as tried the slam door method, but the window still won’t budge. The culprit could be something as easy to fix as worn-out seals and gaskets, or it could be a more serious problem, such as a broken regulator. 

Before you start taking apart the door panel, here are a few best-case scenarios and instructions for their easy fixes:

Check the Seals and Gaskets – Replace or Reattach Them if They’re Loose

The rubber trimming around the opening where the window nests can be prone to general wear and tear due to age and weather. If the plastic trimming is loose or broken, it could be the cause of your window being stuck in one position, so replace them with new ones or reattach them using a super adhesive around the loose parts. Make sure you’re not gluing the rubber trimming to the glass, and let it dry overnight.

Check if a Fuse Is Blown – Replace It With a New One

One of the most common culprits to a malfunctioning window is a blown fuse, and the good news is that it’s very easy to fix. Using your car’s manual, locate the fuse box and use a test light in order to find the faulty fuse. If that was the problem all along, be sure to turn off the ignition before removing the fuse while making sure not to tamper with the other fuses. Simply replace the fuse with a brand-new one, which you can find at any auto shop.

Check the Switch Panel – Test It With a Voltmeter

If everything’s in order with the fuse, but the window is still not moving when you press on the switch panel, it’s time to check the motor connector inside the panel. Simply loosen the fasteners around the panel and release it from the door, then disconnect the motor connector and put the voltmeter to the switch panel motor. Push the buttons while the car ignition is on, and if the voltmeter reading changes from +12V to -12V, everything should be working correctly. If not, it’s time to replace the switch panel.

Fixes for More Serious Problems – A Step-By-Step Guide to Removing the Door Panel

If you’re out of luck and all of the quick fixes mentioned above are not the right solution for you, there’s probably a problem with the regulator or motor mechanism. In order to inspect it in more detail, you will need to remove the interior door panel. 

So, for those who are more mechanically inclined, here’s a step-by-step guide to removing the door panel:

Remove the Fasteners That Are Holding the Door Panel in Place

A door panel is held in place by metal fasteners as well as plastic clips. So, you will need both a screwdriver and a plastic panel popper to loosen the fasteners. It’s not a good idea to try to pull out the door panel forcefully, so carefully remove each fastener and the weatherproof lining as well. Once the inside of the panel is exposed, you will be able to get a closer look and see if there is something blocking the mechanism. 

Carefully Remove the Glass From the Door

Before inspecting the regulator, it’s best to remove the glass window from the door. You can do that by locating the bolts that hold it in place and removing them one by one. It’s important that you have help while doing this because someone should hold the window in place as you remove the bolts. Otherwise, you might end up with broken glass once everything is loose. 

Inspect the Mechanism of the Regulator

The regulatory assembly is prone to normal wear and tear, and it is the main mechanism that is responsible for the movement of your window. If it’s in bad condition, you should replace it with a new one, and it’s very simple. Just loosen the bolts holding the regulator in place, and remember where each bolt was located, so you don’t come across any problems once you’re putting the new regulator in place. 

Take out the old regulator through one of the openings on the casing and insert the new one through the same opening. Replace the bolts in their positions, and reconnect the motor to the switch panel and the rest of the electrical connections inside the door panel. 

Replace the Window and Put Everything Back Into Its Place

While using the respective bolts, insert the glass window back into place and push the switch button to see if it’s working properly now. Everything should be fine if you’ve carefully done everything. All that’s left to do is put the weatherproof lining back – if it’s not in good condition, now would be the perfect time to get a new one. Secure it with butyl rubber tape or other adhesives, and make sure to insert the bolts in their respective positions. 

Couple of lovers driving on a convertible car - Newlywed pair on a romantic date
There are numerous reasons why your window might be stuck, and a solution to each one

If the Problem Is Still Not Fixed, You Should Consult With Your Local Auto Mechanic

A not-moving window is a similar problem to malfunctioning windshield wipers, but it can be much more difficult to fix. If you don’t think you’ll be able to do it without breaking the window or causing more damage, or you’ve tried it without success, it’s time to contact a professional auto mechanic and have them take care of it. They’ll surely have the necessary tools and experience, but hopefully, you won’t have to resort to that, and what you’ve learned here will be more than enough to fix the problem.