Car problems never seem to happen at a convenient time. This is especially the case if you have a car window that won’t go up. Think about that for a moment. The vehicle won’t be secure, and possibly worse, your car’s interior will be exposed to the elements. Moisture inside a vehicle can lead to a host of headaches. Let’s look at ways how to fix a car window that won’t roll up. We’ll also include a quick fix on how to get a power window up manually.
It’s frustrating when a car window stopped working. Let’s look at typical problems you may deal with and how to fix a broken window that won’t go up.
Many different reasons can cause car window problems. From the simple to the complex, let’s dive into how to fix a car window that won't roll up.
With any car problem, always start with the most straightforward causes first. So, when a window won’t go up, start by checking the child safety switch. Located near the driver’s window control panel, this lockout button prevents passengers, including kids and pets, from operating an adjacent power window while the car is in motion.
The child safety switch is easily activated, so check it first if any or all of the windows are inoperative. Look for a button with a crossed-out window symbol.
Another simple solution for when a power window won’t go up involves checking the ignition switch position.
This won’t matter if the car is running, but if you want to roll up or down a window while the vehicle is off, ensure that the ignition is in the accessory position. In this setting, accessories, like the windows, can receive power and be operated.
Moving on from simple causes, you’ll want to see if the problem lies with an electric circuit when a driver or passenger window won’t roll up or down. If all windows are non-functional or only a pair of windows works, then chances are it’s a blown fuse. The solution usually just involves replacing the defective fuse.
First, locate the fuse box. It can be found in the engine compartment, in the glove box, or under the dashboard. Some cars may even have multiple fuse boxes located in different areas across the vehicle. Check the owner’s manual for the fuse box location. A local dealer or the manufacturer’s customer support service may be able to help, too.
Accompanying the fuse box should be a numbered diagram that identifies the function of each fuse. Check the diagram for the fuse that controls the power window circuit. If you can’t find a diagram, check the owner’s manual or reach out to a dealer or the manufacturer.
Once you’ve identified the correct fuse, use a fuse puller or long-nose pliers to extract the suspect fuse from the box. It’s a simple DIY task in most cases. With most blown fuses, you’ll be able to see a disrupted wire path or brownish discoloration in the fuse.
Replace the blown fuse with a new fuse of identical amperage (also called amp or amps). If the window or windows start working again, then you’ve fixed the problem. Later on, if you find the fuse has blown again, then there’s a more significant issue. This situation could mean a problem with the car’s circuitry or that the engine is drawing too much power. In this case, seek the help of a professional mechanic. The same can be said if you don’t feel comfortable with your car’s fuses or the fuse box.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Never replace a blown fuse with a higher amperage fuse. This can cause a fire in your car.
When a power window won’t go up or down, the issue could be with the window motor.
Diagnosing a Bad Power Window Motor
Without starting the car, turn the ignition to the accessory position. Engage the switch for the affected window and see if the voltmeter (if your vehicle has one) in the instrument panel moves even a slight amount. You can also look for a modest flickering of interior or exterior lighting while pressing the power window switch. In either case, this means that the current is flowing to the window motor, but the motor is not functioning. As window motor replacement involves specialized skills and tools to open a door panel, most car owners will want to turn to a mechanic for help. Keep in mind that the problem can also be a window regulator, a mechanical component connected to the electric motor.
If your car window will go down but not up, then the problem is likely a bad window switch.
Diagnosing a Bad Window Switch
Identifying a malfunctioning window switch is sort of the opposite of diagnosing a bad window motor. In this case, if you engage the switch but don’t see a fluctuation in the car’s voltmeter or dimming of lights, then your problem probably lies with the switch. Replacing a bad window switch requires some technical abilities as well, so consider bringing your car to an auto repair shop for service.
You may be in a situation when you need to raise a malfunctioning power window. If some of the glass is partially visible, then you can try manually raising the window. First, turn on the car or set the ignition switch to the accessory position. Next, open the door and sandwich the window between your hands. Position your hands so each palm is as flat as possible on each side of the glass. While doing this, have another person engage the power window button to raise the window. Apply pressure from your hands to move the window up. Be careful not to get your fingers or hands caught at the top of the window as it closes.
Available at local auto parts stores or online, a plastic or rubber window wedge can prevent a car window from sliding down. Once the window is in the fully closed position, place the wedge between the glass and the door edge. Be careful to avoid damaging any molding.
If your car door has a window frame, you can also keep a slipping window in place with duct tape. With the window in the closed position, apply the tape to the window frame and the outer edges of the glass. Use as little tape on the glass as possible to prevent a visual obstruction.
Despite your best efforts, sometimes a window just won’t roll up. When this happens, you’ll want to get your hands on a temporary car window kit at a local auto parts retailer or online. The kit contains a plastic sheet that can be cut to fit the window opening and special tape to secure the sheeting. Some kits are designed to be used with a hairdryer to shrink wrap the plastic for a tighter fit. Alternatively, you can cut-to-fit see-through plastic sheeting and attached it with secure tape. Make sure whatever plastic you use that you can see through the plastic, so there are no driving hazards.
Repair costs to fix a window that won’t go up can be $20 or less if you’re only dealing with a new fuse that you replace yourself. More complex repairs that involve dismantling the door to access the window motor can run $250 to $400 or more. It all depends on how easy your car is to work on and how expensive the replacement parts are.
Asking, “Why won’t my window roll up?” can lead to a lot of figuring out about the problem. It could be caused by something simple like a child safety switch or a blown fuse. Still, a window that won’t go up could be due to a more complex reason, such as a bad window motor or switch requiring professional electric window repair.
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