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How to Fix a Car Window That Won’t Roll Up In 5 Steps (with Pictures)

repairing car window glass

You’re driving along with windows down and a cold breeze in your hair. Then, suddenly, you have to roll up that window, but no matter how much force you use on the black button next to the steering wheel, it won’t budge!

The car door is fine, but the window won’t roll up. It can be annoying. But what do you do when in such a situation? Well, this is something you can fix yourself. However, be cautious as it could also indicate a more severe problem such as a bad motor. There are many possible causes of this problem. So, you’ll need to investigate further to determine the cause.

Our quick guide will help you get it closed and back on the road in no time.

car and road divider

Why Won’t the Car Window Roll Up? (6 Reasons)

Here are several reasons your car windows won’t roll up:

1. Child Safety Lock

Child safety lock mechanism is used to lock the car doors so that the child won’t accidentally open them while on the road. Sometimes these locks switch on accidentally when loading or unloading kids or other cargo.

If your car is equipped with child safety locks, check the mechanism as a first resort when the windows are not rolling up.

Car Window Controls
Image Credit: Roman.S-Photographer, Shutterstock

2. Window Switch Issues

If the child safety lock is off, the problem may be with the window switch itself. A bad switch can prevent a car window from closing.

Open it while the car is in motion or make it drop too slowly. In most cases, replacing the switch will fix the problem.

3. Faulty Fuses

Many fuses power different parts of your car. It includes those that run your windows. If one of these fuses is blown, it could prevent your windows from rolling up or down.

car fuse
Image Credit: Pxhere

4. A Worn-Out Regulator

If the window doesn’t roll up, that could also mean a worn-out regulator. This component holds and guides the window as it moves up or down.

It can break if overworked or stressed by heavy glass. You’ll need to replace your regulator to solve this problem.

5. Window Motor

When you press the switch to roll up your window, it sends an electric signal to a motor connected to gears inside the door frame. The gears engage with teeth on an arm attached to your car’s window.

Then, the motor spins. It rotates the gear and moves the window up or down until you release the switch. If your car window won’t roll up, pull on it gently from both sides at once.

You can free it up before replacing the motor. Otherwise, you might need to replace the whole mechanism inside your car door.

repairing car window
Image Credit: Aggapom Poomitud, Shutterstock

6. Wiring Issues

There is a motor that drives the window regulator in power windows. The motor is attached to a switch or a series of switches. It supplies the power needed to move the windows up or down.

If any of these wires are disconnected or broken, the window will not move. It’s often caused by age, wear, and tear, or physical damage to the wiring harness in the door.

Step-By-Step Guide for Fixing a Car Window That Won’t Roll Up

We’re not talking about taking apart your car’s entire electrical system to get at the malfunctioning motor.

There are simple steps you can take to fix this problem yourself. Also, you’ll save a ton of money.

What Tools Do You Need?

We’ll take a basic car window that won’t roll up and walk you through the process. But first, let’s show you what tools you’ll need.

  • Nylon trim panel remover
  • Razorblade
  • Painter’s tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Another fuse if it’s blown
  • Fuse puller or tweezers

How to Fix a Car Window That Won’t Roll Up (5 Steps)

1. Inspect the Seals and Gaskets

The most common cause of a car window that won’t go up is a broken seal or gasket. The seals keep moisture from getting into the interior of your car.

So, if they’re torn or worn out, water can get into the interior of your door and cause damage to the mechanisms of your car windows.

If you have worn-out rubber gaskets, you can replace them easily. In most cases, you only need to remove a couple of screws to gain access to the inner workings of your window mechanism.

Remove these screws using a screwdriver. Then, separate the glass from the door frame. Then, you can check whether the seals are intact. If they’re not, replace them with new ones. The good news is that replacement seals are affordable.

2. Change the Blown Fuse

Fuses are located in the fuse panel on the driver’s side. You’ll find them below the dashboard. You can use your owner’s manual to find a diagram of the fuse panel. Then, identify which fuse is connected to your window motor. If you don’t have your owner’s manual or you can’t locate the right fuse, check your vehicle’s repair manual.

Remove the fuse from its socket using a fuse puller or tweezers and hold it up to the light. If the metal strip inside appears as if it has melted or burned out, it is most likely blown. Replace this with a new fuse of the correct amperage.

You’ll find this information on either the plastic cover over the fuses, or on a sticker inside your car’s fuse box lid.

3. Inspect the Motor in the Switch Panel

Once you’ve checked the fuse, take out your panel and inspect the motor. Sometimes the motor can get stuck due to debris, dust, or other problems caused by weather conditions.

You’ll need to remove the door panel on your car to access it. It takes some work, but it’s not hard as long as you are careful not to damage anything else in your car.

Once all of this is removed, pull out the switch panel. This way, you can see inside and check out the motor. If it’s not working well, you may need to replace it completely. If the motor has come loose, attach it using a soldering iron.

4. Remove the Glass

If you’re accessing the window regulator or motor, you may need to remove your car’s glass to have easy access to these components.

Before you can remove the glass, you need to get it out of the track. Lift it as far as it will go. Then, press down on the back of the door panel to open up a gap where your hand can fit.

Hold the glass and pull it out toward you an inch. Support the glass with your other hand while doing this.

5. Check the Regulator Assembly

A car window regulator is a mechanism that controls the car window. It acts like a roller coaster track for the glass to run along. It’s made of a motor, cable, and window bracket. There’s a worm gear. It moves the cable connected to the bracket in the motor. If you’re having problems with your car windows not rolling up, you need to check your regulator assembly.

If the fuse is working, pull the door panel off and check the regulator assembly. If the window is stuck in one position, but nothing happens when you activate the window switch, the regulator assembly has most likely failed.

The regulator assembly consists of a plastic or metal guide track that lifts the glass. It also has a motor that moves the track and a series of cables or gears to make this work. If any of these parts fail, your window won’t roll up.

Replacing a bad regulator doesn’t mean replacing all of the components in it. Sometimes only one part of it has failed.

car and road divider

Other Methods of Fixing a Car Window That Doesn’t Roll Up

If you have followed each step in the above method and your car window doesn’t roll up yet, you can try the extra methods below.

Glass Palming Method

In this method, you will need to apply pressure to move the window into its up position manually.

Start by rolling down the window. Then, roll it up as far as you can. If you cannot roll it up at all, leave it as it is, then press the palm of your hand against the glass and apply firm pressure. Use the palm of both hands to get enough leverage on the pane of glass. With enough force, you should be able to pop your window back into place so it rolls once again.

Take extra care when using this method as it can cause some damage if not performed well. Make sure your palm is pressed against a flat surface of the glass and not at an angle that can cause injury if something goes wrong.

cleaning car window glass
Image Credit: Atstock Productions, shutterstock

Door Slam Method

The mechanism behind how this method works is simple. It can be likened to how you fix a stuck zipper by pulling on it.

Shut all the doors of your car. Then, slam the door of the affected window firmly. Do this several times. Each time you slam it, try opening and closing the window on its own.

The slamming will loosen whatever debris or obstruction that may have been preventing it from rolling up and down.

Try using your key fob or rolling down the window manually to see if it works well. If not, repeat step one a few more times until it does.

The Striking Method

The striking method involves striking the area of the door where the window regulator is located several times with your hand. It’ll force it back into its track.

Also, it will shake any small pieces of debris that may be caught in front of the pane or within the frame, causing it to get stuck. When you strike the regulator, be careful not to hit it too hard because you might break it.

If you happen to dent your door panel in the process, you can use a paintless dent repair kit to pull out the dents and restore your car’s exterior.

How Do Car Windows Work?

Do you ever wonder how your car windows work? You push a button, and the window goes up or down. There are two different ways that car windows can be powered to move up or down.

Manual Car Windows

Before electric windows, all cars had manual windows. These were operated by a crank handle. Turning the crank handle one way moved the window up and turning it the other way moved the window down.

Manual Car Windows_
Image Credit: Kara Knight, Shutterstock

Electric Car Windows

Electric windows use an electric motor and a gear mechanism to move the window. The electric motor turns the gear mechanism. Then, it moves the window along its track. When you power an electric window, electricity flows through a switch. Then, it flows through wires to the motor and back out again to complete the circuit.

You can operate electric car windows using a handheld remote control. In this case, an infrared beam from the remote control sends a signal to a receiver in the car. Then, it starts up the motor mechanism.

Key Difference Between Manual and Electric Car Windows

In manual car windows, the regulator is connected physically to the cranks. You can raise and lower the car window by turning the crank.

In electric car windows, regulators are attached to motors. But they operate like manual windows.

car and road divider Conclusion

You don’t have to panic if you’re experiencing a challenge in rolling up your car’s window. Many simple solutions can fix this problem fast and at little to no cost. The steps given above will come in handy.

Also, it’s an excellent idea to take regular care of your car’s window to prevent problems in the future. Clean and lubricate the car windows each month. Also check for damage regularly and get repairs done as needed. That way, you won’t experience what can feel like an ordeal if your car window won’t roll up.

Featured Image Credit: NavinTar, Shutterstock


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