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How to Get a Car Window Back on Track in 10 Steps

car window on rainy day

Are you having issues with rolling up your car windows? The window may not be on its track. The reason why your car window can move up and down is that it moves on a track. If the alignment is off, the window will not move up and down as it should. The good news is that fixing this issue is relatively easy since nearly all car windows are the same.

What this means for you is that it doesn’t take much experience to get a car window back on track. No matter what make or model you have, you should be able to get it done yourself. Although you might have to check the window crank or electronic motor, fixing the window itself is relatively easy.

If you need to get your car window back on track, we have written this article to help you out. This guide will help you get your car window back on track in just 10 steps. Let’s get started.

divider 4 What You’ll Need

Although you might think you will need special tools to get a car window back on track, that is not the case. Fixing your car window will only need several basic tools that you likely already have in your garage or tool shed. This is what you will need:

  • Flashlight
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Vice grip pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Ratchet
  • Lubricant
  • Tape
  • Wrench
  • Replacement parts (if needed)

Putting a Car Window Back on Track Yourself

Once you have gathered all your materials, you can move on to the repair stage of things.

1. Remove Nuts Holding the Car Door Panel

The first thing you need to do to fix your car window is remove the car door panel. You need to remove the car door panel because it will give you access to the interior parts you need to fix. If your car window is simply off track, you just need to take off the plastic board over the window engine.

You’ll want to loosen up the nuts that hold the car door panel together. You can use a wrench or screwdriver for this job. If you cannot loosen the nuts using a hand tool, you might need to grab a power tool to get the job done. Do not remove the panel until all screws are completely pulled out.

repairing car window
Image By: Aggapom Poomitud, Shutterstock

2. Remove the Hand Crank and Other Similar Components.

Depending on your car model, you might need to remove the hand window crank or electric window switch. Any other cup holders, key craters, and other items may also need to be removed. We recommend reading your manufacturer’s guide to learn how to remove these components.

3. Remove the Door and Covering So You Can Detach the Cables

Now, you will need to remove the door. We recommend placing a small but sturdy tool underneath the edges of the door. Press down gently so you can remove the door panel from its frame. Be very careful when doing this so you don’t accidentally crack the glass.

Once you have safely removed the car door panel, pull out any vapor barriers or insulation. Make sure to detach all wirings that are fastening the door in place.

4. Check the Window Track

Since you have access to the window track now, check it out. There are several reasons why the window might be off track that will require additional work. It’s important that you inspect everything while the door is broken down so that you can fix the real problem if there is one.

Sometimes, windows will go off track because there is a lot of wear on the track itself. If you notice rust on the track, you should add some lubricant to it. Likewise, bend the track back into shape using a wrench if you notice it is bent.

If lubrication and bending the track do not fix it, you might have to replace the window track entirely. This happens if rust has completely ruined the track, or it has cracked in some way.

5. Check the Electric Window Motor

Sometimes, a window will not be on track properly if the window motor is broken. Often, this happens because of misalignment or spoilage on the motor. You can check for any electrical settings by using a voltmeter. If things are all clear, move on to the next step. If not, you will need to replace the motor.

6. Check the Cables

Something else you need to check out when you are putting a window back on its track is the cables. If the cables are bad, the window will not work as it should. Inspect the cables to ensure everything is connected properly. If you notice that a cable looks damaged, replace it.

7. Set the Glass on the Window Frame

Once you have gotten everything else in order, it is time to start placing the window on the track. Begin by placing the bottom of the window to the bottom of the window frame. There should be lines on the car or interior to help realign it properly. Slide the glass down as firmly as possible while using one hand. Using your free hand, keep the bottom edge in proper alignment.

repairing car window glass
Image By: NavinTar, Shutterstock

8. Place the Glass on the Track

Continue to push the window glass into the track. Make sure that the glass does not look bent, squeezed, or broken in any way. Instead, it should fit snugly on the track with proper alignment.

9. Lubricate the Parts

To ensure that the window slides up and down the track smoothly, lubricate the tracks and rollers. You will want to clean out any dirt or debris you see before lubricating. This will keep everything in working order.

10. Put Everything Back Together

Finally, you will need to put everything back together. Once the door is reconstructed, test the window out to see if you fixed the problem. If not, you might need to see a professional because there might be something more serious causing the problem.

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How Much Does It Cost to Get a Car Window Back on Track?

If the window is simply off track and you can fix it yourself, it shouldn’t cost anything. You might need to buy a new tool or two, but most of the tools used for getting a car window back on track are affordable and can be found at most convenience stores.

That being said, fixing your car window may cost more if a particular part is broken. For example, you might have to spend anywhere from $50 to $500 to replace the track or motor. If you decide to go to a professional, you have to pay for the additional parts as well as the labor. Having a professional put your car window back on track often costs anywhere from $150 to $1,000.

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Final Thoughts

Getting a car window back on track isn’t too difficult. The most challenging part will be removing the car door panel, but it is smooth sailing once you get this step done. The process should also be affordable if the window simply went off track.

As you’re putting the window back on track, don’t forget to check out any parts. Inspecting the various parts will ensure that you are fixing the window correctly. Depending on what you find, you might have to pay for replacement parts or even professional services.

Featured Image Credit: Alexandra Mirgheș, Unsplash


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