A power window is something most people never consider beyond pushing the button to make the window go up and down–until it stops working. When a power window fails, most people try it a few times, give up, and either drive with a non working window or take it in to an auto shop for repair. But there is a third option: you can try to fix it yourself, or at least do some troubleshooting before taking it in to an expensive mechanic. The following guide will get you started on fixing a non working power window.
First of all, it is best to have some knowledge of electrical circuits, as well as the service manual for your vehicle, but if you don’t have either, you can still try the following steps as long as you’re careful. You will need a screwdriver, a test light, and jumper wires.
Park your care somewhere safe and free from traffic. If you need a key in the ignition for your windows to work, insert it. Additionally, make sure the lock control switch in the driver’s window panel is turned on, if you have one, so all the window switches in the car will work.
Next, you will want to look at the main power window breaker or fuse if you have found that none of the vehicle’s windows will wind up or down. Typically, the main fuse box in a car can be found on the driver’s side of the vehicle under the dashboard. Look for the power window fuse; if it is blown out, you can replace it, and that may be all it takes to get the windows working again.
If that doesn’t work, the next step is to use a test light to check each of the wires that run from the master control switch to the fuse box. Using a screwdriver will enable you to remove the control switch from the panel in most cars. First attach the test light wire to a solid ground. Then turn the ignition switch and use the test light tip to touch wires that are connected to the control switch. The test light should light if voltage is reaching the control switch. If it does not, the problem probably lies from the wire that runs from the fuse box, the wire that runs power to the power window switch, or some wire connections in between.
Another location to check is at the switch of the window that doesn’t work. This is a good place to start if only one of the windows does not work. Again, using a screwdriver will enable you to pull up the switch in most cars. As before, attach the test light to a suitable ground, and then operate the switch while touching each end of the electrical connectors of the switch. Again, the test light should come on. If it does not, look to see if there is an opening in the wire that runs from the main control switch. Alternatively, if the test light only lights on one end of the switch and not the other, this suggests a defective switch that you should have replaced. If the light does work on both sides, use the test light as before on the power window motor.
As you can see, there are some basic things you can try before taking your car in to a mechanic. If none of these strategies work, it may be another kind of problem that may take more knowledge to identify and repair. Don’t be afraid to take the vehicle in for an estimate if you can’t get it working on your own. If the window motor is gone, it is often possible to get a used motor installed for considerably less than the cost of a new one, and your car dealer may be able to find you one if you ask.