Replacing a Faulty Window Motor: A Step-by-Step Guide

By: Kris LeSueur   |   25 Mar 2024

Are you experiencing difficulty with your car's driver or passenger window? If so, it's possible that your window motor is failing. It shouldn’t worry you that much because the process of replacing a faulty window motor is easy.  But first, how does the window motor work and what are the usual causes of its failure? Read on to find out.

Understanding How a Window Motor Works

A window motor is a crucial component found in both electric and nonelectric vehicles equipped with power windows. Its primary function is to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. When you activate the window button in your car, it sends an electrical signal to the power window motor, initiating its operation. By utilizing electrical energy from the battery, the window motor powers the window regulator and regulator arms, facilitating the movement of the power window up and down. This mechanism enables automatic movement of the window glass, making it easier to operate without manual effort.

Identifying Symptoms of a Failing Window Motor

If your window motor assembly is failing or malfunctioning, you may encounter various symptoms, including:

  •  Noisy or squeaky door glass operation
  •  Slow or complete loss of window movement
  •  Intermittent window operation
  •  A burning smell emanating from the window area
  •  Rattling sounds from the door panel (door card)
  •  Window glass moving only in one direction

Common Causes of Window Motor Failure

Regular wear and tear of the motor and regulator assembly is often the primary cause of window motor failure. This occurs as frequent use of the electric motor leads to wear and tear of brushes and gears. Additionally, window motors can fail due to:

  •  Electrical issues such as a bad switch, faulty wiring, or blown fuse
  •  Overuse or excessive strain on electric motor parts
  •  Water damage or exposure to moisture
  •  Physical damage to motor assembly parts or the door mechanism
  •  Misaligned or worn-out regulator arms

Replacing a Window Motor

If you're unsure about the replacement process or lack the necessary tools and skills, it's advisable to seek assistance from skilled technicians or mechanics. The following steps outline the window motor replacement process:

Step 1: Vehicle Preparation

 Park the vehicle in a safe, well-lit area and ensure the ignition is turned off.

 Disconnect the car battery to prevent electrical accidents during replacement.

Step 2: Door Panel Removal

Use a trim panel removal tool to detach the trim and mounting bolts holding the door panel and interior door handle. Carefully raise the inner door panel while being mindful of any connected wires.

Step 3: Electrical Connections and Water Shield Removal

Disconnect electrical connectors, including the power window switch. Peel away the water shield to access the window motor without causing damage.

Step 4: Removing the Old Window Motor

Locate the power window motor, typically bolted to the door frame and connected to the window regulator. Disconnect the motor's electrical connector and remove mounting bolts or screws securing it to the door frame and regulator.

Step 5: Installing the New Window Motor

 Replace the old motor with a new one and secure it in place with mounting bolts or screws. Reconnect electrical connectors.

Step 6: Door Reassembly

Reinstall the water shield to prevent moisture from entering the new motor. Reconnect the power window switch and door lock mechanism. Align the interior door panel to the door frame and secure it in place.

Step 7: Final Testing

Reconnect the car battery and test the new electric window motor operation. Ensure smooth movement of the front and rear windows without obstruction.

By following these steps, you can successfully replace a faulty window motor in your car, restoring smooth operation to your power windows.

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