Updated: Mar 1, 2019
Your car’s moveable side windows aren’t just for allowing a breeze into the cabin, nor to order at the drive-thru window.
They are primarily a safety component; an emergency exit in the event of an accident or a stuck door. The window regulator keeps your window moving on the vertical axis without binding.
In many cars, window regulators last the car’s lifetime. However, unexpected failures can occur, typically after 100,000km, that require window regulator replacement.
On average, a new window regulator will cost between $300 and $450 and sometimes more, depending on the make and model of the car you drive.
Windows that move most frequently, namely the driver’s side front window, will require replacement before the others.
Window Regulator Replacement
WHAT IS A WINDOW REGULATOR?
Each door window has its own regulator. Its role is to move the window up and down on its track, allowing it to open and close.
There are two types of window regulators commonly used: a scissor-type regulator and a cable-operated regulator.
The scissor-type regulator is usually all-metal construction, has intersecting arms shaped like an ‘X’, and is moved with a gear that the heart of the unit.
A cable-style regulator is found on many newer models. The cable is attached to a drive method and moves the window vertically along its track.
Both systems can be used in manual window designs and with an electric motor in power window systems.
Window regulators, especially scissor-type regulators are quite strong, although lack of lubrication, dirt and grime, and excessive pressure on the window can cause damage to either style.
If the regulator becomes bent or broken, or the cable slips off the window regulator, the window will not function and the regulator will need to be replaced.
SYMPTOMS THAT YOUR WINDOW REGULATOR REQUIRES REPLACEMENT
- A window will not roll up
- The window does not stay up when closed and creeps or falls down
- Creaking or groaning when the window is moved
HOW IS A WINDOW REGULATOR REPLACED?
- The affected window is rolled up and secured in place with tape
- The inside door handle and trim pieces are removed
- The inner door trim known as the door panel is removed carefully
- A plastic sheet of vapour barrier is gently peeled back
- The window fasteners are removed from the regulator
- The power window motor, if equipped is disconnected and set aside
- The window regulator is unbolted and removed and a new one fitted
- The window is attached to the new window regulator
- The window motor, vapour barrier, door panel, and trim are reinstalled
- The technician confirms the window is operating as designed
TIPS TO REMEMBER
- A faulty window regulator can easily be mistaken for a failing power window motor
- Care must be taken to prevent the window glass from falling and shattering
HOW IMPORTANT IS REPLACING A WINDOW REGULATOR?
It can help keep you comfortable when you can open your door window, but it also provides peace of mind that you can escape your car in the event of an emergency.
Driving your car with a failed window regulator isn’t inherently dangerous in itself but it can inhibit you if you experience trouble on the road.
Have damaged or faulty window regulators replaced as soon as possible.
If you’ve read this far, you obviously care about your car. A lot. So next time you need a service, repair or inspection, visit Airlie Auto.
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