Causes of Power Window Malfunctions

Causes of power window malfunctions: black coup on black background
The window on a car is more important than you may think. In fact you’re only likely to realize how important it is when it malfunctions. After all how do you cope with the drive through or taking a ticket at the parking lot? Even something as simple as getting fresh air into your vehicle can be a chore.

Power window malfunction is a serious issue; you’ll probably need an automotive window specialist to help you rectify the problem. However, it is a good idea to learn about the most common causes of power window malfunctions; this will help you to understand what the issue is or perhaps even repair it yourself.

The Switch

You may be surprised at how often the switch can become damaged in your vehicle. Because it is usually situated in the door it is exposed to all the elements. This can cause moisture to get into the switch; encouraging corrosion in the terminals.

You may be able to simply clean the terminals or you may need to replace the switch.


Every vehicle as a fuse box or two; this is actually the first thing you should check if your power window fails. Of course, the fuse will usually cover all the power windows so it is unlikely to be the issue if only one window has failed.

Fuses can fail because they are old or if they have experienced a surge of power or even a short in the circuit. Again the exposure to the elements can increase the likelihood of this happening.


This is perhaps the most common cause of power window malfunctions. The regulator controls the up and down movement of the window. It will wear out over time. However, you can shorten the lifespan of the regulator by trying to move the window when the glass is covered with snow or ice.

You may also find that an intermittent power window malfunction is due to a motor overheating. This will be obvious of the window starts to work again once the motor has cooled down. You may have a problem with the wiring but the most likely scenario in this situation is a replacement motor.

Another common issue with the regulator is when the cable separates from the regulator. This will prevent the window from moving up and down; which can be very inconvenient if it’s cold outside, or raining.

Regulator issues can often be heard before the regulator actually breaks; if your window sounds different it’s a good idea to get it checked straight away.


Use A Professional

It is tempting to take a look at the window regulator yourself. However, these are built into the door, behind the door panel. On many newer cars the panels are actually riveted in place. You’ll need the right tools to get the panel off in one piece and to get it back on.

If you attempt to remove the panel with force there’s a good chance you’ll damage the panel and dramatically increase the cost of your repair.

Power Windows