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What to do when the Windows Won’t Roll Up

What to do when the Windows Won’t Roll Up

It is a cloudless summer day and you are driving down the highway with your windows down. Suddenly, there is a cool breeze, which gets stronger and stronger. Pretty soon there are leaves blowing into your car. You try to put up the automatic windows, but you can't, they are stuck. Clouds quickly gather and the rain begins ruining your mood and your expensive interiors. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


No matter if you have manual or power windows, the ability to close windows is one of the car’s most important features. Malfunctioning windows are certainly something you want to get taken care of right away. Before taking your car into the shop, there are a few tips that may work to get your stuck windows to roll up.


How Do Car Windows Work?

A regulator is a component that is used to raise and lower car windows. They are located inside channels. In a manual window, the regulators are physically attached to cranks. When you turn the crank, it raises or lowers the windows. The electric window’s regulators are hooked up to motors and move when you press a button.


​Manual and electric windows may work similarly, but they fail for different reasons. Generally speaking, electric windows use a reversible electric motor. The router is attached to a regulator and this is used to raise or lower the windows.


Manual car windows employ a hand crank along with a mechanical regulator which raises and lowers the window glass inside the door. The gears in the regulator or crank can become stripped and burnout and the regulator can become deformed. The regulator can also get stuck because of friction if it is not lubricated properly.


Things that are mechanical are simply more complex than things that are manual. An automatic window will have wiring, switches, and monitors that can fail. The regulator can go bad as well. 

What to do when Power Windows Stop Working

In some cases,  you can get a stuck power window to roll back up. If the switch is working but the motor is not, you may be able to get the window to roll up by jerking the motor while the switch is held in the closed position.

You can roll up an electric window that is stuck in the down position by following these steps.


  1. Turn the ignition on. If the other windows are operational and you are able to turn on the radio, it is in the correct position.
  2. Press the window switch and hold it in the closed position. You must keep the button depressed, and push the side that closes the window.
  3. When the window button is depressed, open the car door and then slam it shut. Try this a few times if it does not work the first time. If it works and you keep holding down the button, the window should roll-up. This is a very temporary fix it will not work the second time. Don't roll the window back down.

  • If this fix doesn't work, there are other things that you can do. 
  • 1. Close the car door, and look for where the door panel appears to be in contact with the sheet metal that lines the inside of the door.

  • You should be able to find a diagram on the internet of your particular make and model of car with a door panel removed.
  • 2. Depress the button once again and hit the location where the door panel is in contact with the sheet metal with a blunt object. Do not use your fist. Be mindful not to damage the door. 
  • If this does not fix the problem, you may have a bad switch, fuse, or window motor. It may be necessary to go to a mechanic at this point.

The Window May be Out of Its Track

If the window is making a grinding noise when you try to roll it up, or you can hear the motor, then either there is an issue with the regulator or the window has come off its tracks.

Here are steps for getting the window rolled up in this case. You will need two people for this to work.


  • 1.Turn the ignition to the accessory position.
  • 2. Open the door and place your palms on either side of the window.
  • 3. Have another person push down the window switch.
  • 4. Press down on the window with your palms and attempt to pull it up.
    Some people try to grab the window from the top and pull on it. However, the window may start moving on its own. You could get injured if you do things this way.
  • If the window is completely down, and there is a grinding noise or if you see that the window glass rocks back and forth when you attempt to put it up, you won't be able to close the window unless you remove the door panel. If you remove the door panel, you can attempt to lift the window from the inside while pushing the switch.

Causes of Electric Window Failure

There are a few things that cause power windows to fail. They include bad switches, blown fuses, and burned out motors. the window regulator might simply have worn out with age. 


There are some basic guidelines that you can use to determine why your electric windows are not working properly.

  • 1. Examine the window safety lock-out switch. If it is activated, the windows will not move. 

The lockout switch is designed for your safety. If anyone who shouldn't be approaching your car approaches your car it can help keep them out. People accidentally hit the switch all the time and when they do that the windows will not operate properly. The switch is generally located near the main panel.

  • 2. Check the fuses. If none of the windows are working, check the car’s fuses and replace those that are blown. Once you replace them you should try the windows again. If the fuse blows again, look for a short circuit. 

In the majority of vehicles, all of the window motors feed off of the same circuit, getting power from the same fuse. In the event that one fuse blows, the windows will stop working. You will have to replace the fuse or get a mechanic to do it.

  • 3. If you hear a sound from inside the door when you push the switch up and down, that means the switch is operational. There Is a good chance that the window motor is worn out, or the regulator is jammed.
  • 4. Depress the window switch and observe the dash gauges. If you see that the volt gauge on your dash moves when you push the switch, it may have a bad motor.
  • 5. Try all the switches. If the passenger side window doesn't work, try to operate it with the driver side switch or the center console. If this does the trick, then it is just the passenger side switch that is bad.
  • 6. Swap switches if possible. In some cars, the window switches are all the same and you can swap one from a window that works to a window that doesn't. If a window starts working with the new switch, then the problem was simply a bad switch.
  • 7. Make sure the switch has power and ground. If the power and ground are okay, you may want to check the motor or the wiring.


Fixing Manual Windows That Don’t Work

Although manual windows are less convenient than power windows, there is far less that can go wrong with them.  There are two things that can cause them to stop functioning properly. Either there are stripped gears in the crank or a problem with the regulator.


The only way to get a stuck manual window up is to pull on it. This is not recommended as you may damage it. You will have to remove the window crank and the door panel to find out what is wrong with a manual window.


If the window crank freewheels when it is turned, or if it is grinding, the teeth are likely to be stripped inside the crank. You will need to take the crank off and inspected visually. If the teeth are stripped, you will need to replace the crank.


If the crank looks good, you should remove the door panel and examine the window and the regulator. Make sure the window hasn't popped out of the channel. If it has, then popping it back might fix the problem.


the regulator may have gotten caught on something or the Grease may have dried up. In this situation, you may be able to release the regulator from what it is caught on or you can lubricate by applying more grease.


Cost of Fixing Windows

The cost of fixing power windows is around $120 to $150 in labor, plus the cost of the motor. The total cost should be about $200 to $300. Manual Windows actually cost more to fix. You can expect to pay from $200 to $450 for the whole job.


 If you decide to go to a professional mechanic, you will have a couple of options for where to take your car. 

Going to an Auto Body Shop

Auto body shops are the most popular option for getting a car fixed. They are less expensive than dealerships and you can talk to the mechanic directly. It is better to go to a chain shop because they will have corporate policies and discounts for loyal customers.


AAA maintains a national list of recommended mechanics. You can also find a mechanic on Angie's List. Be sure to get cost and time estimates in writing.


Going to a Dealership

A dealership is likely to charge almost twice as much as an auto body shop. However, they will charge you by the job and not by the hour so that you are less likely to be surprised by the bill. They will be certified in your make and model of car. However, windows do not vary that much from car to car, so the dealership may not be the best option in this case.


If you have an older car and you find yourself just constantly making small repairs to it, it may be time to get a new vehicle, If you do this, you will have several options for getting rid of the old ride.

Selling Your Old Car

When you buy your new car, you can always use your old car as a trade-in. Dealerships will offer you a certain discount on the new car for giving them the old car. They are unlikely to offer you what the car is really worth. They will rely on your wanting to get rid of the car quickly and get the transaction over with.


You can also sell your car online. There are many websites that will allow you to list pictures of your car along with its specs for a monthly fee. It may take quite a while to sell your car this way because you will be in competition with many other people.


Once you do get a prospective buyer, you will have to take time out of your day to show them the car.  You may have to do this several times before you find someone to actually buy the car for the price you are asking. 


Online car sales can be dangerous. Many criminals have found their victims this way.

Sell Your Car to Us

Cash Cars Buyers can give you a great price for your used car. All you have to do is fill out our simple form which will ask for your contact information and some general information about your vehicle. As soon as we get your form will call you back with an offer.


If you accept our offer we will make an appointment to come to pick up your car. We will pay you in cash and tow your car away for free; it's just that easy.