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Power Window Motor

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Power Window Motor

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What is a power window motor and where is it located?

Almost all modern vehicles come equipped with power windows instead of manual windows, making the raising and lowering of windows as easy as pushing a switch. A key component of the proper operation of your vehicle’s power windows is the power window motor, also commonly referred to as a window lift motor or an electric window motor. Power window motors are located behind your vehicle’s door panels. This electric motor, when activated by the push of the power window switch, powers the linkage of the lifting mechanism that actually moves the windows up and down, called a window regulator.

How do I know my power window motor needs to be replaced?

Since windows are used frequently, the power window motor is one of the most actively used parts in any vehicle. One of the most obvious signs of window motor failure might be an immobile window. One way to see if the motor is the cause is to listen to it when you press the window switch. If there is not sound coming from the motor, it's most likely defective. A surefire way to tell is to check the voltage of the window motor with a voltmeter. Test the voltage while flicking the window switch up and down. If you see the voltage reach or pass 12 volts and then lower—compared to the switch maintaining its voltage—then electricity is reaching the motor but its failing to move, resulting in a busted window motor. You can also test the resistance in the motor with an ohmmeter.

Below are some problems that may contribute to broken window motors:

  • Damaged window regulator
  • Worn or compromised weatherstripping
  • Misaligned window
  • Misplaced window stops
  • Obstructions in the windows or doors
  • Weakened balance springs
  • Ground wiring fault

Can I replace the window motor myself?

Depending on the year, make, and model, window motors can be tackled by the average do-it-yourselfer. It's a good idea to follow a guide for the first step, which is to remove the door panel. Door panel removal can vary, but can usually be removed with a socket and ratchet, Phillips or flat blade screwdriver, and a door panel removal tool. Once you get the door panel off, the window motor can either be removed as is by simply loosening a few bolts or punching out some rivets and disconnecting a wiring harness, or in some cases the entire regulator assembly will have to be removed to gain access the window motor. This is why it's important to read an instruction guide or watch an instructional video to be aware of what steps you will have to take. 

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