How Do You Know if Your Window Regulator Is Bad


The window regulator is a mechanical device that controls the opening and closing of your vehicle’s windows. The regulator moves a large arm inside the door, which opens and closes the glass on vehicles with manual roll-up or tilt-up windows.

How Do You Know if Your Window Regulator Is Bad

Your cars’ automatic sliding doors also have regulators, but these are technically different devices than standard regulators, often requiring special tools to change out. This article will discuss “how you know if your window regulator is bad”. So let us get started.

What Does A Window Regulator Do?

A car regulator does exactly that – regulates windows for your vehicle. More specifically, it helps ensure the windows can go up and down smoothly without any hassles.

The main components inside a car regulator are gears, levers, and spindles. These components help operate the windows, so when there are issues with them, you may notice problems with your windows.

If you encounter a problem with your regulator, one of the first things that happen is that your window may get stuck as you try to roll it up or down. Sometimes, even after several attempts, the window may not budge.

But if this is happening for only one of your windows and the rest are working fine, chances are there could be something wrong with just that particular regulator instead of all of them. Sometimes, when there are issues with regulators, the driver’s side window gets affected more than others because most people have their hands resting while driving.

Step-wise Guide on How Do You Know if Your Window Regulator Is Bad

You first need to know that a window regulator consists of three parts: the motor, the arm, and the frame. Therefore, the process of identifying a bad window regulator includes checking each of these parts on your car windows. These are listed below in a step-wise fashion:

Arm :

If your car’s power window has an outside crank-handle type mechanism, this part is referred to as the arm. This will be connected to the motor and fits inside the door frame. If the arm feels loose or wobbly when you move it up and down, it may be possible that it is already damaged due to wear and tear over time or external force like hitting something while driving. Either way, you must replace the arm as soon as possible.

Pole :

This part is called the pole if your power window uses an inside switch mechanism or remote control. The arm and the pole are connected by a rod, and if there is any problem with either of these parts, that would be indicated by squeaking noises when moving them up and down.

Pole Window Regulator

This could also mean that the arm and pole both have worn out due to regular use, and in such scenarios, it’s best to get them replaced as soon as possible for the smooth functioning of your car windows.

Motor :

While checking how your motor works, look out for unusual sounds while using it, if you hear a strange humming or grinding sound, then it means that the motor is already malfunctioning and requires replacement soon.

Additionally, you can check if the motor operates smoothly or not by using a thin object like a pencil to move your car’s power windows up and down while checking out the mechanics of the arm. If there is any excessive wobbling or bumping, then it is possible that your window regulator has given out and needs replacement.

Other things you need to look for are whether motors make humming sounds when they are placed under load, which would indicate they may have gotten weak as time passed due to wear and tear; also, look out for smoke emanating from them while in use, indicating overheating which indicates repair/replacement will be necessary sooner than later.

The checklists mentioned above will help you determine if your car’s power window regulator is functioning well or not. Suppose you find that even after performing all of these tests, it appears that the regulator may be bad. In that case, you need to contact a professional mechanic and explain your problem to them about how you know if your window regulator is bad.

The mechanic will tell you whether or not your motor needs replacement. If yes, they will also suggest a good brand that provides quality replacement parts at reasonable prices. This way, you can ensure the smoother functioning of your windows and drive safely without any problems!

How to Fix Window Regulators?

A window regulator is the main mechanism that makes windows go up and down. It’s a part of your car’s door assembly, and it essentially allows the driver to adjust how much air gets into the vehicle by raising or lowering a window.

A Window Regulator Is the Main Mechanism

Your car has two types of regulators. Temporary and permanent ones. A temporary regulator can function for about one year on average, while a permanent one can last for more than 15 years, depending on its quality and care. So what are they made of?

Sometimes, when going over bumps or potholes, you may notice that your window only goes up or down partially. In this case, you should check if you have an old type of regulator – if yes, get ready to replace it with a new one.

If your temporary window regulator broke, you could easily fix it by buying a new part at an auto parts store and installing it yourself.

How to Replace an Old Window Regulator?

You need to remove the old regulator, clean up a rubber gasket, replace metal parts with rusted zinc ones, if any, adjust the tension and lubricate everything from time to time for the replacement part not to break down early. Replacement of a defective window regulator won’t take more than 20 minutes if you want to do it yourself. Follow these instructions: 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens When Window Regulator Goes Bad?

Window regulators go wrong when they become misaligned or get too much play. If your window regulator is getting too much play, you will need to adjust it back into place. If the regulator is misaligned, you will need to replace it with a new one.

What Causes a Window Regulator to Fail?

Window regulators fail when the weather changes, especially if it is extremely cold or wet. Another reason window regulators fail due to age. When a regulator fails, the rubber can no longer keep up with the force of air entering and exiting through the regulator’s opening.

A third reason window regulators fail is because they are not properly adjusted or serviced regularly. If you notice that your window regulator has stopped working, have it checked by a professional immediately to avoid safety hazards and potential damage to your home.

They Are Not Properly Adjusted

Is It Hard to Fix a Window Regulator?

A window regulator is a device that operates a window using a cord, spring, or another mechanism. It keeps the window open at the desired level and closes it automatically when pulled on.

Some ways to fix a window regulator are:

1. You first need to remove the screws that hold the operator onto the wall. Then remove any visible screws from the inside of the housing and pull out both pieces of metal.

2. If this doesn’t work, then you will have to get some tool to pry open one side enough so that you can reach in and disconnect wires from each other and reconnect them into new terminals on your operator, which should be just outside of where they were initially connected.

3. The last option would be taking it down completely, but this would require removing trim pieces around windows and cutting through molding with hacksaw blades before pulling off metal frame pieces with cable still attached.

What Does a Bad Window Regulator Sound Like?

A bad window regulator sounds like a clicking noise when the motor turns. This can be caused by:

• An unbalanced weight on the motor shaft.

• The belt is not running properly.

• The wheel bearings are not lubricated or moving freely.

 Wheel Bearings Are Not Lubricated

How Much Should It Cost to Replace a Window Regulator?

The cost of replacing a window regulator will depend on your window type and what is wrong with it.

If your window has a broken regulator, then the cost will be around $40 to $60. If something is wrong with the weather stripping, this can be done for $20 to $30.


Thank you for reading this post. I hope that this post will help all who are looking for answers on how do you know if your window regulator is bad. It’s sad but true, and many people don’t realize they have a problem with their windows until it’s too late, and the results can be hazardous. Don’t let yourself or anyone in your family become a victim of faulty/non-working power windows!

Jennifer Branett
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