Window Won't Roll Up

Window Won’t Roll Up – How To Fix This?

Paul Hadley

This article was recently reviewed by car expert Paul Hadley to ensure it is as accurate and helpful as possible.

Are you having a problem with your car window? The window won’t roll up? If this is the case and you are in this situation, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we will learn everything about this problem.

Having a problem like this can be a really frustrating thing to deal with. Imagine that you don’t have a garage or a shelter to park your car and your window doesn’t want to roll up? This is one of the things you don’t want and you are risking a ton of consequences because of this problem.

So, here comes your troubleshooting skill. Troubleshooting is a mastery, especially when it comes to these types of problems. These issues are minor and important to fix on time.

You will need to act quickly when this problem happens and prevent any consequences from happening. More on them we are going to elaborate on the introduction where we will see what could be the downsides when it comes to these types of problems.

After that, we are going to elaborate on how power windows work and the different types of power windows. Later on, we will see what are the prime causes for this issue of a car window won’t roll up and how to diagnose them. Lastly, we will discuss the costs involved in this work. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Window Won’t Roll Up?

Now before we dive into more complex topics like why the window won’t roll up. Let’s discuss the basics and elaborate more on the problem of the window won’t roll up. This will be a good introduction for the ones who are not familiar with this issue and want to learn more. If you are better prepared, you can move to the causes of this problem. If not, keep up with us for a bit.

So, what is the situation when the window won’t roll up? This is the situation when the window likes to go down but does not want to go up. Or it was completely stuck in a fully open position. Frankly, this is something that not a lot of us want to happen and can be a really frustrating thing to deal with. Mainly because of two different reasons.

The first reason is that the car is exposed to the weather. Driving a car like this is close to impossible and you will really struggle. Especially if it’s in the middle of the winter and there is no way around it. Also during the summer if there is rain, you might get rained on. The car interior could get completely soaked. And frankly, you don’t want to drive moldy vehicles.

The second probable reason is the possibility of thefts. A car with a broken window is a lot easier to be a part of a theft. People will notice it and your possessions inside of the car or the car itself could be stolen (which is good to know how to find a tracker on your car). That’s why driving a car like this is not recommended thing to do. But what about the window won’t roll up problem cause? We will get to that in a bit.

Should I Roll The Window Up By Force?

Another very common question that bothers a lot of people out there whose window won’t roll up. And that is whether or not you should roll the window up by force?

Technically you can. But the regulator will stay down at the bottom. Meaning that the glass will get removed from the window track and will move freely up and down. In this case, if you release it, it will shatter into pieces.

So, if you plan to pull the glass up by force, you need to remove the door panel that is holding the door and then secure it safely if you don’t want the glass to fall down and shatter.

Window Won't Roll Up

If it shatters, you will also need to pay for a new window as well. And you probably don’t want. So, keep this in mind.

You can also damage the regulator by doing this. But considering that the regulator is out of use. The chances of breaking it are really small since the motor is not engaging and the window won’t roll up.

But have you asked yourself how the window regulator works in reality? Let’s elaborate more on that in the following chapters where we will learn more about this component.

Power Windows History

Now before we learn why the window won’t roll up. Let’s cover some of the basics of power windows and their history.

The idea of power windows is as old as the cars are. People want some commodities like this and they are willing to pay extra to have them. That’s why cars have a ton of options that you could choose for some extra money on top of the base price.

Many people found it a bit frustrating to use the mechanical roller that was installed on doors and there needed something that could be done to tackle this problem. That’s why the power windows were introduced.

In the beginning, there were hydraulic systems. Meaning that these windows worked with the help of hydraulic fluid. In the past everything was hydraulic. But soon electronics simplified this.

This made the power windows much more accessible to the general public and up until the 80s, they weren’t a luxury item anymore. Even though most of the time they were purchased as an option. Nowadays this is not the case. Power windows are a standard in every new vehicle.

Even though for power windows in some cars that you can purchase, for rear power windows you pay extra cash. Car companies still find ways to fool you. But even if you have to pay extra for this option, it’s not a lot of money and you can get this option on the cheap.

It is important for you to learn what are the types of power window mechanisms if you have a problem with a car window won’t roll up. And that’s what we are going to cover next in the article.

Types Of Power Window Mechanisms

Now before we learn why the window won’t roll up, let’s discuss the different types of power windows mechanisms that are out there right now. Some of them are more reliable while some of them are more prone to failure.

For this, you will have to learn what type of regulator you are having. Since they have a different mechanism in their functionality. What is the same for both is that they are components that they are made of. But more on that in the following chapter where we will cover both of these types. And then we will cover the window won’t roll up problem. So, let’s get into it.

Gear Driven Window Regulator

Before we learn why the window won’t roll up. Let’s cover the first type of window regulator. Which is the gear-driven regulator.

This type of window regulator is much more durable than the other type that we will cover. This is the case because the mechanism is using a metal gear that rarely malfunctions.

This window regulator is made out of the drive gear which is connected to the window motor. Then from the gear, there are two regulator arms. One that goes from the drive gear and the other from the regulator track. On top, there is the window track that basically holds the window and moves it up and down.

This window regulator is an X-shape regulator. Meaning that it looks like a big X, unlike the other regulator that we are going to cover before we start discussing why the window won’t roll up.

Cable Driven Window Regulator

Now before we cover why the window won’t roll up, let’s cover the second type of regulator that is there. And this is the cable-driven window regulator.

This window regulator also works with the help of an electric motor and is usually installed on rear windows because it is quite a compact unit. But also more prone to failures.

How this mechanism is pretty straightforward. There is the regulator track that is in a vertical position. And at both ends there are pulleys. An upper pulley and a lower pulley. These pulleys are allowing the cable to move up and down. Thus moving the window.

The regulator is also powered by an electric motor that moves the cable up and down. Simple but it works. But what is bad with this system is that the cable sometimes causes a problem. It can get mangled and cause a ton of issues like the window won’t roll up.

But more on that, we are going to cover later in this article where we will elaborate on these causes in-depth and learn all of the different causes why the regulator can fail.

Causes Why Window Won’t Roll Up

Now let’s get to the main topic of today and that are the causes of window won’t roll up. As you probably know, there are a number of issues that could occur on your vehicle and make the window inoperable.

Some of them are really minor. While some of these causes can be frustrating and somewhat expensive to deal with. So, what are the probabilities for the window won’t roll up? Let’s elaborate on them in the following chapters.

1. Window Safety Lock-Out Switch Is On

The first and the simplest cause why the window won’t roll up is probably the safety lock-out button or switch as it is called. This is a switch that is located on the door panel of the driver next to the other window buttons. So, what does this switch do?

Well, this switch has a role to lock the windows in one position. Meaning that if you have kids in the back, they won’t be able to roll down the windows. Or roll them up. Depending much on your needs.

And what happens is that a lot of people are pressing this button and forget about it. Resulting in the window won’t roll up. Which is scary at first. But when you think about it, locate this button and give it a go, if it works, then great, the window won’t roll up is not still the case.

But if it doesn’t work, then you will need to move on to other possibilities why is this the case and why the window won’t roll up. And that’s what we are going to cover next.

2. Bad Fuse

A blown fuse can also make your window won’t roll up. But why is this the case? What has the fuse with the problem of the window won’t roll up?

Well, it can have a lot to it. Namely, these fuses are designed to blow when there is a certain problem with the power in your car.

This is a precaution measure that will not allow the short to make a fire and burn your car to the ground. Meaning that it will prevent fires and other possible outcomes that could be.

So, if there is a problem, the fuse will blow and you will have a problem with the window won’t roll up. When this happens, it is best to check your fusebox and replace this burned fuse. It will cost you less than a dollar. If this isn’t the cause for the window won’t roll up problem. Move on to the next possibility.

3. No Power To The Circuit

Another cause for the cause of the window won’t roll up problem is the insufficient electric power to the circuit.

This problem can be attributed to bad wiring. As you know there are wires that go inside of your door to make these window regulators function.

So, when there is no power to the circuit, then it must be a problem. Namely, a bad relay or damage to the wiring. The relays and the wiring have to be checked along with the fuses for you to determine that the regulator or the switch are broken. But more on that in the following chapters where we will dive into diagnosing the matter. Now let’s move to the next probable cause of window won’t roll up.

4. Broken Switch

Another very probable cause for the window won’t roll up is the broken switch. This switch is basically the switch that you use to roll up and roll down the window.

This switch has a circuit board in it and it can go bad from age, water, or use in general. When the board goes bad, the switch is irresponsive and the window will not work as it should.

And this is one of the most common causes for the window won’t roll up problem. Basically, this is the first component that you need to troubleshoot. But more on that we will cover later in the article where we will learn the diagnostic process of a window regulator.

5. Burnt Window Regulator Motor

Another very common cause for the window won’t roll up problem is a burnt window regulator motor. This motor is basically the backbone of the regulator. This is an electric motor that is doing all the hard work behind the curtain. Meaning that this motor rolls up and makes the window to roll down.

Sometimes these electric motors can fail and stop the window. Making it inoperable. So, whenever this happens, you will face a problem like this.

Whenever this motor breaks, you will have to replace the motor. Some people replace the whole unit. Since it’s really cheap. Now let’s move to the last probable cause for the window won’t roll up.

6. Damaged Window Cable

And the last thing that we are going to cover when it comes to the causes of the problem with the window won’t roll up is the regulator cable.

As we mentioned, some window regulators have cables while some of them are mechanical. Meaning that they have a gear that spins when the switch is engaged by the owner.

In these regulators where cables are used, can often malfunction. What happens is that the cable gets tangled up and this steel cable is not good anymore. It will love to get stuck and the window won’t roll up. So, this means that the window is basically inoperable. This is the time that you need to start looking for solutions for this issue and how to diagnose it. And in the following chapter, we are going to help you out.

How To Diagnose The Window Won’t Roll Up Problem?

Now let’s dive into how you can diagnose the problem of window won’t roll up. What could you do to determine what could be the issue?

The first thing you need to do is to test the main switch which is at the driver’s door. This switch can open all of the windows on the car. If this switch doesn’t work then test the specific switch for that door. If that specific switch doesn’t work as well, the problem lies in the specific door. So if the driver’s door switch doesn’t work, you have to disassemble it. There is no way around it.

The next thing you will need to do in order to diagnose the problem you will need a screwdriver with a test light or a multimeter tool. If the switch doesn’t react then the problem lies in the switch itself, the fuse, or the wiring. You need to check these things specifically.

If the switch reacts and is working, then the problem is in the window regulator motor or in the window regulator cable. You will need to test the motor with a multimeter as well. And if everything is fine with the switch and wiring, probably the motor is dead and has to be replaced.

Else, if there is a cable, you should also see the condition of the cable and see if the cable is mangled up. In this case, you will need a completely new regulator. So, how you can fix the window won’t roll up? Let’s see in the next chapter.

How To Fix Window Won’t Roll Up?

So, how to fix the window won’t roll up problem? Well, the solution for this problem often depends on the reason why the window won’t roll up.

If it’s the fuse, then you have to replace the fuse. If the wiring is bad then you will need to rewire the car or fix the wire that has an obstruction, if it’s a switch then you will have to replace the specific switch. This component is plug-and-play. You remove the old one and you plug in the new one.

Also, there could be the motor that is causing the issue and in these cases sometimes you will be able to replace the motor itself while in others you will need to replace the whole window regulator. This can be a laborious process and it is not ideal for beginners. But if you want to try you can.

Cost To Fix The Problem?

So, what is the cost to fix the problem with the window won’t roll up? Well, that really depends on the problem itself.

The cost usually ranges between $1 and $350. The cheapest thing to fix is a blown fuse which is under a dollar. Then there are more expensive fixes like the switch which can cost about $50 or less if you find one from a junkyard.

Window Won't Roll Up

Then there are the more expensive repairs like the window regulator which can cost up to $350 and the motor if you can purchase it alone can cost about $100 to $150. Overall, these are the costs for the parts. The labor is extra as you know. You can expect to pay up to $300 only for the labor. So, try to get the best deal when it comes to these repairs of window won’t roll up problem.

Conclusion To Window Won’t Roll Up

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the window won’t roll up problem. First, we learned what is this problem and how it is represented. Then we covered the different types of window regulators.

Then we discussed the causes of why the window won’t roll up. As we noted, there are a few of them, one is the regulator itself, the regulator motor, bad fuse, bad wiring, and bad regulator switch.

Lastly, we covered how to diagnose and how to address this problem quickly and effectively.

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