How to Replace a Broken Car Window

February 21, 2012

An overview of the parts of a power window, troubleshooting procedures, and the best way to remove and replace a broken car window.

Broken Car Window

Whether your broken car window is the result of corroded parts, loose weather stripping, an accident, or an act of vandalism, it is at best, inconvenient. Knowledge about the parts of your car and a clear head for following a few problem-solving steps will make this difficult situation easier to handle.

Know the Parts of Your Car

You can save time in a pinch by learning about the parts of your window before a problem occurs. The regulator is a motorized part that makes the window go up and down. It works together with spinning gears, and both pieces are wired to the switch you use to control the window. The window glass is raised and lowered on tracks. Rubber material called weather stripping protects the inside of your car from moisture or precipitation.

Troubleshoot Your Broken Window

Check the fuses first. Look for them under the dash, to the left of the steering wheel. A blown fuse will have a broken metallic strip in the center.

If that does not help, try pushing the window switch on and off quickly. See if the panes move slightly. If so, the connections in the button are sticking because they need cleaning. Use rubbing alcohol for this job.

Next, take a look at the wiring near the fuse box. Tighten any loose connections. Watch the malfunctioning window, and when it moves, you will know which connection to tighten.

Lastly, check the window regulator (motor) and tighten loose connections. The motor might need replacing.

Remove a Broken Car Window

Disconnect the battery cables. Remove the power switch with a trim stick. Unplug the connector. Take out all the screws from the panel holding the switch in place. Grasp the trim panel and pull it away from the door. Take apart any wire connections behind it. Peel off the plastic water shield.

Before you remove the glass, disconnect anything else in the door, such as speakers. Get any other objects out of the way of the pane. Remove the weatherstripping. Take apart panels in the corners of the window. Unhinge the bolts holding the glass and the regulator together. Then lift the pane up and out of the door frame. Be careful if the glass is cracked, chipped, or damaged.

Install a New Car Window

Fold both sides of the regulator together, then slide it up through the door. Unfold it and twist it into place. If the motor is not yet installed, wiggle it into the wire housing, fasten it and tighten the bolts.

Hold the window pane above the opening and slide it slowly into the door. Bolt it into place within the window regulator. Then reassemble the door. Start with the speakers, water shield, trim panel, and weather strip.

Now that you know a little more about your car window, you will be ready in case you need to do some unexpected repairs. Remember, you must call a mechanic if you are concerned for your safety, or if you think you are risking further damage to your car.

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