Window regulator ultimate guide

Window Regulator: The Ultimate Guide

Chapter 1: What is a Window Regulator? What does a Window Regulator do?

a window regulator

The window regulator is a standard car part. Every motor vehicle has it, from the budget type to the luxury model. But the regulator assembly is always hidden from view and its operation difficult to understand. This chapter familiarizes you with how a window regulator works, explains the different window regulator types, and the advantages of each. We will also be looking at the cost of a new window regulator and the reasons behind he different prices. To set us off, here is what the window regular refers to.

What is a Window Regulator in a Car?

A window regulator is the component that opens and closes the window of a car. It forms part of the window assembly that also includes the window glass and its track or tracks. The window regulator mechanism is usually mounted in the internal section of a car door, behind the door panel. It attaches to door frame by means of bolts and screws, with openings to allow its insertion and removal.

The car window regulator has to support a lot of weight when moving the glass. To make it robust, the lifting mechanism is mostly composed of steel parts. The assembly also contains moving joints. To reduce friction, these are often made from brass. Plastic is also a common material for the window regulator components.

The window regulators in the market are specified by the window where they are installed. There is the front and rear window regulator, for example. A front window regulator bears more weight (larger glass) and is often designed to slide on two tracks.

There is also the driver side and passenger window regulator. Of the two, the driver side window regulator suffers more abuse. It’s usually the most frequently used and often the first to fail and require replacing. Next, let us see the components that make the window regulator assembly.

scissor type window regulator showing the different parts

Window Regulator Parts

Window regulators come in different construction and working mechanisms. However, the general layout does not change much. The assembly consists of these main parts: drive mechanism, lifting mechanism, and the window bracket. These are explained next. Before that, check out this window parts diagram where the mentioned components are indicated.

Drive Mechanism- this part provides the effort to move the glass from its position. It generally consists of a set of gears and source of power, which is either a hand-operated crank or a small 12V DC motor. The window regulator motor is mostly specified by speed and current ratings. Another equally important window regulator specification is torque, which determines its ability to operate the lifting part of the assembly.

Lifting Mechanism- the lifting mechanism is the part that raises and lowers the window. It’s usually set of arms and slider or cables and rollers. Newer powered windows mostly use cables. A window regulator cable directly lifts and lowers the glass. It has its flaws when compared to the arms and gear assembly, as you will find out in the next section.

Window Bracket- the window rests on this part. As the lifting mechanism raises or lowers the glass, the bracket moves up with it and along a track as shown in this animation video. The window regulator bracket must hold the glass firmly, usually using plastic clips. These often break down with age.

Broken window regulator clips are the main reason for the glass falling into the space behind the door panel. You can replace them, though, and extend the lifespan of the rest of the regulator assembly. Next is a look at how a window regulator and motor differ.

Widow Regulator Vs. Motor

The window regulator and motor are often confused as being one component. However, they are not. The window regulator refers to the mechanism that contains the parts to lift the window of a motor vehicle. On the other hand, a window regulator motor is the component that powers the lifting mechanism of an electric window.

The window motor can be an independent part or come integrated to the regulator assembly. When separate, it offers the advantage of replacing just the motor instead of entire window regulator assembly. That helps to lower cost, especially in cases where only the motor is damaged.

In summary, a window regulator is the lifting mechanism of a car window, while the window regulator motor is part that causes it to mover. Both terms are used for power windows or what are often called electric car windows.

a window regulator moves the window up and down

What does a Window Regulator do?

A car window regulator provides the force to raise or low a car window. It converts the rotary motion of a crank or motor into linear movement. This offers many benefits. It ensures you can easily open and close your car windows at will, depending on the situation of the time. This control of the car windows provides comfort and convenience. Among the functions of a car window regulators are:

  • To protect the car interior from weather elements such as wind, rain, and dust
  • Secure the vehicle interior by keeping intruders away
  • Ensure comfort during weather extremes by keeping the windows open during hot weather and closed in cold conditions
  • Allow safe exist during emergencies by providing a way to lower the window glass

How does a window regulator work to enable all these things?

The operating principle depends on the type window regulator. A power window regulator, for example, uses a different actuator than that of the hand operated or manual types. The mechanics involved are also different. Let us look at how a window regulator works for both the manual and electric type.

  • In a manual window regulator, rotating a handle moves the glass up or down. The handle is connected to a geared mechanism. When rotated, the gears operate the lifting assembly. These types of window regulators also often use a spring to reduce the force required to close the window as well as prevent the glass plunging due gravity. The spring winds up when you lower the window and unwinds when raising it.
  • A power window regulator consists of a switch or switches, electric motor, and lifting mechanism. More often, it also incorporates sensors and electronic control unit, ECU. When you press the power window regulator switch, the electronic system is activated. The motor becomes energized and starts to rotate, powering the lifting mechanism.

In a manual window regulator mechanism, you determine how far the window opens or closes. The same case happens in some power window regulator types where you have to hold down a button. In others, an ECU controls the number of revolutions made by the motor and regulates the opening and closing of the window automatically.

Recent electric widow regulator use an important technology called anti-pinch. The technology prevents accidents by stopping the window’s movement when there’s an obstacle in its way. Instead of moving on, the window stops and retracts. This short video shows the pinch protection technology in action.

power window regulator (cable type)

Window Regulator Types

Window regulators are grouped into 4 main categories according to how they are operated and based on the lifting mechanism. They are; power and manual window regulators and the cable and scissor type window regulators. Let’s see what each entails.

  • Mechanical or Manual Window Regulator

A manual window regulators use a hand crank to operate the lifting assembly. The crank is usually mounted on the door and features a short handle. These window regulator types are commonly used in older car models or lower end types.

The main advantage of a manual window regulator is the simple design and operation, which makes it easy to maintain or service. They are also cheaper and easier to replace. On the other hand, the manual window regulator requires effort to operate which means less comfort and convenience.

  • Electric or Power Window Regulator

The power window regulator uses an electric motor to provide the lifting force and complex electronics to control its operation. The motor is often a part of the assembly, although some come with the motor as a separate component.

An electric window regulator is convenient and comfortable to use. You only need to press a button and the window opens or closes automatically. Furthermore, the mechanism allows for a central control point. Down sides include the many parts, which are also difficult to diagnose or service.

  • Cable Type Window Regulator

This window regulator type depends on a cabled system to lift and lower the window. The cable rolls on pulley or rollers which are mounted on the assembly. Theses regulator types are mostly used in newer cars and often powered by an electric motor.

The cable type window regulator reduces the number of parts, leaving space to install other components inside the space behind the door panel. It’s also more lightweight than other types. But the cables tend to wear too quickly from use, sometimes even snapping unexpectedly, which is one of the major downsides of this regulator type.

  • Scissor Type Window Regulator

The scissor type car window regulator consists of an assembly that looks like a pair of scissors. Generally, two metal pieces cross one another on a pivoted point in the middle. The arms slide on wheels as the mechanism opens and closes to lift or lower the window.

Scissor type window regulators offer several benefits. One of them is the robust metal components which do not break easily. However, they take up as lot of space when compared to the cable type. Although they are an earlier technology, powered scissor type regulators are popular across many vehicles today.

Cost of Window Regulator

The window regulators for sale on the auto parts market cost different amounts. Prices range from $50 to $600 for most regulators. Window regulators for luxury cars go for as high as $1000, usually depending on the type of vehicle. Apart from car type, several other factors determine the window regulator for a car cost.

The assembly can be simple or complex, small or large, and many other differences such as parts and working mechanism. The amount a front driver side window regulator, for example will be different from that of a rear window. You will also find that powered and manual regulators cost different amounts.

Other factors that influence car window regulator price include brand and if the regulator is OEM or aftermarket. Aftermarket options are cheaper, with a good number costing less than $100, while the price of an OEM model can be as high as a thousand dollars.


A window regulator, whether manual or electric, performs important functions in your car. To enjoy these benefits, the regulator must function correctly. However, that does not always happen. The moving or electronic components of the device tend to fail over time. In the next part if the guide, you will learn about window regulator problems and how to know when they happen.

Chapter 2: Bad Window Regulator Symptoms and Some Maintenance Tips

broken passenger side window regulator

Bad window regulator symptoms can mean many things. It could be a broken window regulator, weak window motor, or even power problems among other issues. Whether manual or electric, a window regulator is tasked with opening and closing your car window. If it fails, you cannot control the window anymore. This chapter will help you to know when you have a window regulator problem, the reason behind it, and what to do to correct it.

Before highlighting the symptoms, let us see the reasons for window regulator faults or, in other words, why your car window stopped working. A manual or power window won’t work if any of the following happens.

  • A gear or clip breaks, a slide or strip cracks, or if a cable snaps
  • The lifting mechanism jams due to rust, debris, freezing temperatures, or bending
  • The hand crank breaks or gets damaged in any other way
  • You have a bad window motor as a result of worn or burned parts
  • Your car window switch is not working
  • The window fuse has blown, the control module is faulty, or if you have a bad relay
  • The wiring is faulty leading to a weak power window or one that does not work at all

Now that we have seen why a window regulator fails, let us look at how to tell if a window regulator is bad. These include symptoms for both manual and powered versions of the device.

a failing window regulator shows different signs

Common Bad Window Regulator Symptoms

When your window regulator stops working correctly, you will easily know. The following are some of the things you will notice happen, depending on whether you have a manual or power window.

1. One Electric Window Not Working

If one power window doesn’t work, the reason could be a bad switch, faulty motor, or bad wiring. It means the drive mechanism is not receiving sufficient power or there’s no power at all. The window then does not move even when you press the button to raise or lower the glass.

The problem of one power window not working is fixable by replacing the faulty switch or broken wires. If the wire harness is loose, you only need to re-install it. You can also replace a bad window regulator motor, but only if it’s not part of the regulator. If built into the mechanism, you can only replace the entire assembly.

2. Manual or Power Window Sticking

This symptom indicates broken or bent parts such as gears, tracks/guides, cables, and arms. A manual or power window sticking going up and down is also a sign of debris in the mechanism or lost lubrication. If you live in cold climates, it could be that the window regulator assembly is frozen. A power window sticking also leads to other symptoms. You many notice that the window regulator motor gets hot.

Only a few window regulator parts are replaceable to correct the problem of a sticking window. These include cables, clips, and, at times, a gear. Debris or ice that’s causing the mechanism to jam can also be removed. In most cases, you need to replace the window regulator, especially if too many parts are damaged or if there are bent components.

3. Power Window Grinding Noise

A car window grinding noise indicates a problem with the mechanism. It’s either jammed due to rust and debris or having broken parts such as gears, plastic components, and cables. Most of the time, you will notice that the window won’t roll but the motor is running or that the glass moves a little before jamming.

Most window regulator parts are not replaceable. When broken, you have to change the entire regulator assembly. You should also never let a sticking power window run for any length of time. Doing so could overload the motor and cause it to burn out.

5. All Power Windows Will Not Work

The reason is often a blown fuse, shorted circuit, faulty control module or bad cables. These issues cut off power to all windows, resulting in their failure. The windows will not budge when you depress the switches to open them, even from the master controls.

You can replace a blown fuse to restore power to the window regulator motor. If the problem is in the wiring, tracing the entire circuit that delivers power to the windows can help you identify (and correct) the malfunction. A word of caution: power problems can lead to damage to the window regulator motor or even other components. Only a professional should attempt to fix them.

6. Power Window Changing Speed

A slow or weak power window is often caused by lack of enough lubrication, debris buildup, or bent window regulator parts. A weak battery or bad wiring will also cause power windows to slow down. In some cases, a faulty control module leads to a high or low window speed.

Lubricating the window regulator or removing debris from the moving parts can help correct the problem. Fixing power issues, too, such as replacing a broken window regulator cable. If the speed change is caused by broken or bent components, replace the entire mechanism.

testing a window motor for voltage

How to Test a Window Motor

Many cars today use power windows. When a powder window will not work, you want to know the condition of the motor. That’s because most electric window problems can be traced to a worn or burnt out motor. You can test window motor failure using several methods. One of the easiest (and most accurate), is the voltage test using a voltmeter or multimeter.

Here is how to test a power window motor with multimeter

  • To gain access to the motor connector, remove the door panel by taking out screws and pressure clips. Some panels are difficult to remove than others, and the procedure you use will depends on your particular car
  • Disconnect the wire connector that goes to the motor
  • Set the multimeter to the volt scale
  • Connect the multimeter probes to the window motor connector
  • Press the window switch down and observe the readings. It should indicate 12V
  • Press the up switch and again observe the multimeter. It should read -12V to indicate a change of polarity

If the multimeter does not read any voltage, the problem is elsewhere. If it does, the motor is likely damaged and not working. Consider replacing it if it’s the separable type. If not, you need to install a new window regulator.

Window Regulator Maintenance Tips

Window regulators can be costly car parts. You want them to last a long time and save you replacement costs. Here are tips to help you protect your car window regulator from damage.

1. Lubricate moving parts and window tracks or runs to prevent cases of manual or electric window sticking unexpectedly. Use silicone grease spray, which is easily available from auto part shops.

2. Service sticky switches as soon as you notice them not clicking as expected. Neglecting them could lead to window motor-and regulator damage.

3. Routinely remove debris such as leaves and pebbles from the window before they reach the window regulator mechanism or guide tracks and causing them to jam.

4. Avoid opening a window regulator that is frozen in ice. You could cause the glass to break free or strain the motor and cause it to burn out.

5. Do not force a jammed manual or electric window to open or close. You could break the window regulator parts or the glass itself.

6. Attend to a window motor or regulator problem as soon as it occurs before it leads to the entire assembly breaking down and requiring to be replaced.


A window regulator will eventually fail but how soon that happens depends on the steps that you take to prevent damage. When it fails, you want to know the symptoms. The information in this chapter should help you tell when your car window goes bad, what it means, and the type of damage. Next, you will learn about the available repair options when you have a window regulator problem.

Chapter 3: How to Repair a Window Regulator

broken window regulator removed for repair

Window regulator repair corrects problems without having to replace the entire assembly. This chapter is meant to help you identify car window problems that you can correct, know how to fix a broken window regulator, and learn the benefits of repair. With the information, you will be able to choose the right option when your car window fails. When on a budget, too, and you have more than one window regulator broken.

If you are torn between repair and replacement, let’s begin by looking at the reasons why one would choose to fix a window regulator.

  • Car window regulator repair saves you money since it’s cheaper than replacing the entire device.
  • Sometimes, only a few (and replaceable) parts are damaged.
  • Repairing window regulator mechanisms also restores their function and prolongs their lifespan.
  • In most cases, power window regulator repair helps to identify other issues such as electrical problems due to wiring failure or weak battery. In such instances, you do not need a new regulator mechanism.

Fixing a broken window regulator has its downsides. It only provides a temporary solution, and the mechanism may fail soon after. Depending on the extent of damage, the cost of repair may even be close to that of replacement. Assessing your car window regulator can help you to decide between repair and replacing, as you will find out next.

car door with the panel removed to access the regulator mechanism

How to Repair a Window Regulator

Window regulator repair is a fairly simple task, especially if you have manual windows. Power windows contain many electrical components. These require specialized tools to diagnose and may, at times, prove a challenge to service. However, you can still fix a power window and motor assembly easily if you have an idea of how to.

Here, we show you how to repair manual window regulator mechanisms as well as the powered types. But before that, a list of the problems that can be fixed. They are;

  • Power window switch not working
  • Power window not working due to a blown fuse or relay
  • Power window works intermittently
  • If a power window doesn’t work as a result of burnt or worn motor
  • Manual or electric windows sticking due to a weak motor or debris in the slides and tracks.
  • Window motor failing because of broken pulleys or bad cable

Next, let’s look at the window regulator repair process for the fixable components. You will need the following.

Screwdrivers to pry open the switch and remove screws

A wrench and ratchet set to remove and replace bolts (you may also need a cordless drill to take out rivets)

A digital multimeter (or voltmeter) to test window motor and switch connectors

Silicone spray grease to lubricate the window regulator mechanism

Window regulator repair kit or the part(s) to be replaced

no power to the window switch means a failed window

Step 1 Check and Fix the Window Regulator Switch

  • Start by removing and testing the switch. This part controls the power window motor operation. If it breaks down, the window fails. Many window switches come out without removing the panel. You only need to pry them out with a flat and blunt tool such as screwdriver.
  • After you have removed the switch, test it for voltage by connecting a voltmeter or multimeter. If there is no power, the problem is not the switch but the wiring that distributes power through it to the motor. Check the window regulator fuse, if it’s blown. Check, also, the relay, if it’s working.
  • If there is voltage at the switch but the motor won’t spin, the problem could be the switch, the motor, or the wiring between the two parts. Next, use jumper wires to bypass the switch and power the motor directly. If the motor spins, the switch is damaged. Replace it.

window regulator motor detached from regulator mechanism

Step 2 Testing and Repairing the Motor

  • If the switch is working but motor does not activate, proceed to test it. To access the motor, remove the trim panel by drilling the holding rivets or loosening screws. Panels attach to the door from in different ways. Consult the owner manual for yours.
  • Next, remove the moisture barrier and disconnect the wire harnesses. Use the same procedure as that of testing the switch and press the switch to open and close the window. If both the switch and motor are receiving voltage, the motor should be working. If it doesn’t, it could be worn or burned out.
  • Window regulator motor repair entails replacing a bad motor. However, that is only if the motor is not part of the regulator mechanism. Some people even rebuild the motor by replacing bad parts. These include worn window regulator motor brushes, commutators, and other replaceable components.

Step 3 Checking Window Regulator Mechanism

window regulator removed for inspection

  • If the motor and switch are working fine but the lifting mechanism isn’t, you need to fix it. Start by removing bolts to take out the window regulator. To prevent the glass from falling, hold it up using painter’s tape or window holder suction cups.
  • Next, check the mechanism for rust that may be jamming the moving parts. Inspect, also, for broken gears, pulleys/rollers and cable. Other parts to look out for include sliders, if they are clogged by dirt and debris, as well as window tracks or guides.
  • Window regulator cable repair involves replacing a frayed or snapped cable. Cable repair goes alongside fixing broken rollers or pulleys, since the two work together. You may also need to change some clips. These often come bundled with the other parts in the window regulator repair kit depending on the kit manufacturer.
  • Once you have replaced the replaceable parts, clean the mechanism to remove dirt buildup. Apply lubrication where appropriate as shown in this DIY video. Ensure everything is intact then replace the assembly using the reverse of the removal procedure. Test your repaired window regulator to confirm its operation.

Window Regulator Repair Cost

How much is it to fix a window regulator? The cost to cost to repair a car window regulator depends on whether you choose to carry out the repair yourself or take your car to a mechanic. It also depends on you type of car and type of parts that you end up replacing.

At a window regulator repair shop, the cost ranges from $50 to about $200 for labor charges. Adding the cost of parts that may need replacing, the total amount comes to $70 for the simplest job to around $150 or more. If you fix the device yourself, you could lower the cost to only the repair kit price.

Window regulator repair kit manufacturers include different parts in the package, which makes the prices to vary. The kit costs as less as $10 to around $40. Before purchasing the repair kit, confirm the parts it comes with. Some are component and regulator specific. A window regulator cable repair kit, for example, includes parts to change a bad cable.

You could also choose to buy individual window regulator parts such as cables, rollers, clips, or a gear where applicable. However, these are more costly when compared to a repair kit and you may end up spending more.

Window Regulator Repair Tips

If you are not familiar with window regulator repair, you many find yourself making common mistakes that many DIYers do. Ensure everything goes on well by following these tips.

  • Always replace a blown window fuse with one whose amp rating matches. Never use a higher or lower amp fuse or try to bypass the blown fuse
  • Sometimes, the wiring is damaged and the problem may not be the window regulator. Trace the wires and inspect them for looseness or breakage
  • When removing the window regulator switch, avoid using a sharp object to avoid damaging the exterior
  • Avoid forcing the window panel out to prevent damage. Consult your manual to see how it attaches
  • If too many parts are damaged, replace the window regulator


Fixing a window regulator instead of replacing it saves you on the cost to buy a new one. Window regulator repair also helps you to spot other problems in the car window system. This prevents cases where you have a new window regulator not working, or one that fails too soon. However, the repair option has its limits. You can only fix a bad window regulator if it’s fixable. If excessively worn or broken, you can only change it. In the next and last section, you will learn how to replace a window regulator correctly.

Chapter 4: Window Regulator Replacement

Replacing window regulator assembly

Knowing how to replace a window regulator is one of the skills needed to take care of your car. Window regulators also cost a lot of money to change and a DIY approach can save you a lot of money. This section explains how to replace a car window regulator, its motor and cable in easy steps. Other things you will learn about include when to choose window regulator replacement over repair and the various costs involved.

Before we can look at the replacement process itself, here are the reasons to replace window regulator or motor assemblies. Consider changing your car window or motor if you notice any of the following.

  • Irreplaceable parts such as arms, gears, or slides, and tracks are damaged
  • The mechanism is bent and causing the window to open or close crooked
  • The window regulator assembly is excessively rusted and jamming
  • The window regulator motor is damaged but built to the mechanism and cannot be replaced individually

How to Replace a Window Regulator

Window regulators regulator replacement is a straightforward process. However, the exact replacement steps depend on whether you have a manual or power window. The power window regulator installation procedure, for example, requires the removal of motor, switch, and connectors. But regardless of the type of window, you want to follow the right replacement steps. Therefore, we will look at how to replace a window regulator when you have a manual window as well as if it’s the powered type.

Here is what you will need:

Socket wrench


Needle nose pliers

Painters tape

Lubricant (silicone grease)

Your new window regulator

If rivets are used as fasteners, have with you a small cordless drill, several rivets, a rivet gun.

Window Regulator Removal

A window regulator is either manual or powered. There will be a difference in the steps to remove either of them. Let’s look at how to take out both, starting with manual window regulator.

how to remove window regulator assembly

How to Remove a Manual Window Regulator

  • Disconnect the battery. Although the window regulator is manual, there’s usually wires inside the door where you will be installing your new assembly
  • Take out the window crank cover, loosen the screw, and pull the handle out
  • Remove the door panel screws and pry it out
  • Peel off the weather barrier sheet
  • Remove the window bolts or clips to unfasten the glass from regulator
  • Raise the glass and secure it with tape
  • Remove the window regulator retainer bolts or rivets and slide the assembly from its track.
  • Pull out the window regulator mechanism

How to Remove a Power Window Regulator

  • Start by disconnecting the battery negative cable
  • Use a screw driver to remove the window regulator switch. Disconnect the electrical connector and place the switch in a safe place
  • Pry out any other fitting from the door panel
  • Remove the door panel by locating and loosening the fasteners and sliding it out
  • Peel off the moisture barrier and unplug the motor’s electric connector
  • Locate and remove the bolts that attach the regulator assembly to the window
  • Raise and tape the window to the top of the door to prevent it from falling when you remove the regulator
  • Find the fasteners that hold the window regulator and motor in place. Some regulators have the motor separate and others built into the mechanism
  • Pull out the window regulator and motor assembly

Window Regulator Installation

Just like the removal process, steps on how to install car window regulator is simple and easy to understand. You only need to ensure you have the correct mechanism for the specific side of the car window. Again, we will start with manual window regulator installation instructions.

new windows regulator ready to be installed

How to Install a Manual Window Regulator

  • Compare the new and old regulator confirm you have the right model then grease the moving parts before starting installation
  • Push the regulator assembly into the door and position it on the window track
  • Remove the tape holding the window and lower the glass onto regulator mechanism.
  • Replace the fasteners that secure the window to the regulator
  • Use the crank to raise the window
  • Remove the crank and bolt up the window regulator to the door frame
  • Re-insert the crank and test the window to see if it’s working
  • Remove the crank and replace the moisture barrier, door panel and any other part that you had taken out. Insert the crank

How to Install a Power Window Regulator

  • Match the new regulator with the old one to ensure they are similar and apply lubricant to the moving parts
  • Next, connect the motor to the new window regulator
  • Slide the window regulator and motor assembly into place behind the door panel
  • Replace the fasteners for both motor and regulator
  • Lower the glass and replace the bolts that hold it and the regulator together
  • Re-install the moisture barrier using tape
  • Plug back the electrical connectors and replace the door panel
  • Place back the window regulator switch and its electrical connections
  • Remove the tape that you had placed to secure the window
  • Reconnect the negative battery cable that you and earlier removed
  • Finish the window regulator installation process by testing it to see if it works

Window regulators usually require resting after replacing as explained here. That’s because the control module has to re-learn the process to open and close the window.

How to Replace Window Regulator Motor

In some cases, only the window regulator motor is bad and needing to be replaced. As already indicated earlier, replacing window motor is common when the regulator and motor are separate parts. If that’s the case, here is how to replace it.

window regulator motor replacement in a cable type regulator

  • Disconnect the battery
  • Remove the window regulator switch, door panel, and moisture barrier to gain access to the motor and regulator
  • Unplug the motor’s electric connectors
  • Locate and remove the bolts that secure the glass to the regulator mechanism. Raise the window and hold it up using tape
  • Remove the monitor and regulator assembly bolts
  • Slide the window regulator and motor through the opening on the door
  • Detach the old motor from the regulator and connect the new motor
  • Slide the regulator and motor assembly back into the door and replace everything that you had removed. Use the reverse of the removal procedure.

How to Replace Window Regulator Cable

The window cable is another part that car owners find themselves having to replace. If you have on that just broke or is frayed, you need to change it. Replacing a window cable requires patience as it’s one of the mechanism’s most difficult parts to service.

a snapped or frayed window regulator cable needs replacing

Among the things needed to replace window regulator cable include the following.

Window regulator cable repair kit

Tools to remove door panels and door panel fittings

Grease to lubricate the window regulator assembly.

Here are the steps to put cable back on window regulator mechanisms of most models of the device.

  • Remove the door panel and its fittings
  • Peel out the weather sheet gently to avoid damaging it
  • Remove the screws that fix the window to the regulator and tape the glass to the top of the door
  • Take out the regulator mechanism
  • Removed the frayed, broken, or tangled cable
  • Attach one end of the new cable to the cable drum and wind it around the bottom of the regulator mechanism
  • Wind the cable up in the drum until it fills the grooves then loop it around the other parts keeping it taut
  • Finally, use the adjustable pulley to tension the wound cable to the appropriate level of tightness
  • Replace the regulator and re-attach the glass
  • Test the window to see if it’s working. If it isn’t, you might need re-loop and re-tighten the cable. If it does, replace everything else

Window Regulator Replacement Cost

How much does a window regulator cost to replace? You want to know that before shopping for your new regulator or taking your car to a repair shop. The car window regulator replacement cost varies across different vehicles models. It also varies by the type of regulator or window.

A front or driver window regulator replacement, for example, will cost a different amount from that of changing a rear or passenger window. The cost to replace powder window motor and regulator is also different from the amount when you only have one of the components to replace.

That said the cost to replace window regulator assemblies ranges from $150 to $400 in most vehicle types. Here is a breakdown of the estimated replacement prices for select car models.Toyota Tundra $150- $250, Honda pilot $150- $250, and Jeep Grand Cherokee $175- $300, and BMW E90 $150-$300.

The prices quoted here may vary depending on the labor charges in your locality as well as the cost of parts in your region. Having said that, you can save on the cost to replace window regulator or motor by going the DIY way.


Window regulator replacement is something that you cannot avoid. Your car windows, whether manual or electric, are bound to break down at one time or another. When that time comes, you want to know what to do. Replacing your car windows yourself saves you a lot of money, especially when you have several of the regulators broken. Window regulators are also among the most simple to replace, as outlined in this chapter. With the right tools and an idea of what to do, the task should only take you less than 2 hours.

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