1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Window Motor / Regulator Assembly

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Window Motor / Regulator Assembly

window motor

Power windows have been a luxury for car owners since they debuted in the mid 1970s. Back in the "old days" windows were cranked up manually, and more often than not, the handles would break, leading to driving to the dealer and having them replaced. Today, nearly 95 percent of cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in the United States are equipped with power windows, making them normal as opposed to luxury upgrades. Just like any other mechanical or electrical part, sometimes they can wear or break entirely. One of the most common components of the power window assembly that breaks is the window motor/regulator assembly.

The window regulator assembly or motor is responsible for lowering and raising windows when the power window button is engaged. Many of today's popular cars, trucks, and SUVs have a combined motor and regulator assembly that needs to be replaced together if one of the components is not functioning correctly.

However, there are a few warning signs that the components inside the window motor/regulator assembly are beginning to wear out. Noted below are a few of these common symptoms that you should be aware of so you can contact a mechanic and have the window motor/regulator assembly replaced before it causes additional damage.

1. It takes multiple presses to roll the window up or down

Under normal operation, the window is supposed to roll up or down when you press the button. Some vehicles have an automatic rolling function when the button is depressed or pulled up that will automatically activate the window motor/regulator assembly. However, if it takes a few presses of the window button in order to activate the window motor, it's a good indication that there is a problem with the motor assembly. It also might be an issue with the switch itself, which is why you should contact an experienced and local ASE certified mechanic to inspect this problem before you assume it's the window motor/regulator assembly that needs to be replaced.

In some cases it could simply be debris that is trapped under the switch that is causing the problem.

2. Window speed is slower or faster than usual

If you press the window button and notice that the window is rolling up slower or faster than usual, it could also be an indication that a problem with the widow motor exists. Power window systems are fine-tuned for a precise speed, not only for convenience, but to ensure the window does not break as it's rolled up or down. When the motor begins to fail, or if there is an electrical problem with the regulator assembly, it can cause the window to roll up slower or faster than it should.

When you notice this warning sign, contact a mechanic so they can diagnose the precise problem with the power windows. It might be as simple as a shorted out wire or a fuse that is not supplying the correct power to the window motor.

3. Clicking from the door when the window rolls up or down

Another common symptom of a failing window motor is if you hear a clicking sound when you depress the power window button. In some cases this is caused by debris that is trapped in between the window and the motor assembly. This can cause the window motor/regulator assembly to work harder than it should, which can also cause the window to fall off the rails. If this problem is not fixed soon, the window can bind up and shatter if it's stuck and the window motor still engages.

4. Power window won't stay up or is crooked

When a power window assembly is working properly, the windows will lock into position and are held there thanks to the power window regulator assembly. If the window is rolled up but then falls down by itself, this is an indication of a broken regulator assembly. This also tends to happen when the window is crooked, and one side of the window falls down as it's rolled up or down. When this occurs, you'll have to replace the window motor/regulator assembly on most new cars, as they are contained together.

Power windows are a great convenience, but when something goes wrong with the components that operate them, it should be replaced by a professional mechanic as soon as possible to avoid additional damage or create a potentially unsafe driving situation.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...

Related questions

Q: Key will lock doors and trunk, but not unlock doors on 2004 BMW 645Ci

Hi there. The first thing I would do is try another key to see if you get the same results from the key control. If the separate key works, then it is the key that is the problem. If...

Q: How Does the Auto-Reverse Safety Feature Work on Car Windows?

Jam protection Jam protection is the term used by the manufacturers when discussing this safety feature. All power windows have a few parts in common. Window motor Window regulator Window switch Window glass Up relay Down relay ...

Q: Electrical problems with driver's side window and door locks.

It is likely that the drivers side window and lock switch has failed. If this module fails you can have numerous concerns related to the power windows and power locks. I would enlist the help of a mechanic to check...