Automotive expert Brad Bergholdt answers reader's car questions. Today's topic: how to fix a stuck power window.
Q: The passenger-side power window on my pickup has stopped working. What can I do to fix this on the cheap, or at least get the window closed?
A: There are several possible causes for this problem; a faulty window motor, a binding window mechanism, or a wiring or switch fault. Assuming the window previously worked with either the driver’s or passenger’s switch and the fault suddenly appeared, it’s unlikely both switches failed simultaneously.
Try holding either switch in the up position while the door is slowly opened and closed. It’s possible a wire is broken within the rubber boot near the door hinges. With luck, you may get one last gasp from the circuit.
Open either door, then observe the brightness of the dome light as you attempt to raise the window. If the light noticeably dims, this means the window motor is trying to work, and a stuck mechanism may be the cause. If the dome light doesn’t change intensity, the motor is electrically inactive.
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I’d next try holding the passenger-side switch in the up position while striking the door trim panel briskly around the armrest. A worn-out motor’s brushes can sometimes be jarred into working briefly.
If none of the above helps, you’ll have to remove the door panel.
A simple test light’s leads can be inserted into the motor’s connector to check for power as either switch is depressed. If the tester fails to light, there’s a fault in the circuit. In this case you could use jumper wires to deliver power and ground directly to the motor to get the window closed (reverse the leads to change motor direction). Be sure to unplug the motor from the wiring connector when doing this).
If the test light illuminates, the motor or mechanism is faulty. A recycled (wrecking yard) part may provide an economical solution.
E-mail Brad Bergholdt at email@example.com