Window Regulators and Motors Explained

So you brought your vehicle in for a window that just wont budge. You are told that its is the regulator, motor, or both. But how does the mechanism work as a whole? This article will explain that and provide you insight and knowledge about both regulators and motors. Manual Regulators The first type of regulator is a manual regulator. As you see in the picture, it is the blue highlighted mechanism. It has a rod that protrudes about an inch from the door that your cranking handle attaches to. The reason these can fail is due to the cable binding or the brackets that hold the window breaking. However, it is uncommon for these to go bad. Picture Courtesy of “AGThompsonFamily” Cable-Style Power Regulators The second type is the electric/motorized cable regulator, found in many of today’s cars. They are used more often now-a-days because of their simplicity and size, as they will fit in even the smallest of doors. The picture below is a basic single-armed regulator, and the motor built into it. Common failures can be attributed to the motors weakening over time, or the cable binding as well. The whole regulator needs to be replaced if the cable is ruined, however it can sometimes be salvageable. Picture courtesy of “AGCOAuto” Scissor-Style Power Regulators The last type is the Scissor-style power regulator. Unlike the cable style, this does not use any cable, but instead has a pivot in the middle, and two arms crossed like an “X” shape. The window mounts on the top of the “X” points and the motor will move the window up and down via gears. With these, the common failures are the motor as well, and the gears themselves sometimes becoming flat since they can be made of plastic per different manufacturers. Picture courtesy of “Dedona” When one of these power window motors goes bad, they often make a sort of clicking or low pitched hum noise. This would indicate a weak motor. If there is full motor activation sound, and you can hear the regulator moving then the window can be off of the track, or the gears could be eaten away. It is always good to get a professional opinion. When getting these replaced, a good shop will provide a regulator, and grease all of the gears. During installation the motors should be tested with positive and negative 12 volt connections to verify quality. Now you know about regulators and motors. Stay educated and get the most from your money!