5 Causes of Power Windows Not Working in a Car

(Updated on April 16, 2020)

The days of there being crank windows in automobiles are over. Virtually every new vehicle made today contains power windows. These are basically electric windows which require electrical power in order to function properly.

It is very convenient to operate a power window because you just need to push a button on your door to open and close it. You don’t need to go through the hassle of rotating a crank handle with your hand. This is just one example of how technology has made life so much more convenient for drivers.

However, there is one downside to having power windows. If there is ever an electrical problem with your vehicle or the electric motor inside the door fails, you will not be able to open and close your window until you get the problem fixed.

This would never happen with a crank window system because it uses manual human power to open and close it. But still, it is not that big a deal because it will not impair your driving abilities.

Meanwhile, you will need to take your vehicle to a local mechanic or dealership and have them restore the functionality of your power windows.

Common Causes of Power Windows Not Working

There are several reasons as to why your car’s windows might stop working. Here are five of the most common culprits you should be made aware of in case it happens to you.

1) Bad Window Regulators

The mechanism that allows a power window to move up and down is called a window regulator. Each car door with a power window has a window regulator to move it.

If the regulator goes bad, then pushing the up or down button will not make the window move. You will need to have the window regulator replaced.

2) Bad Window Motor

Every power window requires a window motor to supply the electrical energy. There is a gear at the end of the power window motor which connects with the window regulator.

When you press the up or down button on your door, it activates the window motor which then allows the window regulator to move the window. If you have a bad window motor, then the power to move the window will not exist.

3) Snow and Ice

If you live in a region with a lot of snowy and icy conditions, this could compromise the functionality of your power windows. The reason is that the glass of the windows will stick to their frames.

Regulators are not always strong enough to force a window away from its frame if they’re frozen together. Even if it can do that, the regulator will get worn out a lot faster.

4) Bad Power Window Switch

The switch on the side of your door may not be functioning properly. Each time you press down on the up or down part of the switch, it wears the switch out just a little bit more. If you press it too aggressively or use it on a regular basis, there may come a point when the switch stops working properly.

This would actually be the best-case scenario whenever your power windows are not moving. It is very cheap to replace a power window switch in comparison to fixing the other possible problems that it could have been.

Read also: 7 Main Parts of Airbag Systems

5) Wiring Issues

There are a series of wires which connect the window switch to the window motor. Although it is uncommon for wiring problems to exist in the door, it is still possible for it to happen.

For instance, if another component in your power window system was repaired recently, the mechanic may have inadvertently damaged or cut one of the wires. This will require you to take another trip back to the mechanic to have them fix it.

49 thoughts on “5 Causes of Power Windows Not Working in a Car”

  1. what might cause two windows to go out at once? Both of my passenger side power windows went out at the same time on my 96 honda passport. I checked the 30A fuse, and it seems to be good, so I’m working on getting the relay now

    • Well, figured out a still-working but toward end of life battery was causing power windows not to work. Even car people who put in new battery did not find this out (all ready to order expensive module). I’m not 100% positive, but ever since new battery (3 days ago), no window problem. Luck? or was it the battery?

      • The driver’s side window motor may have gone out, or there should be a short or bad connection in the switch. You could try taking the door card off and inspecting the window switch connector. I’ve had luck in the past just unplugging and plugging it back in when my passenger window was working intermittently.

      • I have your solution. Just hold the button on the up psi toon
        for 8 seconds and bingo it’s Fixed. Good luck it worked for me on 9. Seconds. Mel

  2. Both my diver and passenger windows quit working within a week of each other. There is power to the switch and it seems like they want to work.

  3. My drivers door + passenger doors windows won’t open ive been to garage but they say no electric problem or fuse problem.

    • If none of the windows work, it IS an electrical problem. My guess is the driver door window switch is bad. Since all the wiring for the other windows goes through it, it would cause them all to not work.

  4. I have 84Trans Am my driver window stop working, Now my passenger window has stop to. I’ve pulled both switches to check them. Had power in passenger side.

    • Hi Allison, check your fuses to make sure none are blown. Your owner’s manual should help you determine which fuse is used for the power windows. If this information cannot be found in the manual, you may try googling for “2008 buick enclave window fuse” to figure out which one. Good luck on your search.

  5. I have 96 Cadillac elorado window works put brand new switch in & it gets power but nothing happens when I push buttons?

  6. Front and rear windows are not working, checked fuse for front and fuse for rear windows are still good. Replaced driver side window switch with a new one but to no luck still not working. Please help, im out here now looking for ideas. Thanks.

    • If it were me, I would bust out a wiring diagram for the power windows and start working backwards from the switch, testing with a multimeter along the way.

  7. All of the buttons/controls on the drivers panel work properly except for the drivers window. I’m able to lock/unlock all doors/ windows on the drivers panel except for the driver window. Wondering what could be wrong?

    • The motor in the window regulator may have burned out. This can happen on older cars when the tracks aren’t lubricated, because the motor has to work harder to move the window. You’ll notice the window slow down over time, and this is an indicator the tracks may need some lubrication.

      • 2004 Toyota Highlander. Passenger front and rear windows roll down OK. But roll up slowly and stop. Then they have to “recharge” or I wait about 5 minutes then they roll up some more, etc… Does this sound like it is the motors in Therese two doors?

      • Have you tried lubricating the rails? Sometimes windows get gummed up after a lot of years and the motors have a hard time overcoming this resistance.

  8. In my 2006 Honda accord LX.
    Very rarely all 4 windows are working but mostly not working.
    And also same problem with the radio also.( it continuously working but both the speakers works randomly)

    • Do they all stop working at the same time? Sounds like a short in the electrical system. Grab a wiring diagram and find a common circuit between the radio and the windows. Next, grab a multimeter and start testing for continuity there.

      • I have a Citroen Xsara Picasso and overnight both rear windows stopped working. Fuse is OK but changed it anyway. When I press the buttons there’s no noise of motor, just dead.

  9. Hi! I just bought a 2013 Dodge Dart and the rear driver’s side window does not work. I’ve tried the switch on the rear door and the master switch on the driver’s door. I do not hear any type of noise. Would that mean it’s the motor and/or regulator?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Check to make sure the switch is working before replacing the motor. Sometimes these will actually come unplugged or start to act up with age.

  10. I have corsa c problem is when take out fuse and put back in windows start working and after some time i start hearing clicking noise when i press brakes and windows doesn’t work anymore except when i press a brake and button to roll down but when i press brake windows rolls back up by them self sorry for bad english but i really tired of this problem fuses are good checked no shorts i just cant find what is wrong with it pls help

    • It actually does sound like a short to me. Grab a wiring diagram for your vehicle and start checking to see where those two circuits might have something in common. In other words, what would cause the windows to move when you press the brakes.

      Check your ground straps as well. Make sure none are loose or corroded. Remember that electricity likes to take the path of least resistance.

  11. Clio mk3. Passenger window not getting power. Os there a relay for each side ot is it a short between relay and switch, motor?

  12. Hi,
    I have a 1985 Audi 90 for a year now, windows were intermittent now all have stopped.
    Thermal fuse is good
    Bypass switches and windows go up and down ok
    Tested switches on a bench with 12v DC supply to a bulb and worked fine both ways.
    Wiring diagram is a very basic circuit with nothing else that may cause issues.
    Any ideas?

    • That’s pretty old. Perhaps the motors just don’t have enough power to overcome the force it takes to move the window? This can happen if the rails aren’t lubricated regularly. I would start there.

  13. I have a 2004 BMW x3, the old regulator in the front passenger side broke, and I replace it with a new regulator. The window now goes down fine, but it does not go up completely. The window now goes up about two-thirds of the way and then stops. What may be the likely problem?

  14. What about this: all 4 of my power windows are “automatic” (you don’t have to hold the button to get it all the way up or down) going both up and down. One window, of course the driver’s side front still works, but the auto feature only works in the down position. In other words, to get the window up, I have to hold the button until it closes. Seems strange to me. I would think the auto feature would stop working in both directions, but it’s only one. Is there a fuse for each direction, or is it something in the switch? It’s a 2017 Ford Fusion Titanium

    • There is probably not a fuse for each direction, but perhaps there is a setting in memory that needs to be changed or reset. Check the manual to see if it’s mentioned.

  15. 2015 Toy seiannia, pass window doesn’t operate,w/driver door switch, all other windows open &close, is there a fuse or some thing if expensive does car shield cover it?

  16. hi!
    I have a 2010 golf and my back window seems like it isnt fitted properly? when i press the the switch i can hear everything working but the window just doesn’t move. if i pull the window up with my hands it just slides straight down

  17. The power switch on the passenger door works to operate that window, however the switch on the driver side door to operate the passenger window does not work. What could this mean?

  18. 2006 Acura. None of my power windows work (including moonroof) except the driver’s door window, which is fine. From what you’ve written, it sounds like it could be the switch on the driver’s door. Does it sound like it? Acura wants $150. just to diagnose.

    • Diagnosis is often the hardest part of the repair, so that is a fair charge for their services. Did you check your fuses? It could be a simple fuse or relay.

      Also make sure the window lock button isn’t pressed on the driver’s side.

  19. Three windows working okay but no sound or movement when pressing switch for rear left window. Replaced blown fuse for that window but nothing changed. What should be checked next?


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