Power Windows Not Working? (10 Common Causes and How to Fix)

(Updated on October 20, 2022)

The days of hand-crank windows in automobiles are over. Virtually every new vehicle made today contains power 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.

However, there is one downside to having power windows. If there is ever a problem with the system that takes your input on the window switch and turns it into window glass motion, you will not be able to open and close your window until you get the problem fixed. The window can’t be forced open or closed due to the inner mechanism.

This would never happen with a crank window system because it uses manual human power to open and close it. Thankfully, the ability of a window to open and close is usually not a safety issue and doesn’t affect driving.

If your windows stop working, do some troubleshooting if you’re comfortable with that. Depending on the issue, you may need to take the vehicle to a local mechanic or dealership and have them restore the functionality of your power windows.

See Also: Easiest Way to Remove Window Tint

Common Causes of Power Windows Not Working

There are several reasons that your car’s windows might stop working. If you don’t hear or see any movement when you press the button, the problem is likely electrical rather than mechanical.

Here are some of the possible issues to check for in case it happens to you.

1) Window Lock Button is On

window lock button

The simplest and most obvious (yet easy to overlook) problem is the lock-out button on the driver’s door has been pressed.

This is a safety feature that disables the switches to all other windows in the vehicle until the button is pressed again.

2) Bad Window Regulators

bad window regulator

The mechanism that moves a power window up and down is called a window regulator. Each car door with a power window has a window regulator to move it. It’s connected via cables to a power window motor.

If the regulator goes bad, then pushing the up or down button will not make the window move. The crank gears could be worn or broken, or the regulator is out of alignment. You will need to have the window regulator replaced.

3) Bad Fuse

fuse box

If all four windows are stuck and won’t move, then the fuse for the window regulators is likely the culprit. In this case when you push any of the window switches nothing will happen – you won’t hear a motor at all and the glass won’t tremble like it’s trying hard to move.

Check the owner’s manual to see which fuse supplies power to the windows, then replace it.

4) 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 regulator can’t be powered.

Sometimes you are warned of an impending window motor failure when the overall window movement speed occasionally slows down during ascent.

5) Snow and Ice

driving in the snow

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.

6) Torn, Loose, or Dirty Window Gasket

The gasket in the window keeps wind and rain out of the car and helps align the window properly. If it’s sticky from debris or out of place, the regulator motor might not be strong enough to overcome the friction and move the window.

Gaskets and seals can be cleaned, lubricated, and replaced if needed. Ignore it too long and you’ll have water leaking into your car’s interior.

7) Bad Power Window Switch

bad 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 frequently, there may come a point when the switch stops working properly.

This is 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.

It’s not too hard to troubleshoot, either. Compare the response when pressing the window switch on the door itself vs the switch on the driver’s door (make sure the windows aren’t locked by the child safety lock button).

If one switch works and not the other, the switch could be bad or some wiring connecting them may be faulty.

8) Wiring Issues

car wiring low voltage

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. In this case, take another trip back to the mechanic to have them fix it.

You can also try opening up the door panel to follow the wires from the fuse box to the door switch itself. Sometimes you’ll see a wire that’s loose or corroded.

It’s always a good idea to disconnect the battery before touching any wiring to avoid an accidental shock.

9) Damaged Door

car accident to wheel area

The window track must be aligned in order for the window to move up and down properly. If the door is damaged from a collision or even just has a loose bolt, the window might get stuck or the door won’t close all the way.

10) Dirty Window Tracks

The glass window slides along metal rails inside the door. Over time, these rails may get dirty from mud and road debris, or the lubrication that keeps the window running smoothly may dry up.

You might try cleaning the window rails and then lubricating them using silicone lubricant. Try not to get any of the silicone spray on your paint. If you do, wash it off as soon as you can.

Conclusion

Power windows are very handy and are usually fairly straightforward to troubleshoot if one or more of them stops working. Depending on the problem, you might even be able to fix it at home.

But always, safety first – if you’re unsure of how the electrical parts work, ask an experienced mechanic for help or just have the work done at an auto shop. Keep your fingers out of places they may get crushed (gears or the top of the window, especially) while the power supply is still connected.

79 thoughts on “Power Windows Not Working? (10 Common Causes and How to Fix)”

  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

    Reply
    • 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?

      Reply
    • It is usually the wiring that feeds the door. If you open the door and find the rubber that the wiring goes through just pull it off of one side and check for damaged wires there. Many times you will get broken wires right there from opening and shutting your door.

      Reply
      • 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.

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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)

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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?

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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?

    Reply
  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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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?

    Reply
  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

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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?

    Reply
  20. Both windows on right side do not work. Today using main switch on driver door it allowed the passenger window to go down and up which did not before. But when replaced motor on driver door both were out again. Put old motor back on and still nothing. Checked fuses they were good. Not hearing any sounds when buttons are pressed. But all other buttons work..lock, unlock, mirrors on both sides and windows on left side of car. Could this be a short wire or regulators? Please help

    Reply
    • It could be. Might help to look at a wiring diagram to see which circuit the right two windows share. Start testing things with a multimeter and follow that circuit to see if you find any problems.

      Reply
  21. My passenger side power window goes down but not up. I was told by Firestone that it was not getting enough voltage to bring it back up. They were able to get it back up with a handheld generator. They could not fix it and told me to take it to the dealer. If it is not getting enough voltage, then what would be the problem that needs to be addressed?

    Reply
    • Not sure. What is your make and model? Is this a common issue on that particular vehicle?

      Perhaps you have an electical issue somewhere between the window motor and the battery, like a short or a bad ground.

      Reply
  22. The driver side window won’t do anything in my 2004 GMC envoy. I replaced the motor & regulator ..Now I can hear a click but still not moving. All other windows work. Fuses are good. What is going on?

    Reply
  23. Hi, thanks for article. My 2007 Matrix driver side window creeps down a few inches when left partially open. I have new ventshades so this window slippage makes them unusable. If window is closed tight, no slippage has occurred. Ideas?

    Reply
      • Thanks Sean. No. Have no idea how to do. Was hoping to know what part to buy, then hire someone to install.

      • It’d be best to have a shop look at it then. They can get it squared away for you, end to end so you don’t have to worry about it.

  24. Trying to fix a 2007 Maxima for a friend. Driver window will not open. New regulator installed, nothing. Motor turns fine in both directions unattached, but will not budge the regulator when attached. Is this a thing? Could the motor be not strong enough to move the cables?

    Reply
  25. My front 2012 GMC Acadia passenger window will only work if both (master driver and passenger) switches are pushed at the same time (either up and down), What could it be the issue?

    Reply
  26. All my windows all went out except my driver side window, the morning they all went out they were working fine. I had checked all my fuses and they all look fine. What do you think could be the problem?

    Reply
    • Many vehicles have a switch near the driver’s window controls that disable all windows except for the drivers. Has that button been pushed? Try toggling it and see if the other windows work.

      Reply
      • 2008 Honda Oddessey, all windows were open during rain, theyball worked fine for the next 36 hours, but suddenly 3 passenger windows not working.
        Driver’s window works fine
        Other 3, theres a click when I press the button but windows won’t roll down. If i press the lock windows button on driver’s panel then no click sound. I also disconnected the wires from the switch on one of the doors and no click sound to that window. So I assume there is power, where’s the problem? is it rain related?

  27. That’s what I referenced before. The only difference if that button is in the lock position or not is if (when it’s unlocked) I will hear a click (coming from whichever window/door that I’m trying to open) when I push down on the switch. If it’s in the lock position I won’t hear anything

    Reply
  28. I have a range rover 03 and the drivers side door switches have all stopped including the mirrors and door lack safety on stays on all the time will not go out.I don’t know what it is looked at wiring and everything seems OK can you help me please.

    Reply
  29. I have a 2015 dodge journey and windows don’t work I have changed the switch on my driver’s side door and still nothing buy my passenger side door window switch works great what could be the problem

    Reply
  30. I have a 2014 Buick Lacrosse, the radio doesn’t turn off when the car is off and drivers window doesn’t work. I’ve replaced the motor and switch and nothing… Fuses area good also.

    Reply
  31. I have a 2015 VW Tiguan and my drivers side front, and rear windows do not work. The passenger side works just fine.

    I recently replaced the ABS speed sensor on the right back tire to get rid of warning lights, and the battery was disconnected for a little while during that time

    Reply
    • Some vehicles have a reset procedure for the windows where you hold the switch up or down (or both) for a certain period of time. I would search “2015 VW Tiguan reset window switch” and see if that helps.

      Reply

Leave a Comment