Stuck Power Window? Never Fear!

Let's keep Mother Nature's forces at bay.

Shelter separates us from the elements, whether those are hot and humid conditions or the icier variety. Our car’s confines are that of the body panels, but chiefly of its windows. They go up and down and up and down. But what if they don’t?

Windows stuck in place can be a major inconvenience if they trap you inside with a rainforest of heat or allow the frigid March climes to enter and chill you to the bone. There are, however, solutions to your problem. Stuck power windows suck, but they can be fixed with these tips from your friendly Car Bibles’ editors. We show you what to do below.

How Does a Power Window Work?

Sorcery? What are we, experts or something?

Just kidding, power windows are actually fairly simple machines. Power is supplied through the vehicle’s battery to a relay that operates a window motor. That motor moves the window up and down via the switch on your vehicle’s door panel.

Trying to pull up a stuck window.
Trying to pull up a stuck window.

What Could Cause Power Windows To Stick?

Here are a few common reasons why your windows might get stuck.

Cold Weather

As you’d expect, extreme cold and/or ice can cause your windows to stick open or closed.

Blown Fuse

If a short occurs somewhere along the electrical line, it can blow the window motor’s fuse.

Broken Window Motor

Your car’s window motor is subject to the same laws of entropy as you are.

Broken Window Switch

As with everything, your car’s window switches can fail over time, especially with repeated use.

Debris in Window Motor

If your weather stripping has failed or come off, it can lead to debris getting into the power window motors and gumming up their works.

Weatherstripping Failure

Your weatherstripping can fail over time. It can warp, deteriorate, and fall into the same crevice it’s meant to protect. When that happens, it can impact how your windows work.

How Do You Fix a Stuck Power Window?

First, you have to determine the issue. Here are the three most common ways to fix a stuck power window.

Blown Fuse

If your fuse has blown, simply remove the fuse box cover and replace the blown unit. Your window will work after you turn the car off and on again.

Broken Window Motor

If your window motor is broken, you’ll need to turn the car off, pop the hood, and disconnect the battery. Then remove the door panel, remove the broken window motor, replace it with a new unit, and reattach the door panel. You can then reconnect the battery and start the car once again. Your window should go up.

Pull It Up

If it isn’t one of those issues, and you can’t fix it straight away, you should be able to manually pull the window up with your hands. You may damage the window motor, and you’ll have to shim it so the window doesn’t fall, but it will go up.

Can Cranked Windows Stick?

They can! Just like powered windows, your old-timey crank windows can stick if the crank mechanism breaks, the window freezes, or the window is jammed up with debris.

Car Bible’s Glossary for Stuck Windows

Welcome to Bible School!

Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping is the plastic or rubber material that outlines your window and keeps rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc out of the car’s cabin.

Window Crank

Older cars without power windows have hand-cranks that operate the window mechanism.

Window Motor

A window motor does what a window crank does, except it does it for you.

Window Fuse

The fuse connects the window motor to the car’s battery and allows it to operate.

Pressing the buttons won't help.
Pressing the buttons won’t help.

The Car Bibles Questionnaire

Car Bibles answers all your burning questions!

Q: Can You Reset Your Power Windows?

A: If you think there’s a fault within the car’s ECU, you might try disconnecting and reconnecting the battery terminals and seeing if that clears the issue. You can also plug in an OBD scanner and see if there are any faults logged in the car’s ECU that you can clear or use to determine the next course of action.

Q: Where Is My Window Fuse?

A: You’ll have to consult your car’s dusty service manual to determine where your fuse box is and which fuse operates your car’s windows.

Q: How Do I Know If My Window Switch Is Bad?

A: After going through the above issues and finding none are the culprit, it’s time to check the switch.

Video on Pulling Stuck Power Windows Up

Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly how to pull up a stuck power window. We pulled it from one of our favorites, and most trusted, sources and it’s a great additional resource.

Car Bible’s Favored Stuck Window Related Products

You can buy tools for unsticking your window at almost every auto parts and home improvement store. As well as online stores like Amazon. You have a sea of options to select from. Why not just take the guesswork out and listen to us? Like these OBD2 scanners, ratcheting screwdriver, or, if all else fails, these window breakers.

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Jonathon Klein
Jonathon Klein

Jonathon has jumped Aston Martins for Automobile Magazine, clocked 200 mph in a McLaren 720S for Playboy, and sampled his best life behind the wheel of a Ferrari Dino Evo for Road & Track. He’s hopelessly addicted to the strongest coffee he can brew. Please send him more. Contact the author here.