How to Replace an Electric-Powered Car Window

Vehicles have come a long way not only when it comes to performance but also convenience. Convenience-related features have been long present in cars, but more modern solutions, such as power windows started to be implemented as early as 1941 by Ford Motors. Today they come standard on the majority of new vehicles and have been the go-to for most manufacturers for many years now. Power windows are usually operated by a 20-amp circuit breaker.

The power sent from the circuit breaker is transferred to a contact point in the middle where all the wiring is, which then goes to the window you want to roll up or down. When you press a switch, one of the two ends of the power contact gets disconnected from the vehicle ground and connected to the power point in the centre to distribute the power to the window or windows. This operation is possible thanks to the different car window parts working together.

What Are the Parts of a Car Window?

Power Window Regulator

The controls that operate the window’s movement and stopping time are called power window regulators. This part consists of more than one part and the car window replacement parts in a power window regulator are known as gears. With the help of electricity, these gears shift, moving the windows up or down.

power window regulator

Pillar Cover

A pillar cover is a part that covers the side of the window and windshield. Pillar covers are also present in the interior which can be made of plastic, carbon fiber, or fiberglass. A pillar cover provides both aesthetic appeal and protection, which is why these auto window parts are available in different materials.

Billet Window Crank

This simple, yet important mechanical component is what allows the power window regulator to convert its motion and ensure that the window moves in the right direction. While billet window cranks are mainly seen in older vehicles, there are some today that make use of both power windows and hand-operated ones. Usually, the back two doors have hand-operated windows.

billet window crank

Window Lift Motor

To open or close the window up, a power window regulator needs what is known as a window lift motor. This is a small component fitted into the car door that receives the signal from the circuit breaker and sends it to the window regulator.

Power Window Switch

The whole operation of moving a window up or down is controlled by the switch. With just a pull or sometimes press of a button, the switch activates the circuit breaker which then sends a signal to the window lift motor. This activates the window regulator and makes the window move.

Can I Replace My Own Car Window?

While the whole process of replacing a car window may seem daunting at first, it actually isn’t. With some patience and guidance, you can replace it on your own and thus, spend less money than you would if you were to bring your vehicle to a mechanic.

How to Replace Your Own Car Window

What You Need

replacing car window

To ensure that everything goes as planned you need to have certain tools and equipment, including a socket set, a screwdriver set, a trim removal tool, a shop vacuum, safety glasses, gloves, and your vehicle service manual.

Removing the Window

  1. Start the replacement process by removing all the bolts, clips and screws that hold the door trim panel. Your service manual will come in handy here, as it will help you find any hidden screws easier. Usually, the door handle needs to be removed in order for all the car window replacement parts to be installed.
  2. Use the trim removal tool to remove the panel and to avoid cracking the plastic itself. When you have the panel out of the way, remove the vapour barrier. Use the vacuum shop so that any glass shards don’t fall inside the door panel.

Installing a New Window

  1. In order to install the new car window, either raise or lower the window to a height that lets you access the mounting hardware. Then, disconnect the plug powering the window regulator and motor before removing the weather seal found at the top of the door frame.
  2. Next, loosen the hardware holding the window and remove the old window. Then, adjust the window track and lower the window through the space at the top of the door frame. Gently wiggle the new window piece in place and then reinstall all the hardware you removed.
smashed car window


  1. Once the new window is installed, retighten the window track and replace all the hardware. When you get to the door trim make sure to plug the wiring harness back and test the new window. If everything works correctly, install the panel. Otherwise, adjust the screws in the door panel to tweak the window into place.
  2. Replace the vapour barrier and door trim, as well as door handles and weather stripping if you removed those too, and use the palm of your hand to top the door trim into place. Once you’ve done all of this, double-check everything and you’re done. Remember to read through the service manual of your car during this whole process in case there is something specific to your vehicle you may be missing.

Author: Michael Hobbs

Share This Post On