Auto Window Repairs
The need for auto window repairs can come at the most inconvenient time. What a sickening feeling… to walk out to your car to go home from shopping or go to work and find that you have been the victim of a “smash and grab”! Besides any personal belongings that have been lost, you now have to deal with fixing or replacing a broken car window. If you have insurance that pays for auto window replacement, great, but what if you don’t? You are left to fix or replace it on your own.
Most people are capable of doing an auto window replacement, but don’t even think about doing it themselves. In most cases, it only requires a few inexpensive tools and doesn’t take any special skills or secret knowledge. With a little common sense, a few hand tools, some patience, and information resources you can find on this website, almost anyone can do their own auto window repairs or replacement. It just takes a little time and effort, but of course it is always easier to take it to a professional.
There are basically two types of windows on a car: fixed glass and moving glass.
Fixed glass sometimes comes with its own frame (usually in a side window), and it is just a matter of figuring out how to remove the frame from the car and then replacing the whole unit. You may or may not need to replace the seal around this type of glass, it depends on the design and the condition of the seal.
Other fixed glass such as a back window or windshield will usually not have a frame of its own and will be attached to the vehicle with a special adhesive caulk. These auto window repairs are a little more complicated, because you may have to apply a primer to the sealing surface of the window, and touching the glass in that area can prevent the adhesive from bonding to the glass, creating a leak. This type of glass requires an inexpensive suction cup or two to serve as handles to be able to move the glass into position.
Glass that moves (such as most door windows) usually is bolted to the window regulator at the bottom inside the door, and removal is just a matter of removing the door panel to unbolt the old glass. Getting the old glass out is usually pretty easy if it is already broken, but sometimes getting a new (whole) piece of glass into the door cavity and into position can be a challenge! Once you get it into place, it is just a matter of bolting it back to the window regulator, getting it adjusted correctly, and reinstalling the door panel.
Power window repair really isn’t that hard either in many cases, especially if you have a little automotive mechanical and electrical knowledge. You can usually diagnose the problem with an inexpensive test light from the local auto parts store and either a factory service manual or a Haynes Repair Manual for your vehicle. Usually you will be replacing either the power window motor, the window regulator, or one of the switches or relays.
The window motor is the easiest thing to diagnose: If it has power and ground and doesn’t work it is usually pretty obvious what is wrong! Switches and relays can be a little trickier, and you will need to consult a factory service manual for troubleshooting procedures that are specific to your vehicle. For a general power window troubleshooting procedure, take a look at our page on Power Window Repair.
Most people don’t want to take the time and expend the effort to do their own auto window repairs, and that is understandable. Replacing car windows isn’t much fun for most of us. It is much easier to let a professional repair your broken car window, and then you shouldn’t have to wonder if it was done correctly or if it will cause you problems down the road. If you take it to a repair shop that specializes in auto window replacement, you can save time and aggravation. However, if you need (or want) to save some money and are mechanically inclined, automotive window replacement can be done at home by a novice.
*** What is the best source for auto service and repair information – a factory service manual, ALLDATAdiy, a Haynes or Chiltons book, or ??? Check out my page on Auto Repair Information to find out the pros and cons of each.
If you just happen to be a car nut like me, you might also be interested in my garage planning website, GaragePlansEtc.com. I have lots of info on choosing garage plans, garage building kits, garage doors, and garage heating systems.
Take a look at the different pages on this website to learn what is involved in doing various types of auto window repairs.