How to Replace a Window Motor and Regulator

A window regulator and motor is the mechanism inside a door or tailgate that holds the window in place while it travels upward or downward when commanded by the window switch.

What Goes Wrong?

There are mainly two kinds of window regulators, the first type uses a scissor-like arrangement with a ring gear and an electric motor with a pinion gear to drive it. More modern types use a cable drive system whereas a series of pulleys are supported on a framework or single main support rail. The motor is fitted with a clutched wheel that drives the cable in both directions. In time these motors can burn out or the cable system can break down hindering the window operation, this is usually due to excessive resistance inside the window track which should be cleaned.
window regulator types

How Much Does It Cost?

Typically replacement parts will cost between $50.00 and $80.00 on Amazon (US) and will require the removal of the door panel. Labor time can be between 1.5 and 2.5 hours at a shop or dealer. If exact times or procedures are needed you can ask our experts to supply you with the information (free), or consult an online resource such as AllData DIY (pay) but this guide and video will be sufficient in most cases.

Let's Jump In

To access the window regulator and motor assembly the door panel must be removed. This is done with the door open with the window in the up position if possible. If the window will not go up don't worry, once the door panel is off we will be able to lift the window up manually.
remove door panel

There will be a plastic door liner designed to keep water and moisture away from the door panel. Gently remove the plastic cover and set it to the side.
remove pastic cover door panel

There will be access holes which are used to service the regulator, mounting bolts attach the window to the regulator framework. In this case the bolt size is 10mm. If the regulator is burned out and not working reach inside the door and use a small wrench to remove the bolts. In some cases the window will be down inside the door which can be raised up manually and held in place.
locate window mounting bolts

 Remove the window mounting bolts from the window regulator, once the bolts have been removed the window will become loose in its track, be gentle with the window.
remove window mounting bolts

Grasp the window and pull upward, it will slide with minor resistance until it contacts the upper portion of the frame, do not allow the glass to fall back down inside the door.
raise window

While holding the window in place, use masking tape to secure the window at the top of the frame. This step keeps the glass out of the way and safe while removing the regulator and motor.
tape window

Locate and remove the window regulator mounting bolts, then gently allow the regulator to sit inside the door until the motor is removed, (in some cases the motor is attached separately).
remove regulator bolts

Locate and remove the window motor mounting bolts, in this application the bolts can be loosened which will remove the motor by moving it upward.
remove window motor bolts

There will be an electrical connector attached to the motor which can be accessed before or after the motor has been removed, whatever ever is easier, press the release tab to disconnect.
press to release connector

Remove the regulator and motor assembly through the large door access port. Use care when working inside the door because the door "skin" is the outside of the door, if damaged (dented) it will show up on the outside of the car door.
remove regulator motor

This is what the window regulator and motor looks like once it is removed, yours may vary.

regulator motor removed

Watch the Video!

Please watch this video of the job being done, then continue down the guide to glean additional helpful information.

It is important to match the old unit to the new replacement part, this will ensure a proper installation, also check the electrical connectors as well.
new window motor regulator

Gently feed the new motor and regulator assembly back into position, this can be a little tricky so hang in there.
install new window motor regulator

Once the motor and regulator have been repositioned, re-install all mounting bolts leaving them loose until all bolts have been threaded.
install regulator bolts

Using a ratchet or wrench tighten the motor and regulator mounting bolts. Don't over tighten, these are small bolts and don't need hulk-like strength to reassemble. There is no torque spec for these bolts but in general it would be between 3 and 5 pounds.
tighten window motor bolts

Feed the electrical connector from the window motor through the access hole and reconnect it to the door wiring harness, you should hear a click which tells you it is fully seated.
reconnect eletrical connector

The window is ready to be lower back into place, while holding the window firmly and remove the masking tape to lower the window onto the new regulator cradle. Clean the side window tracks with soap and water if necessary, this will help the window operation.
remove tape from window

You may need to turn the ignition switch on and work the window switch to move the regulator cradle into position so the window mounting bolts can be installed. Keep your fingers and hands out of the way. Thread in and tighten the mounting bolts, again these don't not need to be super tight. If the window is non operational start by checking the fuses.
install wondow mounitng bolts

Recheck all mounting bolts for tightness to make sure you didn't forget any, re-install the plastic weather liner and reinstall the door panel assembly.
reinstall plastic lliner

Now that the job is complete, test the window operation by working the switch in both directions, the window should work smoothly while not causing the motor to labor. In some cases there are minor adjustments for the window rails to be re-position, check the vertical operation for hard spots or clicking noises and adjust if necessary.
test window motor operation

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