How To Fix A Car Window That Won’t Roll Up

Gone are the days of rolling up your windows. Well, in the most literal sense, that is. 

fix car window that won't roll up

Modern car windows are ultra-convenient, so there’s no need to crank a hand roller anymore. At the press of a button, you can make your window roll up or down, allowing you to stay warm in your car or let in a cool breeze. 

But these electronic gizmos sometimes stop working, either because something is blocking them or because of a more profound mechanical error. So while we have made immense technological advancements in recent decades, the truth remains that even automated rolling windows can sometimes run into issues that prevent them from functioning correctly.

Regardless of the root cause behind your malfunctioning window, this guide will tell you how to fix it when it won’t roll up, and dive into the various methods for getting your window back on track (literally).

Why Don’t Some Car Windows Roll Up?

Car windows are deceivingly complex, especially if they are electrical versions instead of vintage, hand-rolled designs. There are a multitude of reasons why your car window might not roll up, including:

  • The fuses are blown, preventing the electrical controls handling the window from working.
  • The child safety lock is engaged by accident.
  • The window switch is functioning correctly, but the window motor has malfunctioned. You can usually identify this issue by the “grinding” noise created when pushing the window switch either up or down.
  • The switch itself may be bad, either due to voltage problems or poor construction.
  • The car door has been dented due to an accident or other damage. As a result, it prevents the window from rolling up, even if the motor is still functional.
  • Materials like ice or snow have clogged up the window slot, preventing its movement. 

While there are numerous reasons why your window may stop rolling up, there’s no need to panic. Just as there are multiple root causes, there are many ways you can fix it.

Quick Fixes

Check The Safety Locks: For starters, double-check that the child safety locks aren't engaged in your vehicle. Sometimes, it's easy to forget that these are the problem if you've had a busy day or perhaps engaged the button by accident. Once you verify that this lock is not on, you can check it off your list of potential culprits.

Check Your Car’s Electronics: You should also make sure that the electronics in your car are working before determining if it’s an issue that’s specific to your window. If your car's interior lights and other electronic parts aren't functioning correctly, the problem may not be with your window but rather with your car's battery or circuits. For example, a short circuit could prevent an electrical signal from adequately reaching your car window.

Check For A Blockage: In most situations, when your car window isn’t moving due to a blockage, the reason is that it’s clogged with snow or ice. Try removing these impediments manually. You’ll want to be careful not to damage the glass, so you may want to consider using a lighter or similar tool to melt the ice or snow if it’s heavily accumulated. This is also best practice when the ice or snow blocks the window slot or is otherwise too difficult to remove.

Try Restarting Your Car: If none of the above-referenced quick fixes seem to be the issue, consider simply turning your car on and off again. Sometimes, this resets the internal computers and electronics in your vehicle and will resolve any minor problems that are preventing your car windows from rolling up properly.

Fixing A Stuck Car Window

If your car window remains stuck after attempting the quick fixes, you can try some more involved methods. 

Door Slam Method

As simple as it may seem, sometimes just slamming your door can solve the issue. 

Glass windows are set on tracks within your door panel. If your window is somehow dislodged from the track (or if it is tilted to the side), it may not engage with the motor, even if it’s working correctly.

Slamming your car door can help to resolve this problem by realigning your glass window with the tracks. To use this method:

  • Turn your car on.
  • Push and hold your window switch down in the desired direction (up or down) as you complete the following step.
  • While continuing to hold the button down, sit inside your vehicle and slam the car door. Repeat this step a few times and see if the window begins to roll up or down.

Glass Palming Method

If you fail to have any luck with the door slamming method, you might also try palming the glass window. This can help fix the issue if your window is stuck due to debris falling down the window slot. It’s a common occurrence for those who drive through inclement weather.

If you believe this may be the culprit behind your malfunctioning window, try this method:

  • Turn your car on.
  • Open your car door wide and stand at the end of it in a manner that would allow you to hold the window glass between your palms.
  • Sandwich the car glass between your palms and have a friend or family member press the window’s up/down button.
  • As the button is engaged, try to pull the glass up with your palms. Keep your hands flat, and do not get your fingers caught in the way of the glass and the door. If the window is pulled back on track, it may suddenly rise, which presents a risk of injury if not carefully accounted for. 

Striking Method

Similar to the door slam method, the striking method can help realign your window with the tracks and motor. 

Using your palm (to avoid injury or damage), take your hand and strike the center of your car door on the outside. Never use tools in place of your hand, as this can cause damage to the paint and body of your vehicle.

When utilizing the striking method, only do it a few times and see if it produces results. Do not continue striking the door if it doesn’t get your window back on track. Also, be careful not to strike your door too hard, as it's much easier to damage the door’s paint or shatter the glass inside than you might think.

Remove the Door Panel

For those who are mechanically inclined, you can get a look at your car window’s mechanics by removing the door panels and investigating the issue. 

This is typically done by unscrewing one or more screws often located behind your car door’s interior handle. After removing the screws, gently pull on the panel. This should uncouple any cheap plastic pressure rivets.

Once open, you can get a closer look at the motor mechanics and see if something is blocking the motor gears. If there is no issue with the motor, you may just need to realign the window on the track manually. After you have addressed the issue, simply secure the door panel back in place with the applicable screws.

Summary

Ultimately, it’s essential to use common sense when fixing a car window. If you don’t think you’ll solve the problem without breaking the glass, it’s best to contact a professional and have them perform the service. They’ll be able to help you out if you don’t have the tools on hand to take apart your door panels or perform the appropriate tasks necessary to repair the issue. But hopefully, if you have a simple error occurring with your system, the tips mentioned above will get you out of a jam.