HELP DIAGNOSING YOUR WINDOW PROBLEM
* OVERVIEW: All power windows operate the same way. Wiring conducts power from your engine to the driver's master control switch. A fuse is located in between to prevent power surges from damaging your equipment. The master control switch routes power directly to the drivers door window motor, and indirectly to the passenger window motors through the passenger window control switches, which also route power directly to their respective window motors. (The master switch and front passenger switch usually include a door lock/unlock button as well, but this may be a separate unit). The switches allow the driver and passengers to operate the windows, the window motors physically raise and lower the windows. The window motors are located inside the doors and are accessed by removing the door panels. The wiring is connected to the motors and switches and runs throughout the car and engine. The fuse is located with other fuses (check your manual for locations). The switches may be located in door or center consoles, usually under a plastic cover or "bezel". The switches consist of the operating buttons or toggles at the top of the unit, the circuit board inside the unit, and the plug ins for your wiring. When you move a button or toggle, an electrical connection is made by touching contact points together, and power is routed accordingly.
* IN GENERAL: Vehicles may be wired differently, have different design flaws making them prone to certain equipment failures, and may exhibit different symptoms for the same problem. The guide below is intended to provide a universal way to trouble shoot a window problem; some symptoms may have more than one explanation, depending on your make, model, and year. Sometimes there are several parts that need to be replaced. Keep in mind that this is only a guide.
1. If you have window problems after your master switch starts to smoke, or after a button develops excessive play or looseness, or after a button breaks off of the switch, you will need to replace the master switch. Keep in mind that there isn't a single master switch out there that is sold in component parts. If any part of the switch fails, you'll have to replace the entire unit.
2. If all your windows stop working at the same time, the problem almost always lies with the master switch. It is extremely rare for a fuse to blow, but you should check the fuse in this situation before replacing the switch. Also extremely rare would be faulty wiring. It could be the wire harness if someone has been recently working in that area. They may have caused a "snake bite", or break in the wiring.
3. The driver's window is most likely to stop functioning, since it gets the most use. If the driver's window fails, most likely the window master switch is the culprit. The next most likely cause is the window motor. There is almost never another reason, although the window could become stuck due to derailment. This could happen if someone or something weighted down the window with an elbow, etc., as it was being raised. The window motor may fail all at once, but it usually works intermittently before failing completely. (This is a classic symptom in Toyotas!) The window will stop in one place and then move a little more after waiting a few minutes. The motor is most likely to fail when putting the window up, due to the much greater load placed on the motor when moving the weight of the window against gravity. If the window worked intermittently going up and then failed, it could be the motor or the master switch. It is advisable in these cases to fully diagnose the problem before buying a part, if the expense of doing so is not not greater than say $40 or the cost of the master switch, whichever is less.
4. If a passenger window fails, the most likely causes in order would be the window master switch, the passenger door window switch, or the window motor. If the vehicle has 4 doors, you can eliminate or prove the passenger switch as the cause by replacing the suspect switch with a switch from another passenger door. The front passenger switch may or may not be interchangeable. You can refer to our product list to find out before removing the switch. The rear switches are always interchangeable.
5. As always, if you still have questions you are welcome to contact us for free troubleshooting advice.