Car Window Regulators: Not a Trend but a Necessity

Car Window

When you’re a car owner it’s easy to become dazzled by all the emerging trends in car accessories. So, when it’s time to replace your window regulators, you may find it not as interesting as something flashy like a bumper or an exhaust. But the mechanism that moves windows up and down is constantly used, and as such can easily get jammed or damaged. So, instead of investing your time and attention in researching accessories that you might not even need, it’s best to get informed about how window regulators work so that you’ll know how to pick out the right ones when the time comes.

What Is a Window Regulator?

Open Door Panel

The window regulator is the mechanical assembly behind the door panel that is responsible for moving the glass window up and down. In the past, vehicles were fitted with basic regulators which were operated by a hand crank, but today, most cars have a regulator operated by an electric motor. Usually, the window regulator and motor come together as one unit, but in some cars, they can be replaced separately. So, if one of your car windows starts to jam, you should assess whether you need to replace solely the regulator or motor, or both at the same time. Before you go shopping for auto window parts, you first need to understand the different types of regulators.

Scissor Type

Scissor Type Window Regulator

One of the oldest types of car window regulators is the scissor type. These types of regulators are usually found on classic cars. A scissor type regulator consists of a main arm connected to the window carriage on one end and to a large plate with gear teeth on the other. This set up resembles scissors which is how the regulators got their name.

All the components of a scissor type regulator are metal. Although they usually include a manual hand crank, some scissor type regulators can be power operated. The most common reason for scissor type regulators to fail is when the wheels at the end of the arms wear out and break off. When this happens, the whole window mechanism starts to make noise and the glass begins to rattle.

Cable Type

Cable Window Regulator

Window regulators driven by cables have become the trend with automakers in the past few decades. Their design and compact size allow more room inside the door for fitting other features such as safety beams and airbags. In addition, cable type regulators are lighter and as such contribute to better fuel economy.

However, these regulators have more parts and are more complicated than scissor type regulators. And since the motor is closely connected to the regulator, the whole cable type set-up needs to be replaced when the window starts malfunctioning.

Criteria for Selecting the Correct Auto Window Parts

Door Panel

To identify what kind of window regulator technology your car uses, remove the door panel. You can do this by yourself using some basic tools. However, it’s not uncommon for the clips in the door panel to break whenever you remove it, so you may want to order a few new clips just in case. Depending on the car, there can be 8-10 clips holding the door cover.

Besides being able to recognise the different types of window regulators, there are also other factors to consider in order to choose the right auto window parts. For one, you need to consider your vehicles make. There are different window regulators that can fit a Toyota Camry, and different regulators designed to be installed in a Toyota Landcruiser. In addition, you also need to purchase a window regulator for the side that requires replacement, like for instance the right front or the left rear window.

How to Extend the Life of a Window Regulator

Door Panel

As with any mechanical car element, you need to properly maintain your window regulators in order to extend their lifespan. Since the window regulator is a system of moving metal parts, you need to lubricate all its components with spray grease from time to time. Spray grease comes conveniently in a can and you can purchase it from any hardware store and some car parts retailers.

In addition, regularly check whether the window sweeps or window felts are securely in place. This protects the regulator and its motor from damage caused by rain, snow, ice, dirt and other debris that can enter the door. It’s also recommended to lubricate the window tracks at the front and rear of the side glass. This way, the glass can move smoothly up and down which is essential to long window regulator life. If you notice that the glass binds up, the window operating mechanism can also break soon.

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