How to Fix a Manual Car Window That Won’t Roll Up

How to Fix a Manual Car Window That Won’t Roll Up?

Ever gotten stuck while rolling up your car window? You would seem to be in a pickle, as your window just won’t move up, making you a victim to all the noise, dust, and pollution coming from outside. The problem could worsen as the climate changes, throwing rain showers, furious gusts of winds, or some hailstorms in your direction. Your situation might get even dier than it already is, in case you are traveling with others. This would not only make you suffer but also your fellow travelers.

You might be so frustrated at your situation that you would want to slam your fist right through the faulty glass. No need to be hasty.

Seems like you just found the right place to address your concerns. Here you can find some useful solutions that would help you get right out of this sticky situation.

Why does your manual car window gets stuck in the first place? And how to fix a manual car window?

A manual car window generally has a hand crank attached to a mechanical regulator. So you would generally rotate the crank to roll up the car window. Rotating the crank would initiate the mechanical generator attached to the window, and hence the window will start moving up.

The problem generally occurs due to the following reasons:

  •  If the mechanical regulator gets faulty due to excessive friction while rolling up the window or blockages in the system or the lubrication just withering away.
  •  If the hand crank either drifts freely or struggles to rotate due to internal breakage of its teeth.
  •  If the placement of the window is not in accordance with the window channel.
  •  Accumulation of excessive dirt and particles at points of movement in the internal mechanism of the window panel.
  • Rusting or corroding of the metallic parts of the window mechanism.


Is the car window just not going up; it is quite evident that you would need to get ahold of various equipment and tools that would help you fix your car window. But what to do in the meantime? Do you just drive around with an unrolled window?

No, you can find a plastic sheet and just attach it to your window space using tape. The plastic sheet will act as a temporary barrier that will prevent any dust, smoke, pollution, noise, wind, water, or snow from entering your vehicle and ruining your driving experience. Moreover, the plastic sheet would be see-through, just like any normal window. Make sure to get the plastic sheet stuck well to the window panel or else all those external factors mentioned earlier might still cause trouble.

This will provide temporary relief from the inconveniences you might be facing and can be used only for a short duration until you get your window panel fixed.


So now let’s get into the actual ways which will give you a permanent solution for your broken window. A general method to fix any problem is to first find out where the defect lies, then analyze the errors, and finally fix the problem. The same goes for our predicament as well.

  • The first step you need to carry out is to remove the entire door panel and analyze it for any defects.
  •  Make sure to check it thoroughly for any deformities.
  •  Now we can go about solving the problem.

Various issues and their fixes are mentioned below:


While trying to rotate the hand crank, if it moves with too little or too much force, that is, it is not functioning smoothly, then there must be a problem with the hand crank. The hand crank might feel too rigid to roll in case of any breakages or deformities which might be obstructing the free movement of the crank, or it might have been displaced from its original position causing it to rotate too freely.


If you are facing either of these issues, the perfect solution would be to replace the hand crank panel with a new and fully functioning unit. Make sure that the new panel of the hand crank fits the window panel perfectly; else you might face the problem again.


If the positioning of the glass of the window seems off, it means that the window glass is not placed at its proper position, and there lies your issue. Inaccurate window placement might cause the window to get dislocated from its original position and hence, it might get fixated to either side. This could be the reason for issues you are facing while rolling up the window. 


You can try shaking and twisting the glass to fit the window panel. If this does not work, it means that the window alignment is completely off. Therefore, the only possible solution to fix this problem is to take the glass of the window out of its position completely and then firmly and precisely reattach it while making sure that the window fits the door panel perfectly.


If while checking out for the defects in the window, you notice that the movement of the mechanical regulator is somewhat unusual or odd, then it surely means that the greasing, responsible for the smooth functioning of the mechanical regulator, has dried off, thus causing difficulty in getting the window to move up. The friction created during the operation of the mechanical regulator, due to the absence of lubricant, might have been the main reason for the irregular movement of the window and hence, must be dealt with as soon as possible.


The easiest way to fix the problem of friction which causes clumsy movement of the window is to lubricate the entire surface of the mechanical regulator with grease or oil. This will form a layer between the operating surfaces of the mechanical regulator and will definitely minimize friction.

Read More: Can I Use Engine Oil as Gear Oil? A Quick and Simple Guide


If you find a lot of dust and debris oozing out of the door unit, this might be the main culprit behind the malfunctioning of the window mechanism. The dust and debris particles get stuck in the machinery and hence, cause obstructions in the movement of the crank and the mechanical regulator.


The only way to get rid of these unwanted particles is to clean them off. Get a towel, put some cleaning agent over it and then wipe off all the dust and debris from all the nooks and crannies of the window panel. Make sure to wipe the window panel with a dry towel afterward.


Rusting the metallic parts of the mechanism that are used to roll up the window might be a major reason for your troubles. The rusted parts are either not functioning properly or the rust layer causes friction between the movable parts of the window rolling mechanism


The only fix for any rusted or corroded part is to completely replace it. One can try using lubricants temporarily for reducing friction and reducing the spread of rust. But eventually, the rust might spread to other parts of the window panel, rendering the entire window rolling mechanism useless and not being able to function at all.  


If the above-mentioned methods do not seem to work or if you are not confident in removing the door panel and fixing the defects, then it would be best to seek professional help. Contact a nearby mechanic and ask them for the repairs, instead of trying them out by yourself. You could damage the car window to the point where replacement would be the only option left, and such replacements are costlier than getting simple repairs done.


As is often said that “Prevention is better than cure”, so we could practice this in our situation as well. It is just better to make sure you never have to face the problem in the first place, than getting stuck in the predicament and then having to figure out ways to go about it.

So, here are some useful tips and tricks to prevent your manual car window from getting stuck and not rolling up-

  • Make sure to lubricate the windows every now and then, so that there is no unwanted friction in the internal machinery of the crank and mechanical regulator.
  • Make sure the rubber straps are well stuck to the glass frame so that there is no displacement in the positioning of the window glass panel.
  • If the existing rubber straps are not helping the glass maintain its position, buy new ones and immediately replace them with the ones currently in use.
  • Take your car regularly for servicing and maintenance and make sure the people in charge of the maintenance work properly to check the car window panel, along with other necessary services.
  • Don’t apply too much pressure while rolling up the window as it can cause damage to the window mechanism.


Here are some of the frequently asked questions in the community regarding this topic. These will help you understand the concerns and doubts of other people who have faced the same issues as you do. Do read these to get a better insight into your problem.

1.       How much does it cost to fix a stuck manual car window?

Fixing a manual car window that got stuck might cost you a sum total of around $120 to $300, depending on the car model, severity of the deformities, number of parts that need to be replaced, accessibility of car parts for replacement, etc. But if you are a comprehensive car insurance holder, the insurance might cover any windshield, side window, or rear window damages, thus making it an easy and cheap replacement. 

2.       Which lubricant should I use for my manual car window panels and how much do they cost?

The most suitable lubricants for any car window are the silicone lubricants which one can spray over the entire window channel and cost about $15 per 4 oz. These silicone lubricants not only help reduce the amount of friction between the mechanical regulator and other parts but also help remove the moisture content out of the window panel mechanism.WD-40 is also a decent option which might cost you around $30 per gallon (1 gallon=128 oz). One can also use an all-weather multi-purpose lubricating compound which would generally cost about $15 per every 8 oz. Wax and soap, being the cheapest alternatives for lubricants, might also work but they might cause detrimental effects in the future, which might also hinder the normal mechanism of the window pane. So, it is generally advised not to go for them as substitutes for lubricants. 

3.       Is it possible to just force the window up if it is not rolling up?

Yes, you can surely try to push the window upwards by gently applying pressure upwards from both sides of the window. You might be able to pull it off but do not try too hard or else the excessive pressure might cause the glass to crack up, which might prove to be costlier than the original repair cost of the window. If you are not confident in your ability to force up the window, just use the method of sticking a plastic sheet as mentioned previously.


Finally, I want to conclude by mentioning that getting a stuck manual car window fixed is not as much of a lengthy and costly process as some people might think it to be. If you are confident in yourself that you can manage to find the defects and repair them, go ahead. But if you are not sure which way to go about it, then definitely go for a mechanic’s help. In general, I have tried my best to provide the concerned readers with all the necessary details they ought to know and all the solutions they can try for the problem. Hope this helps.

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