If you have a car window rattling or making a vibration noise, or one that feels loose, the window regulator might be defective. These steps from our experts explain how to inspect the window regulator for broken components and the different ways you can fix a car window that rattles.
How to Diagnose and Fix a Loose Car Window
How to Inspect a Window Regulator If Your Car Window Is Rattling
Steps for Inspecting a Window Regulator
- Determine If You Have a Power Window Regulator or Manual Window Regulator
Determine if your vehicle has a manual window regulator or a power window regulator. Most modern vehicles have power window regulators. If your vehicle has a manual window regulator, it will have a hand crank to manually turn the window up and down. If your vehicle has a power window regulator, it will have electrical switches that lift the window up and down.
- Disconnect the Lever or the Power Window Switch
If you have a manual window regulator, remove the pin from the window crank handle with a 90 degree pick and disconnect the handle from the window regulator. If you have a power window regulator, remove the bolts or screws from the switch if it has any, pry up the window switches from the door panel, and disconnect the wiring harness.
- Remove the Door Panel
Remove any mounting bolts, screws, or other necessary components to remove the door panel. Pry the door panel clips up from the door with a pry tool. Screws are usually placed behind a trim door near the interior door handle, in the door pull, and along the perimeter of the door panel. If there is a vapor or water barrier on the door, remove it to access the window regulator.
- Rattle the Window to Test the Window Regulator’s Components
Rattle the window or lift it up and down to see how many and what components move on the door. On a manual window regulator, if the window regulator can move up and down significantly without moving the handle, the regulator might be faulty.
- Check the Tightness of the Bolts on the Window Regulator
Check the bolts that connect the window to the window regulator. If you notice the bolts are loose, tighten them and see if that fixes the rattling.
- Check the Pivot Points on the Window Regulator
Check the pivot points on the window regulator for excessive movement. A little movement is common.
- Test the Window Channels
Grab and wiggle the window channels. If the window channels have a mounting bolt, check if it’s loose and tighten the bolt if necessary. A loose window channel can cause the window to rattle.
- Test the Manual Window Regulator Handle
Place a mirror or take a video and find a way to see behind the door. Turn the crank handle a little to confirm the handle gears are working. See if moving the window moves the handle. If the window regulator is capable of moving up and down a few times before it engages or does not move the handle, there is an issue with the window regulator and it needs to be replaced.
1A Auto How-to Videos: Fix Your Own Window Regulator
Replace a broken window regulator yourself with 1A Auto’s how-to videos that cover repairs for many makes and models