Frugal Fix Friday: The Car Window

I broke my car window a couple years ago. Well, first the button to make it go up and down broke. I didn’t know that at the time. So, I brought it to my local Ford dealership and asked if they’d look at it. They said “Sure, it’ll be $180 to diagnose it and at least $200 to fix.” I replied with “I don’t need to roll down my window that badly.”
Later I figured out that it was the switch that was broken and it costs $150 from Ford. I bought a new one for $60 online. That was EASY to replace, and only took about 10 minutes of my time. The video below IS NOT accurate for an 02 Explorer. It’s similar, but there is an additional step before this. Skipping that first step will break a plastic clip. I’ll add pictures of this later. I just wanted to post this video clip to show how easy the switch is to replace.

A couple months later, that switch died. I got a dud, but it had a lifetime warranty! The bad part was that my car was outside, and it had started raining with my window down when the switch died.

What did I do? I broke the whole power window assembly. I took off the door panel, ripped out the regulator/motor, and put the window up manually. This was a stupid idea (now I have to pay to fix another thing) but I was frustrated and getting rained on. I left it like that for about 2 years because I didn’t really need to roll down my window. Plus, if they were going to charge me $400 for a bad switch… how much would this cost!?

Finally, after 3 or 4 people were nice enough to roll down my window for me and get it stuck down again and again, I decided to fix it.

I went to an auto parts store, got a new regulator assembly (paid $70, was $150 from Ford), and put it in myself. Since I was learning along the way it took me a little longer to do this. Probably 2 hours or so. The videos below cover the general process pretty well. When it comes time to attach the new regulator to the glass, you will need bolts to replace the rivets that you bored out. Try to find some bolts that are as short as possible while still making it through both pieces with room for a nut. Also, you’ll want them to be as close to the thickness of the hole as possible to prevent rattling. I got 2 small bolts/nuts from the local hardware store for $1.90.

Another important thing to note is that depending on the wiring paths on your vehicle, they could be very close to where you are drilling when you bore out the rivets. They were in my case. Be super careful, and maybe put something over the wiring to protect it while drilling. You don’t want to sever the wires, or else you’ll have another project on your hands!

Have fun. Save money. Gain new skills.

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