Do It Yourself for Dummies: Installing a Car Window Regulator
Hello and welcome back! Once again I’m going to try and extrapolate my singular experience to the whole of cardom! I kept it lowercase so that you don’t think I’m talking about some place in Israel, though I bet you weren’t and now you are! Anywho, this job was a little more complicated than the car radio but only barely. You’ll want a few more supplies but for the most part I didn’t use anything but my hands, a screwdriver, and the regulator part itself.
Oh hey, before we begin make sure you don’t just have a blown fuse. Google to see where your fuse box is (probably beneath your steering wheel) and what a blown fuse looks like. If that isn’t the case then come back, I don’t want you spending an hour doing this (even though it IS fun) and finding out you needed a like…10 cent fuse. Though I don’t know how much a fuse costs? Maybe they are a billion dollars. I’m not a car guy, which is why I think you can do this install (if you need to do it).
Step #1: Find the regulator you need!
In my case I am driving a Hyundai Accent 2002. So I went over to Ebay (your best bet usually) and googled “Rear Passenger Window Regulator Hyundai Accent 2002”. That got me this result: Right Replacement Power Window Regulator Rear Fit Hyundai Accent 00-06. You want to make sure that you’ve got the right year, right model, and the right door. If you don’t it probably won’t fit and if it doesn’t fit you are going to be grumpy. Once you have that part you are basically done. Well, ok, not really but we are moving along quickly!
Step #2: Gather all the tools you’ll need!
This part is a little more tough. I’m going to tell you the ideal and I’ll put an asterisk next to it if I actually used it. Basically our car is not my baby so I’m not too hurt if I scratch up the rubber on it a bit here and there (I try not to, though).
Screwdriver – A few different Phillips head sizes ideal.*
Trim Panel Tool.
Socket Wrench – A few different socket sizes.*
(Pray to the stars that you’ve got the right size…)
Hands – Two are ideal. One will work in a pinch.
Step #3: Prepare for adventure! (Installation)
As with all my guides involving working on the car there are a few steps you want to take in advance. I’m going to bold them if I really want you paying attention to them. For instance you need to disconnect the negative from your car battery first! Period! Do this! We don’t know what we’ll be poking, prodding, or jostling. You could get seriously shocked and you will be super pissed (or dead). The negative is going to be the connection on your battery that isn’t covered in all sorts of rubber and other material (the installers really don’t want you touching the positive). Generally the negative is held on by a single nut. Just loosen that up and push the connection aside so that it doesn’t touch the battery connection. Step back and watch if it moves around because it COULD crawl bat to the connection if you don’t put it in a good place. Once that’s done we move onto part 2 of safety preparations.
This one isn’t nearly as important but I did it myself. Tape your window in place, we’ve already established that the window is broken and neither you, nor me, wants a piece of glass falling down on our fingers. That’s like…wow so lame. The good news is that the window is actually very light once we remove the regulator from it, its just that removal process that could (however unlikely) cause it to fall on your fingers and give you a bit of a bruise. It’s sanded or finished around the sides so you shouldn’t get cut doing this if it did fall on you.
The next step is to open your door and look at the inner door panel. You may want to Google for diagrams on your car door but frankly what I’m about to tell you is usually the case from my little bit of internet spelunking. First take a careful eye around the edges of your door panel and look for any screws connecting the panel to the metal frame of the car door (we will not be removing the metal frame at any time, most of what you are about to do is totally harmless in terms of car integrity).
Once you’ve unscrewed all of those check the inside of your door handle, you’ll likely find one screw in there (the part where your door lock probably is). Next look for little plastic caps on the actual pull handle (the bit you’d grab to slam the door shut rather than the bit you pull to open it when it is closed). You’ll use your trim panel tool or (if you are like me) a flathead screwdriver and a bit of internal harsh verbiage. Once you’ve popped off the (likely two) caps you’ll unscrew two more screws. These will look different than all the ones you took off the edges of your trim most likely. Put all like items together in piles for later.
Next you’ll run your Trim Panel Tool along the edges of the door and give it a nice tug (think prying open). There are clips that hold your door into place, if you managed to remove all of your screws then the door should pop out from the frame just beyond that point you are comfortable pulling. It’s like if you are pulling at an 8 and you feel that 8 is WAY too hard, 8.1 is about what you need to actually remove it. That ability to know that you are being too gentle is what separates the average sucker like you or me from those guys getting hundreds of dollars to do this silly install.
Once you’ve popped the bottom, left, and right side you’ll likely now lift the door panel straight up. Literally straight up. It’s being held on by gravity in a groove on the top of your door frame just inside the window. Next you’ve likely got that door handle and a hole that it doesn’t look like it’ll fit through. At this point you might start trying to force it through and thinking “This was a bad idea” but just take a breath. Look inside your door panel from behind and see if there are any electrical connections to the door frame (there will be at least one, maybe only one). Disconnect this because we don’t want to break it, that would suck.
Once disconnected turn your entire door panel 90 degrees. You should notice that that once impossible shape to fit through that once impossible hole is now not only possible but it probably already slipped through during your moment of stunned silence.
Put the door panel to the side. You are going to notice what appears to be a piece of tarp glued to your door and you might be saying “what idiot left that there?” It’s weather guard and you don’t want to break it more than you must. Try and safely pry it from the edges of your door. If you are lucky like I was you’ll take off 95% of the contact cement that was holding it in place. Put this aside and maybe tape any rips you’ve created. You should be able to stick this back in place later without buying more cement, I sure didn’t need any.
At this point you’ll notice a set of bolts in various locations on your door. Do not remove any bolts on the outside of your door (the bolts between your door and the car are holding that metal arm to the door. It’s not going to screw anything up but it will waste your time if you remove them. Since you’d need to put them right back >.>. I did this, so that’s why I’m telling you to not waste your time.
The bolts/nuts on the left hand side of your door are almost certainly holding the motor to the window in place. You’ll want to undo them and disconnect the motor from anything it might be connected to (its connected to at least one something, probably only one). It’ll fall into the door probably and this is fine, the stuff we are working with is going to break you before you break it (speaking from experience, poor finger).
Next you’ll have likely 4 bolts/nuts to remove in the middle or so of the door. Let’s wait on those for a moment. Take your window and lower it slowly until you see two bolts/nuts holding it in place. Undo those and lift the window right back up out of the way (and retape it). You’ll notice without the regulator that window weighs almost nothing. This is why I said earlier its not a huge deal if it falls on you. I’m able to lift it with my pinky, that’s usually my threshold for fear. Pinky lift? Not a threat.
Next remove those 4 bolts/nuts from the middle. At this point you have a big metal panel between you and the regulator and that’s just not going to do! This is where I gave up the first time, which is unfortunate, because I was like 90% done.
Move the regulator a bit away from the inner wall of the door and wiggle it to the right. At some point the wall should stop holding it up and its going to fall and probably startle you and you might clench your butthole a little. But once that’s over you’ll notice that you can just pull it out of the door. Check it for damage as this will tell you if your motor is broken or not (it probably isn’t the motor). In my case the plastic bit that locks the window in place just straight shattered.
I haven’t taken a picture yet but I may add one to this at a later date (or before I post it). Remove the motor from this shitty regulator and install it into your new beautiful shiny one. If you got yours from an awesome reseller like me they’ve already lubricated that thing!
Basically we work in reverse now. Slip the regulator into the door, its going to be a tiny bit of a pain in the ass so don’t fret and just stick with it. Be smart though because you are working around metal and it will take a bit of skin off you if you smack it hard (I have a small wound on my pointer finger on the left hand, doesn’t hurt but your mileage may vary). The first thing I recommend doing is sliding the regulator itself into place and bolting it in. Next before you finish installing EVERYTHING you’ll want to hook the window back to the regulator and then plug your door into the motor (this sounds like an unnecessary step but the next part won’t work if the door plug isn’t plugged in).
Once everything is plugged back in go to your battery and temporarily sit the negative connector back on the negative. Start your car into alternate mode (the mode just before the car starts) and try to (ever so slightly) raise your window from your door panel (the driver side door panel is fine, if that works the door itself will work). If it didn’t work there are a few possibilities. The first is that, like me, you didn’t have the door plugged in and apparently that is necessary to complete the connection. Alternatively your motor might be shot which sucks OR you’ve just got a blown fuse. But you better have checked that fuse thing before you got this far. In fact I’ll be right back, I’m going to add that to the top.
I’m back. Anyways lets assume that, like me, everything worked for you. Undo that negative connection again (after turning off your car)! Go back to your door (whichever one it is) and wiggle the motor back into place. Bolt, Screw, or whatever else your particular door needs to get it put back in securely. It’s going to probably be a tight fit for some reason, if you don’t get the angle just right those 3 to 4 screws refuse to go in flush. Once that is done check that every single thing inside your door is bolted, screwed, baptized, whatever else it needs to be to the safest tightness you can manage. Don’t strip things, and don’t break your window by tightening the window screws too much, but don’t let things rattle either. Because you will hear rattling if you are lazy (though its a simple fix of just tightening them later if that’s the case).
Once its all done and you’ve triple checked you’ll put up the weird weather guard thing and stick it into place. After that is finished we pick up that door and slip the handle through. Connect all the connectors that are still not connected and then slip it down into that crack between the door and the window. It will either go the first time or after about six tries and you interrogating it (“Why the hell won’t you go in?!”) Once that is done snap all the connectors back into place (basically just push it into place, things will snap). Then take your screws and put them in. I recommend starting from the outside and working in but your mileage or strategy may vary.
Next the moment of truth! Look down at your feet. Any extra parts? If yes, start rewinding your mind Sherlock style and see where you went wrong. If no, you are probably 100% good! Connect the negative once again, test out the window, and if it works you can tighten that negative as well! You have just saved yourself a bunch of money and learned how your car window and door work! Kinda neat right? I know I had a blast.
Since your hood is open you might want to take this moment to check your oil too. You’ll see a little finger hole pull between your engine and the grill of your car. Just slip your finger in there and pull out the long metal stick. You’ll notice oil all over the end, wipe that off with a paper towel and stick it back in. Then pull it back out one more time and check the end of the stick. You’ll see an F and an E on it. If the oil is all over the F you are great! If you are getting anywhere close to E you’ll want to get your oil changed.
I have not done this before but this might be one of my next projects. Actually that’s not necessarily true, my next project is fixing whatever is causing my electric door locks to lock but not unlock. Good times to be had for certain!
Thank you for reading this and I hope it was informative for you. I didn’t have any pictures unfortunately but this should get you through the installation on absolutely any car.