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How to Get My Windows off Track Fixed

Published by: Nina
Date of Publish:

A car window is one of the least components you would expect issues from. However, car windows are not immune from performance issues. For instance, your car window may get jammed or fail to work according to instructions. In addition, many window issues may make your car vulnerable to vandalism and theft or impact your driving well-being. For more information on how to repair a window regulator, please refer to How to repair a car window regulator

How to get my windows off track fixed

Common issue car owners face daily is windows off track. When the car windows are off-track, they usually roll up sideways instead of upwards. This usually prevents them from closing up entirely. Therefore, they leave a space at the top. Additionally, this misalignment issue may make the glass panes vulnerable to breakage. However, the good news is that you can fix this problem without taking your car to the mechanic. So, how do you do it?

How to fix off-track car windows

Many assume mechanical issues are the most frustrating when you own a car. However, an issue as trivial as a car window that won’t work properly can be irritating and stressful. The difference between mechanical and window problems is that you can resolve them without visiting the mechanic or spending too much money. For instance, below is a comprehensive guide for fixing car windows that are off-track;

Step 1: Gather the necessary tools

Like any other vehicle repair task, the first step is collecting all the necessary tools. For this task, you will need the tools below:

  • A trim tool to help you remove the panel
  • Flashlight to help you see the components behind the door panel properly
  • Tape to secure the glass as you work on the track and other components
  • Needle nose and vice-grip pliers to help remove and replace the parts
  • Screwdriver to help unfasten the fasteners on the panel
  • Ratchet to help you remove or realign the track

Step 2: Take apart all attachments on the door

Once you have all the necessary tools, you can move to the next step, removing all attachments on the door. The aim is to get the attachments out of your way when handling the rest of the repair process. Below are examples of the attachments and how you can remove them;

  • Start by removing the hand crank on the door panel with the problematic window. This should be as easy as gliding a hand crank remover beneath the attachment. Also, doing this will pop it off its place because it is held in place with a metal pin. Note that not all cars have a hand crank; some have buttons. Whichever mechanism you should take apart.
  • Next, remove the door handle using a screwdriver. You only need to unfasten the screws holding it and pull it off. However, you should note that this step may differ depending on the car model.
  • After the handle, you can access the power lock by removing its clip.
  • From there, remove the armrests and cupholders on the door panel. Note that some car models have more attachments than others. Therefore, a manual may help you remove the specific attachments on your model.

Step 3: Remove the inside door panel

Once the attachments are out of the way, you can remove the inside door panel. You will need a screwdriver to unfasten the pins and screws around the door’s perimeter. However, practice extreme caution, so you do not damage other components on your car door. Removing the panel will allow you access to the inside of the car door. Also, note that the process will differ depending on the car. The good thing is that there are only two types of door panel fastening designs for all vehicle models;

  • The basic door panel fasteners- this type uses screws along the door’s perimeter. Therefore, you can unfasten them using a screwdriver.
  • Non-standard fasteners- There are many types of non-standard door panel fasteners, some hidden. Therefore, the trick to unfasten them is checking the maker’s manual for diagrams and instructions.

After unfastening the screws or pins, the next step is popping off the panel. Again, you will need a thin, sturdy tool for this task. Start by placing the device under the door’s edges, then pressing it down gently until the panel pops out. Next, repeat the process in multiple spots around the panel to eradicate it. Finally, ensure to do this gently to prevent damaging or breaking the panel. Also, only pull it off once all its sides get unfastened. Note that a door panel removal tool can ease the job.

Step 4: Disconnect the cables and wires on the door panel

Once the panel is off, the next step is disconnecting the cables and wires. However, this may not be as easy on modern vehicles as on older models. For instance, the newest models have insulation and vapor barriers that may obstruct your access to the cables and wires. The good thing is that you can easily pull them back and disconnect the cables. This is the easiest part because all you need to do is to unplug the cables gently. Then, you can pry the panel and set it aside when done.

Step 5: Inspect the track

After taking off the panel, you can quickly assess the window track. This step will help you determine the true source of the problem. For instance, the track could be broken or worn out. Before doing anything else, you should use painter’s tape to secure the glass pane so it does not break and cost you more money.

Step 6: Star resolving the problem

After assessing the problem, you can start administering solutions. Below are a few things you can do, depending on the issue

  • Apply a couple of drops of lubricant (preferably white lithium) on the track if it is rusted.
  • If the track is bent, you can resolve the issue by pressing on it with the back of a hammer or wrench until it regains its original shape. However, this may not do the trick if the problem is too severe.
  • If the track is rough or dry, use adhesive to hold the window. However, ensure that the adhesive suits automotive applications.

Sometimes, the issue is too severe that the steps above may not resolve them. For instance, if the track is rusted and bent, it may be unusable. Therefore, the best resolution is to replace it. Below are some guiding steps for replacing the track;

  • Purchase a new track that matches your vehicle model or brand
  • Remove the glass
  • Remove the existing track carefully without interfering with other components
  • Install the new one
  • Gently put back the glass.

A user manual will come in handy if you are unsure about the proper procedure for replacing the track. Therefore, you can check the manual for specific guidelines or seek professional help. Additionally, the internet is a great tool for acquiring information. Consequently, you can search the internet for comprehensive guidelines for replacing the track.

Step 7: Check the motor and window regulator

The regulator is the mechanism that allows the glass pane on your car’s window to move up and down. On the other hand, the motor is the apparatus that controls the function of the regulator. Sometimes, the problem may not be on track. For instance, a faulty window motor or regulator can prevent the glass from moving. This may appear like an off-track issue because of the misalignment of the window. Therefore, assessing the motor and regulator would be wise.

You can use a voltmeter or a specialty scanner to assess these parts. This will prevent you from tampering with and damaging them if they are not faulty. However, if you discover an issue, you should resolve it by replacing the motor or the regulator.

Step 8: Test the mechanism

After completing steps 1-7, the next step is testing the mechanism to confirm if the problem has been resolved. Ensure that all the components, including the regulator and motor, do this. You can move on to the next step if the problem gets resolved. On the other hand, if the problem is still there, you may need professional assistance.

Step 9: Lubricate the track and put everything back

Once you have assessed all the components that help move the windows up or down, you can lubricate the mechanisms using an industrial lubricant designed for automotive. Finally, you can put everything back in its original position. Follow the procedure below;

  • Re-plug the cables and wires accordingly (follow the instruction manual)
  • Return the insulation material where it is meant to be
  • Reattach the panel to the door and fasten it depending on its design
  • Reattach the attachments you removed at the beginning of the process


Using a manual is one of the most important precautions when fixing your windows off-track. As simple as the task may be, failure to perform it correctly may result in more issues than resolutions. For this reason, professional assistance would be helpful if you are unsure about your abilities.

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