If you need a window regulator repair on a Skoda or some other Volkswagen group car then this article may help.
Luckily for all owners of these cars, the window regulator system is made pretty durable and long-lasting. Problems start usually with older cars (well over 10 years) as at this time material fatigue starts kicking in.
We’ll be showing this on a Skoda Fabia mk1 but the basic principle applies to other same-generation VW group cars. It may also apply to the next generation but also to cars in general.
WINDOW REGULATOR REPAIR-SYMPTOMS, REASONS, SOLUTIONS
If you’d like an explanation of window regulator repair in video form, take a look at the end of this article. There you’ll find our video which explains the whole problem for cars in general (although again the Skoda is used as an example).
This should perhaps give you a better idea of what the problem may be as well as how to solve it.
You can also watch the video on our YouTube channel.
1. DAMAGED WIRING INSIDE THE RUBBER SLEEVE
Sometimes the window regulator works fine and sometimes it doesn’t work at all, it may also stop working at a moment’s notice. It may stop and then continue working when you close or open the door.
Broken wires within the rubber sleeve between the door and door sil.
Wires over time tend to get brittle. Despite the fact that they are protected by the rubber sleeve, they still bend every time you close and open the door. This leads to them breaking completely, or even worse, partially.
Simply reconnect the wires. The usual place where the wires break is the bending point which is visible when you take off the rubber sleeve.
Lots of times only the copper wires inside the cable brake while the insulation is intact making this problem a bit harder to spot.
If you have this problem, try pressing the window button and then sort of „massage “ the wires between your fingers and if you notice the window starts working, you’ve probably found the problem.
Maybe a bigger issue is accessibility as it’s a pretty tight place to work on.
2. LOOSE OR DAMAGED CONNECTORS
The window regulator stops working completely or works intermittently.
Damaged or dirty connectors but more often, broken and disconnected wires at the rear of the connector.
Skoda Fabia has electric connectors on the door sil which are visible when you take off the mentioned rubber sleeve.
This is made for practical reasons as when the door needs to be taken off, disconnecting the wiring is much easier to do.
Again, mostly due to constant door motion but also material fatigue, these connectors may get damaged but again, the more common problem is broken wires on the connector.
Another reason is filth or rust on the connectors caused by water and moisture. This happens, for instance when the rubber sleeve is damaged and water leaks on the wiring.
Replace or reconnect the broken wires, if possible replace damaged pins in the connector or, in the worst cases replace the complete connector.
I must say on this part that this connector assembly on the Skoda is really well-made and seldom does it cause problems.
But if it is damaged or seriously corroded, by any chance, then completely replacing it is the solution.
But if the connector in the door sil is damaged, then maybe replacing the whole assembly would be best.
3. BROKEN OR DAMAGED WINDOW REGULATOR MECHANISM
The window goes up and down much slower than usual, sometimes stops and then starts moving again, and when lowering the window stops then suddenly falls a couple of centimeters.
Also, you may hear strange noises like squealing or clicking when using the window regulator which in the final phase turns into crunching, squeaking, cracking, and else.
With Skoda’s, the main reason for the mechanism failure is material fatigue. Although the mechanism and system are made very good, in quality and durable, this is inevitable.
The number one reason that causes problems is the cable within the mechanism. It may rust, jam, and eventually snap.
This can also happen if the mechanism suffered some kind of sudden impact, like when you want to open the window in winter but it’s frozen.
Also, the metal guides on which the window slides and the plastic sliders for the cable may get dry and lose lubrication which also puts stress on the whole mechanism.
Replace the whole window regulator mechanism.
When talking about window regulator repair, this one is pretty straightforward.
Know that any attempt of repair or improvisation on the window regulator may be possible but will be short-lived (like trying to change the cable, spool, or else). Just wanted to mention this as many people attempt this in order to save money and time, or because there’s a lack of spare parts.
The better solution is to buy a new mechanism and replace it. With the Skoda you have two options: either buy just the mechanism with the guides or buy the mechanism complete with the metal cover plate.
Regarding the metal plate, it’s meant as a holder for the complete window regulator mechanism but also as a sort of lid that closes the opening within the door. Once you see it, you’ll surely get the idea.
With the metal plate, there’s the advantage of less work. When you buy the mechanism without it, you have to drill the rivets of the old mechanism and then re-rivet the new one in its place.
While mentioning window regulator repair, know that replacing it is a pretty timely and somewhat precise work although on Skoda’s it is very work friendly and very well thought through.
It demands taking off the door trim with all the additional parts (door handle, switch, wiring connectors, and else), taking off the speaker, then the mentioned metal plate with the mechanism and other things.
All in all, it is certainly doable but prepare some patience and time ahead of you. If a trusted mechanic is doing this for you, it may be a timely but also costly job.
4. BURNT OUT FUSE
The window doesn’t work at all. When you press the switch there is no reaction whatsoever.
The most common reason is some kind of electric overload or worse, a short circuit.
The overload may be caused by a jammed or damaged window regulator mechanism which then jams the electric motor and then the fuse burns out.
Regarding the short circuit, the main reason may be a pinched or damaged wire somewhere in the system. The most common place is the wiring within the mentioned rubber sleeve.
Replace the fuse.
Be sure to replace the fuse with one that has the same amperage. Also, if it soon burns out again or immediately after replacement you must search for the problem. There is a short circuit or overload somewhere for sure.
If you want to read more about fuses and how to change them, click here to read an article and watch our video dedicated specifically to that topic.
5. BAD WINDOW SWITCH
When you press the switch you may not hear the distinctive clicking sound as when it works properly. When you press the switch it may feel mushy. Also, when you press it the window may not react at all or may work intermittently.
Again, material fatigue is the main reason since the button is pressed thousands of times. Added to this, if there was some kind of physical stress (like hard pressing or holding) it also affects the button life span.
Replace the button.
Find a new button (or the whole assembly) and plug it in. A fairly simple repair that you can do without removing the door trim, just parts of the handle. This is the case with the Skoda.
On this part, make sure to do proper diagnostics if the switch is the actual problem. You can use a simple 12-volt tester or multimeter to check the power input and output to the switch.
If you don’t know how to use a tester, click here to read an article and watch our video specifically on that topic.
We haven’t mentioned other parts that may include a window regulator repair or problems like a faulty electric motor or faulty weather strips.
These can also cause problems but, with Skoda’s this is very rare and really not worth mentioning as a common cause of trouble.
One more very important thing: try to make quality diagnostics of the problem before you start pulling things apart.
For instance, a simple broken wire can mimic a faulty switch, faulty electric motor, or else. Because of this, you can spend hours taking things apart only to reach this conclusion.
Another example, if you lower the window and hear crunching and squealing noises then you can probably start taking off the door trim without checking the power input, fuse, and else.
If there’s no reaction whatsoever, then check the fuse first.
Also, you may have noticed that certain symptoms for different problems are similar or even the same. This sometimes makes pinpointing the problem more complicated.
But all in all, in the majority of cases you should be able to diagnose the problem quickly.
Proper diagnostics can save you a lot of time, nerves, and money when making a window regulator repair.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO FIX A WINDOW REGULATOR (POWER WINDOW)-DIAGNOSTICS AND SOLUTIONS