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2001 Toyota Solara: Replace Window Regulator Unit with New or Used?

Hello all,

The motor/regulator unit for the driver’s side window on my 2001 Toyota Solara convertible is shot. I can find a used (but apparently well-functioning) replacement on Ebay for ~$100CDN, whereas the shop will charge me >$650CDN for a new factory unit.

  1. Which course of action would you recommend?
  2. How difficult would it be to replace this part myself on a convertible (ie., to save on shop fees)?–if it’s not too difficult, maybe even if I have to do it two or three times in the next 10 years, I’d still be saving money over the new factory part??

Thanks for your help,

First things first if you are inclined would be to take the door panel off and see if one of the cables has snapped. If so then you most likely will need a whole new regulator unit along with a motor. As to trying to repair it yourself the Internet is your friend here but usually these types of repairs take a lot of patience. When you try to roll the window down does it go down? Or is it the motor that’s gone bad?

This might be useful for you

Rockauto has the motor for about $100. Are you sure you need the regulator?

Thanks for the feedback @“John Andrew McCormick” and @texases .
I’ve taken off the door panel, and the cables seem to be intact (there also wasn’t the noise/drama described in the blog; the window just stopped working–in the up position).

How can I tell if the regulator itself is functioning well?
I’m afraid to take the regulator/motor unit out, because it’s a convertible (with no metal frame around the top of the window). In the online videos, I’ve seen this done on non-convertibles, where they just tape the window to the top of the window frame–but what will happen to the window in my case? (i.e., what do you do with the window when removing the regulator unit on a convertible?)

Appreciate your feedback,

On the convertible, you apply a suction cup to the glass to prevent it from falling into the door.



Check out this picture of a Solara convertible

suction cups will NOT work :wink:

What you CAN do . . . jab a fat plastic wedge between the glass and the inner “scraper moulding”

I had to do that a few times . . . several years back, on the freeway my driver’s window started to fall down, because the regulator broke. Fortunately, I happened to have that wedge sitting on my passenger seat. I grabbed it and jabbed it in there, before the window fell all the way down. When I arrived at my destination, I pulled the window all the way up and kept it there with the wedge. And it stayed that way until I got my hands on another regulator. My motor was fine, by the way, and I transferred it to the new regulator

But it has to be a really fat plastic wedge. The small ones that you use for popping off trim panels will not work.


Since you have the door panel off . . . is the motor getting power and ground when you press the switch?

That would be the first thing to check, before buying any parts :smiley:


The suction cup will work.

The OP states the window is stuck in the UP position.


@DIY_Wannabe When you press the window switch to roll it down do you hear the motor running ? Or is there just nothing ? It sounds like the motor has just gone bad

Had to replace a motor as motor and regulator are one in the same. I had to drill out rivets, and replace with bolts, thinking it was a salvage yard part, Price I do not recall.

Probably the most common cause of this symptom is a broken wire in the door hinge area. As the door is repeatedly opened and closed the wires going to the door flex and eventually break. Second most common cause is a defective up/down or master switch. As @db4690 posts above, check for the proper voltage at the motor terminals while a helper presses on the switch. Most of those operators are simple DC motors which rotate one way if the two terminals have + and - respectively, and the other direction with - and +. If you don’t know how to do this, either ask someone who does – like a shop – for help, or if you still want to try it yourself, post back.

Thanks for the feedback folks.

@Tester I’ve ordered the suction cup; thanks for the tip. Question: Do I not need to unbolt the regulator from the glass anyhow? In which case, should I not just take the window out?

@db4690 @GeorgeSanJose @“John Andrew McCormick” There is no sound from the motor or warmth to touch when I hold the switch. I’ve tested the wires at the switch box, and the connections seem to be okay… Is this the same as checking that the motor is getting power and ground? When I look into the compartment, I can’t see how I’d test the connection at the motor directly. (Or would that part have to wait for removal of the regulator/motor unit?) This is definitely something I’d like to do for myself, but I’ve never done this before.

I’m assuming that the motor is shot at this point; I’m waiting for a suction cup to remove the motor/regulator unit with the window in place (or, as I asked above, should I just unbolt the window and remove it?). What I’m not so sure about is whether the regulator is still functional. Is this easy enough to test manually once the unit is removed?

Thanks again,

There is no sound from the motor or warmth to touch when I hold the switch. I've tested the wires at the switch box, and the connections seem to be okay.... Is this the same as checking that the motor is getting power and ground?

It depends on what you mean by “I’ve tested the wires at the switch box”.

It’s good to know you want to learn to do some basic car tasks yourself, based on your handle. Let me ask you a question about your prior diy’er experience though. Would you have the tools, equipment, and ability and confidence to get an accurate and repeatable measurement-- if someone asked you to do it – to measure the voltage to within 100 millivolts accuracy at the battery both with the engine off, and with the engine at idle? What about measuring the voltage drop between the battery and the starter motor during cranking, both + and - , could you do that?

The reason I’m asking is b/c if you are just starting out as a diy’er, and aren’t confident you could do the above tasks, solving this window problem you have isn’t a good place to start. Not by yourself anyway. You would better serve yourself to get someone more experienced to show you the first time, or pay them to do it and you watch and ask questions.

When medical students learn to remove an appendix, they don’t just read that chapter and start cutting. They watch the procedure while an experienced physician who’s done it before shows them how it is done. That’s the best way to become a diy’er driveway auto mechanic.

Fair enough, @GeorgeSanJose ; if the appendectomy analogy reflects the difficulty of this repair, I’m not above getting it done at a garage. To answer your questions above, no, I don’t have a voltmeter; when I said that I tested the wires at the switch, I was referring to a test light. When I first got a quote on this repair, the mechanic had a quick look in the door: he didn’t report any electrical problems, but simply said that the motor/regulator unit should be replaced since he believed the motor to be defunct. When I asked if we could just replace the motor, he replied that his source didn’t sell them separately.

So what would be especially helpful is if there was some way that I could confirm, within reasonable probabilities, whether it’s just the motor that’s shot, or the regulator too. While I’d be paying for an hour of shop time either way, the cost difference if I supply the part (especially if it’s just the motor and not the whole unit) is significant.

Alternately, I can buy used-but-apparently-well-functioning regulator/motor units on eBay; again they’re much more affordable than the shop quote for the new factory part. I wonder if this would be worth the cost savings, or if it’s too risky to buy sight-unseen?

It would certainly be nice to watch repairs being done; unfortunately, in my experience a lot of shops aren’t fond of this, and can make it difficult logistically alone (by giving vague and long time estimates).



You will need to remove the glass from the regulator.

But here’s the problem.

You have to lower the glass to a certain point to access holes on the inside of the door panel. This allows access to the screws/bolts that secure the glass. But the window is stuck in the up position!

So unbolt the regulator, and slowly lower the window until the hardware aligns with the access holes.

Apply the suction cup to the glass to hold it in position while the glass to regulator hardware is removed.


Another source for the regulator/motor is a local auto recycler or one of those places where you remove the part yourself, pick and pull I think is one. It’s usually possible to see what cars they currently have on hand at your local lot via their internet site. And they list the prices of the parts there too I think.

BTW: Dio you have a wiring schematic of the window motor circuit?

Let me get this clear. You already paid a mechanic to open up the door and check the motor, which he found to be bad. Or he did it free?

And then you had him close it up while you search for a used part. And now you want to open it up yourself to check whether the problem is the motor or the regulator.

Then you will go back to the mechanic to have him install that used part? Did you realize a large portion of the income for the mechanic is the mark up on parts?

I Had A Couple Windows Stop Operating On A Dodge (At About The Same Age As Your Old Toyota). After Checking It Out I Found That I Had Power At The Window Motors.

I was able to remove 2 screws from each motor “can”, remove it, and clean the commutators and brushes (carbon deposits), and put it back, fairly easily and quickly, without removing the regulator or the motor. It worked for the rest of the time I owned the vehicle.

On my grand Marquis I was able to unscrew the motor and then unscrew where the gear mechanism goes and cleaned and replaced the old worn out gears with new ones for $5. I’m not sure if toyotas regulators are made the same but it could be a simple fix like that… But it sounds like either a switch or motor problem.

To answer the other question about a used part… maybe. In my experience if the labor is hard, working in a confined space with tricky bits and things that are hard to see and manipulate, all what I imagine it’s like for you to work inside your car door, then I use new parts. The work involved is so much that the risk of getting a defective used part just isn’t worth it. You can order a new part from someplace like for under $100.