Electric Window Needs Motor

My driver’s side electric window stopped working this week. I lowered the window to pay a toll and it wouldn’t go up again. I got it to a Subaru dealer (I was 2 hrs from home and it was freezing cold). They said it was the motor and would cost $425 to fix.

That was $400 more than I had… They finally used something else to jump the motor and close the window. Charged me $60 for the labor. (The window is still open a crack and it’s raining/snowing here. I’m calling them tomorrow to complain about that.)

They said I could maybe find a used motor online for about $30. Then the repair (at their shop) would cost $200.

Could you guys give me some advice about how to do this in the least expensive way? I’d wait to fix it if it were a different window. But I’m disabled, so not being able to use a drive-thru is a big problem. I also live on a VERY low income due to a serious illness.

1999 Subaru Legacy sedan, 140K miles. (Gotta keep it running–no options for a new car)

Thank you!

You do not need a motor. You said they jumped it? If that is true they just ran a wire to the motor and it ran. The little switch you push to close the window could be bad or a short in the circuit or a bad fuse. If it is true that they jumped it then go to a recommended shop (not a dealer) and have them fix it, or at least give you a quote. At dealer rates they charged you 30 min of labor(100-120 per hour) your local shop will vary but close to half or better. Good luck, and trust the independent mechanic. They want your buisness and really cost a lot less.

I was so reluctant to bring it to a dealer, knowing how they overcharge! But I was in a strange city and had no idea where to go. I thought it was puzzling that they could jump the motor if it was supposedly broken!

I think it’s the switch. When I went to close it, it felt like it popped or snapped, and that’s when it wouldn’t work. They supposedly checked the switch and said it was okay. Thank you for your help–

FORGET dealerships…ANY decent mechanic can fix this. You may or may NOT need a new motor. There is a a little gear-box full of plastic gears that it part of this picture too. Sounds like they just pushed the window up to get you going, The parts in question are called “power window regulator”… First, have another shop tell you EXACTLY what you need…

The worst part of answering questions on CarTalk is you can’t do the job for the person. I know I could correctly diagnois your window and fix it for a lot less than 425.00 (I never saw the totals on the many windows I did fix but I hope they did not cost someone 425.00)but I am limited to telling you I agree if they jumped the window and it moved it is very odd that it did not go all the way up.

Perhaps a combination problem with the switch and the run channel. I would like to know why they think its the motor.

Mechanics can’t work for free but 425.00 must be justified and not just blindly accepted.

The worst part of asking questions is that I can’t pay one of you guys to fix it! You obviously have the skills and honesty to do a good job.

The window looks closed all the way if you just look quickly. But driving it over 40 I can hear air whistling in. And when I look at it from outside, it’s clear it isn’t 100% up.

(To his credit, the service manager said if it were his car he wouldn’t spend $425 to have it fixed, but would look for a used motor and get it done cheaper.)

I priced a Buick regulator and motor combination for my 1998 Regal. The price is about $325 for OEM parts alone. It doesn’t take more than about 30 minutes if someone knows how to do it.

ChristieH1, my guess is that they did not “jump” the motor, but moved the window up by hand. I had a similar incident with the front passenger window in the Regal. Someone else lowered the window and couldn’t get it up. I pulled up on it and alternately tried the switch; it moved a little. After a few repeats, the window was up. They may also have pushed it up from inside the door after removing the door panel. If there is power to the switch but no power to the motor, then the switch is the problem. If there is power at the motor when the switch is pulled, the motor is the problem. Or the regulator is damaged. If too much power is needed to move the window, the motor automatically shuts down.

When they first looked at it, they said it needs a new motor ($425). I said “Can’t do it. Can you just close the window so I can drive home and deal with it another day?” They said they couldn’t-- it couldn’t be pulled up. Then they looked at it again and said oh, we can jump the motor by hooking something else onto it, for $60. I agreed. So I definitely know they jumped it.

Your info is very helpful.