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Okay, I give up. I now see the benefits of power windows

Recently, I started a discussion about Sears’ overpriced car parts because I was shopping for a manual window regulator for my 1998 Civic. I discovered the hard way that, if I had power windows, I could have bought an aftermarket window regulator (metal, not plastic) for about $30. Unfortunately, because so few people wear out their manual window regulators, I couldn’t find any aftermarket window regulators, and my only option was to buy an OEM part for $100. (Well, I could have kept looking for an aftermarket unit, but after trying that once and getting the wrong part, I am tired of messing around, and I just want the right part.)

So I guess all along, it would have been more cost effective to have power windows than manual ones. My next vehicle will definitely have power windows.

Mea culpa!

I too was once a stickler for manual windows, mainly because I knew of a lot of problems with power windows, but never heard of any with manual. However, in recent years, none of my vehicles have had manual windows, if it was even an option. I can report that I’ve never had a problem with any of my power windows. So now I just tell my kids about having to crank up a window by hand way back when…

I’m afraid that I’ll be telling my grandkids one day that people used to actually talk to each other in person, rather than sending each other stupid, inarticulate, short messages over electronic devices. But I digress…


I hear you

In our fleet there are a few Explorers with manual windows

I suppose whoever spec’d them out thought they were being smart, by saving a few bucks


Now, years later, there are NO manual window regulators available ANYWHERE, at any price.

But there are PLENTY of electric window regulators available

I haven’t looked but have been suprised what I can find at Rock Auto online and they’re cheap. Worth a look

Rock Auto was where I tried to order an aftermarket unit. None of them said “manual,” so I ordered the only one that didn’t say “electric” and it was missing the part of the regulator that sticks out and the crank attaches to. I had to return it. Even when I called Rock Auto about the return, they couldn’t get me one with a manual crank.

@db4690, yeah, it’s crazy. Even on commercial semis worth $100,000, they are cheap about the power windows, making the driver’s side manual and the passenger side electric. That was the setup I had in my Volvo company truck, which I thought was ridiculous.

You’ll like this . . .

In Germany, there were a few cars sold, where the front windows were electric, but the rear were manual . . . !

That is weird, considering the driver might want to put all the windows down when he or she is alone in the car.

Yeah, I’ve got all power windows but their are some drawbacks. A week or so ago around Minneapolis, a guys SUV caught on fire. Neither his power locks or windows worked so he was trapped in the car. A passerby stopped, smashed the drivers window and pulled him out.

In the mail I got a funny looking thing with a hard point on one end and a razor blade in the center. I vaugely remember some kind of a free gift from someone but couldn’t figure out what it was. Then it hit me. The point is for breaking out a window if you have to and the blade is to cut the seat belt. Its in the car now just in case but we don’t usually drive on frozen lakes, but you never know.

Must be close to 20 years ago I was on an overnight trip with my son and other Cub Scouts. Needed to go somewhere, piled in the car and asked a kid to roll down the rear window- not a clue. Probably get the same reaction if they needed to use a rotary dial phone. I held out for manual windows a long time- still have them on the 2008 Matrix- but power windows are so reliable now I’m guessing I’ll never have a manual option in the future.

The last car I owned with manual windows was a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. The back windows were fixed in place. I did have to replace a couple of broken window cranks. However, there was a rack called “Help” at one of the auto parts stores where I could buy a window crank handle that looked almost like the original for about $5; I have never had a problem with the power windows on any the other cars I have owned. However, back in the 1950s, my aunt came to visit us in her 1948 Buick convertible. While at our house, she had a problem with the power window on the driver’s side. She would roll the window up and it would gradually lower itself. Those power windows were raised and lowered with a hydraulic cylinder and the seals went bad on the cylinder. I drove the car to the Buick dealer and it took the mechanic quite a bit of time to reseal the cylinder.


Did you try a “u-pull-it?” If they never break, they should still be on any cars that had 'em coming in. With a budget-priced car like that, I bet a fair % of the wrecks are so equipped.

I have only ever had one power window fail (dead motor) out of all the power window equipped cars I’ve owned (most of the cars I’ve owned), but had at least two of the crank handles get stripped on manual windows or otherwise had stupid problems with manual windows. I don’t know why anyone would want hand-cranked windows any more than why we would choose to light our houses with kerosene lamps. It’s not like power windows are a new, immature technology.

The last few times we had a problem with the power windows on our Plymouth Grand Voyager it was a $20 part that you needed to replace,I think we did that a couple times in the 20+ years we owned it. Never needed anything repaired with the manual windows on our '90 Mazda. Check out which might find a second hand part somewhere nearby at a auto recycling center, the one’s in my area seem to want $30-45 for the LH Front Manual window regulator (car-part asks you for body style and manual/power) so you could find something nearby.

The scissor type regulators work well but those cable operated ones are pretty much guaranteed to die.

I used to like manual windows but don’t have two friends to ride along and operate them. You know I’m telling a lie; I never liked manual window cranks.

To db4690
"In Germany, there were a few cars sold, where the front windows were electric, but the rear were manual . . ."
They are still selling them in all of Europe.

My power window failures have been a regulator on my Mistu Galant at 150K miles and a switch on a Dodge Caravan. Had to fix a few items on the manual windows too.

With my manual window cars, all of the cars were compacts and I could easily reach all of the handles and crank them from my driver’s seat, so it didn’t bother me. Now on a big SUV, that would be a bit difficult.


I haven’t lived there since 1999

I wasn’t sure if things had changed

The failures of power windows aren’t limited to the regulator/motor mechanism. I replace window switches that have failed. I repair wires that have broken at the door hinge area, caused by 10 years of flexing every time the door is opened. Power windows on late model cars often need to be programmed or initialized so the auto-down, auto-up, and auto-reverse features work properly.

I think aside from Whitey’s problem of finding a part at a price he was happy with, overall manual windows are cheaper to operate and repair.