Stubborn automatic window

The driver side window on my 2005 Lancer goes down okay, but when I raise it, it goes up very slowly and sounds like there is something scraping against the window. It started after the first ice/snow of the season after I moved up to Michigan (from Texas…where we don’t know how to deal with this stuff). I have an uncovered parking spot so at first I suspected that some ice got stuck in there during the storm, but it’s gotten significantly above freezing several times since this started, so I would think it would have melted by now if it’s just ice. It has gotten a little better since then but it’s still having problems, so I’m starting to think it’s some dirt/sand/other gunk that’s still stuck in there. Side note–this window never quite completely seals very well ever since I had some body repair done on that door…so that might have contributed to this problem.

Is it safe to continue using that window? It still “works”, it’s just slow and noisy, and it doesn’t seem to be doing any visible damage to the glass. Is there a risk of completely burning out the motor?

I’m pretty useless when it comes to cars, so how much does it typically cost to get someone to take apart the door and clean out whatever might be stuck in there?

For the record, I’ve never taken apart a door from a Mitsubishi, but I have done it for several of my Saabs and a friend’s Hyundai. It’s surprisingly easy. The only problem you can really run in to is that there are sometimes these ‘plastic tacks’ (not sure what they are actually called) that can break. If these break, you might have to replace them (they were only a few bucks from the Hyundai dealer), or door might be okay without them.

Only you can judge your own confidence when doing something like this, but I think it’s the only way to know for sure what’s wrong. There might be a little something caught in there causing the problem but we can only make guesses until the door is opened.

If you try to open the door, just start with any visible screws in the door jamb that might be holding on the inside panel. Or better yet, start in April because I think neither you nor any friends that are willing to help want to spend much time outdoors in Michigan in January.

There is a risk of damaging the motor, and you should probably minimize your use of that window for now. In every car, when you lower the window, the likelihood that you’ll be able to raise it again decreases everytime you do it. In your car, perhaps even more so.

From a shadetree perspective, an unlikely place to go for help with car repair is YouTube…often times you can find a video of whatever procedure being done. Try searching for “2005 lancer door panel removal.” If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth? Beware, however, that since YouTube is a cesspool of home videos, some procedures may not be correct…but at least you can watch someone else do it and if nothing else decide if you’re comfortable trying for yourself.

Yes, there is a risk of completely burning out the motor. And it’ll probably be built into the regulator assembly in a way that prohibits replacing just the motor…and regulator assemblies are expensive. So I’d suggest not procrastinating on fixing it.

There’s another risk. Some years back, I dated a woman with a sports coupe with power windows. One day we drove into a “touchless” automatic car wash, rolled down the window, put in the coins, and drove into the bay, and…you guessed it…the window would not come up. Such a mess you’ve never seen. And yes, the soapy water makes your eyes sting.

Usually when I come acrpss a problem for which I cannot put my hands on documentation, I stop by the dealer’s service window and ask for an “exploded view” drawing of the assembly. They’ve always been happy to comply, in some cases giving me more than i’ve requested (such as the actual repair procedure). I’d suggest this route for this vehicle.

Your car uses a window regulator assembly with an integrated motor that drives a cable to lift the glass. The sluggishness could either be due to the motor wearing out and getting weak, or the cable becoming frayed in its housing and creating excess drag. I’m guessing the latter since you describe a scraping sound. These assemblies can be bought from a number of sources including, but I suggest getting one from the dealer. The saying “you get what you pay for” seems very true to window regulators, and if you get a cheap one, you may be changing it out again in a few months. Been there, done that. As for doing the work yourself, these things are surprisingly easy to replace as long as you are comfortable removing the door panel and working in the confines of the door. Use two or three long strips of 2" wide painter’s tape to hold the door glass up when you work on it so you don’t drop it into the door and break it, hurt yourself, or both.

Those cable operated window regulators are much more trouble prone than a scissors type regulator and are an abomination in the auto world; at least in my opinion.

I agree with you, ok4450. The only good thing about them is that they are (usually) easier to replace, but that is more than balanced out by the greater expense of the parts and the need to replace them more frequently. I learned my lesson on the cheap ones when I purchased one for $45 from an online vendor and it broke less than two months later. And, no, there was no reason for it to break other than it was cheap junk, no binding or resistance of any sort. It worked perfectly until it suddenly broke, sending the door glass sliding down into the door to be retrieved and propped into place when I had the time to remove the door panel and deal with it. I guess that will happen when they replace key metal parts with plastic.