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Winter driving

Bit of an off-the-wall question here, but ever vehicle I’ve owned has had manual windows, and I’m contemplating purchasing a new vehicle here in the next year or so, and this vehicle will have “all the bells and whistles” ie power windows, and since I have messed up a crank or two while trying to roll down iced up windows, my question/concern, (phew!), is this: what is life like in the winter, when you own a vehicle with power windows, and what happens when you try to roll them down, and windows are iced over?

When a power window is frozen it moves a bit and then stops. If you put it back up it moves a bit and sometimes that is enough to break the seal of the frozen ice. Once you warm up the cabin of the car the window usually returns to normal operation.

In very frigid cold weather it can stay frozen for a while. If you try to force it you’ll risk breaking the window.

I’ve had a Taurus for a while with power windows. I find the windows won’t open when iced over. The drag on the window motor is too great. I’ve never had a motor failure from the window not moving. I assume excessive activation with no window movement can damage the motor over time (ie. unused energy transfers to heat and causes overheat damage to motor windings) But that’s an extreme case.

I’d recommend letting the cabin heat up for a bit before attempting window operation.

Power windows freeze just like manual windows. Scrape the ice off the outside and then et the cabin warm up before trying to open the windows. I have had power windows on every car I have owned since 1988 and have had no problems. I have had to replace crank handles on manual windows. I guess bells and whistles are fine–it’s hard to get a car without them. However, I think the 1957 Studebaker Scotsman had it almost right–absolutely no frills. Had Studebaker installed side curtains in place of roll up windows, the car would have been perfect.

I bet it cost Studebaker more to make black rubber trim pieces for the Scotsman than if they just stuck on the chrome ones from the regular models.

As I remember, all the bottom of the line cars had the black rubber trim around the windshield and rear window. This includes the Chevrolet 150, the Ford Mainline and the Plymouth Plaza of the 1957 model. It must have been cheaper.

alright, thanks everyone, just ironing out all the details before I drop 30 large on a new vehicle… not quite ready to put my Ranger out to pasture.

I always had manual windows until 10 years ago, when I bought my current car.

I prefer electric windows, because
a) I can roll them down and back up more quickly for paying tolls and using parking lot machines.
b) If a window suddenly gets fogged or iced up, I can roll it down without having to leave the driver’s seat to gain visibility.

Electric windows are like manual windows. They will break with too much force.

If a power window is iced up and you hit the down switch is moves just a bit and then stops due to the frozen window. The motor doesn’t burn up and the regulator isn’t damaged. It just stops moving.

When you thaw the window all goes back to normal. No bid deal. No damage done.

hey, yeah alright. been driving a few of our newer trucks at work, and noticed a few things about power windows: my biggest peeve is the fact that if you just tap the button initially, the damn window will go down all the freakin’ way! what’s up with that? seems to me a better approach is to have an auto-up feature, so you don’t have hold your finger on the button to roll the window up. When I need the window up, I need it up, and I don’t want to mess around, but when I just want it cracked, I don’t need it going down the whole friggin’ way, ya know? sheesh, friggin retard engineers…

Being as I am one of those evil smokers, who loves to have the windows open, I have had the frozen up windows, the electric motors quit, no harm no foul, but I have a brass blade scraper I run along the moldings to break the ice, then all is good, an 03 and all is still good!

Get some silicone spray and apply liberally into a rag. Wipe this on the rubber door/window seals, and on the matting surfaces of the doors and the edges of the windows. This will help prevent the doors/windows from freezing to the seals.


right-on thanks for the all the info, I may get around to trying the silicone trick. and I did try the scraper on the window the other day when it froze, (actually I used my finger nail, but same difference, lol), I bet my employer could save million bucks if they gave us, and more importantly people used - ICE SCRAPERS! :slight_smile: