Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Window regulator repair cost

How much is window regulator repair cost?

If your car or truck windows won’t go up or down and you’ve ruled out the door switches, chances are you’ve got a broken window regulator. You can fix it yourself if you want to save money. But if you take it to a shop you’ll probably want to know the window regulator repair cost.

Why window regulators break?

In an effort to reduce vehicle weight, car makers change to a cable operated regulator window regulatorstarting in the early 2000 models. Instead of a large heavy gear driven regulator, a cable operated regulator relies on a much smaller motor and a cable winding system. The window regulator can fail in several ways.

• the plastic idler rollers break, causing the cable to bind and the window to go off its track.

• Once the windows goes off track, repeated attempts to open and close the window cause the plastic sash clips to break.

• the pinion gears in the winding mechanism break, causing the window to open or close only part way.

• the window regulator motor fails.

For each of these causes, the fix is to replace the ENTIRE window regulator. DO NOT kid yourself into thinking you can simply re-string the cable or replace just the motor. If you do, it will fail again. Plus, if the sash clips are broken, you’ll need to buy new sash clips and re-attach to the glass using a special glass epoxy from 3M (if you do the job yourself.

How to replace a window regulator

The actual window regulator replacement is fairly easy. It involves removing the door trim panel and the vapor barrier. Next, secure the window in the frame using duct tape and disconnect the bottom portion of the window from the regulator. Once the window is secured, remove the four or six bolts holding the regulator in place and slide it out of the door opening. Reverse the procedure to install.

Window regulator repair cost at a shop

Obviously, the cost depends on the labor rate at a local shop, but most window regulators can be replacing in about an hour. Most repair shops charge between $80 to $125/hr.

These new cable regulators fail so often than many aftermarket suppliers have entered the market, putting cost pressure on the car makers.

Here’s an example:

A genuine GM window regulator for a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu costs. Around $600 (customer retail price). However, an aftermarket window regulator retails for around $150 (lifetime warranty). So your complete window regulator repair cost should be around $230 to $275.

If the sash clips are broken, add in another half hour labor and an extra $40 for the cost of new clips and special glass epoxy.

window regulator adhesive©, 2016 Rick Muscoplat






Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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