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How does a power window regulator work?

Updated April 17, 2017

The window regulator in a car is the control that allows someone in a car to roll the window up or down. This function can be accomplished in one of two ways. In early model cars, the window in a car or truck was rolled up and down manually, by use of a turn-handle that connected to various gears within the door of the car. Now, however, it is far more common to see car and truck windows that operate with a switch or a button. These power window regulators operate under electrical power.

The window regulator in a car is the control that allows someone in a car to roll the window up or down. This function can be accomplished in one of two ways. In early model cars, the window in a car or truck was rolled up and down manually, by use of a turn-handle that connected to various gears within the door of the car. Now, however, it is far more common to see car and truck windows that operate with a switch or a button. These power window regulators operate under electrical power.

Rather than using the arm-strength of the passenger to turn gears within the car's door to open or close the window, the power window regulator uses a small motor. This motor, powered by electricity from the car's battery, provides the necessary energy to turn the gears and raise or lower the window glass.

The motor used to open and close the windows of a car uses a combination of gears to augment its strength. A long, spiral-shaped gear called a worm gear is connected to a number of spur gears, which are flat circular gears with teeth. The interaction between this series of gears provides enough force to raise and lower the window smoothly.

The bottom of the window is kept even by a long bar which has a groove in it. An arm is attached to the gears on one end, and lies in the groove of the bar on the other end. As the motor turns the gears, they move the arm up or down. The movement of the arm slides it along the groove, raising or lowering the window.

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About the Author

Vee Enne is a U.S. Military Veteran who has been writing professionally since 1993. She writes for Demand Studios in many categories, but prefers health and computer topics. Enne has an associate's degree in information systems, and a bachelor's degree in information technology (IT) from Golden Gate University.