The freezing temperatures that many winters bring are not only hard on the digits (fingers and toes), but can also be hard on power windows. Many of us have to prepare our vehicle for our morning commute by turning the engine on while we’re still in the house getting ready. This will take the bite out of the chill that’s been sitting in the driver’s seat all night, waiting on you. But at the coldest temperatures, freezing can take hold of the unseen parts of the vehicle, like the inner workings of the power window.
Even when you start the engine and let it warm up before leaving, the window could still be locked in place by the cold and ice. For whatever reason, you may still need the window to roll down, and find it still won’t budge. If the window does not roll down automatically, the worse thing you can do is to keep pressing the switch in an attempt to force the window down. The window’s motor will keep trying to move the window and repeated attempts can result damage the gears within the motor, which can mean a costly repair.
Sometimes the ice has built up in a manner that’s accessible to the driver, and the root cause can be addressed. The same damage can occur though, when a window motor is forced to work against the frozen mechanism. Waiting until the car’s interior completely warms up before attempting to roll down the window should be a good sign that the window’s inner mechanisms are not still frozen. However, these parts of the window may need additional thawing time. Often, accumulated ice on the outside of the window can be physically removed with an ice scraper to allow the window to operate normally.
The build-up of ice around windshield wipers can produce the same type of problem. If your windshield wipers are covered in ice and frozen in place, they will not be able to move. When you turn the wipers on, the motors can be damaged over time because they are working against so much resistance from the ice without being able to oscillate as intended.