Dear Car Talk:
The driver-side window on my 2002 Honda Accord suddenly rolled down on its own. Although I could hear a noise when I pressed the window switch, the window wouldn’t roll up!
The Honda dealer had to remove the door panel and replace the window regulator at a cost of more than $500. My service adviser said that in four years of working for Honda, he had seen only one other car with this same window malfunction!
My husband and I have never experienced this problem with all the cars that we have owned throughout the years, and I was wondering if you were familiar with this or ever heard of this problem before?
We enjoy your column very much. Thank you. — Inge
Inge, I think you are a victim of excessively lofty expectations.
Hondas are very reliable cars, but that doesn’t mean you can go 17 years without a single part failing. We’ve replaced plenty of window regulators over the years. And some of them on Hondas.
The regulator is a metal, scissors-like mechanism inside the door that holds the window glass. When you push the window button, it folds and unfolds to move the window up and down. Due to corrosion and use, after an eon or two, the welds will break, and the window will fall down into the door — never to be seen again until a repair is performed.
It’s almost always the driver’s door regulator that fails. Why? Because that’s the one that gets the most use. When you’re driving alone, you use it. When you stop at a toll booth, you use it. When you want to practice your foul language on a guy who cut you off, you roll down the driver’s window. So it’s no wonder that it fails before the others.
The price you paid sounds a little high to me. Next time, you might want to shop around, and try a non-dealer garage, too. But I don’t think you can really complain too much about a window regulator that failed after 17 years, Inge.
I’d focus on the upside. You now have a new window regulator that should take you clean through the 2036 presidential campaign. Enjoy.
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