Car Window Sticking – Moves like butter now


Sticking windows are annoying so too are windows that won’t close completely or worse still, almost close but open imminently by themselves. Aragh!! Not to worry, I’m a mechanic and I’ll show you how to nail this repair in just minutes.

Car windows commonly stick because the window runner seal has become worn and dry. Applying a coat of silicone spray lubricant will fix the problem.

In this post, I’ll cover why your window sticks and how to lubricate your window runner seal.

Why Car Windows Stick

Window seal worn

Your window runs up and down on a rubber-clad metal track, also known as a runner. The rubber covering, known simply as the seal, is important. It protects the cabin from the elements, wind noise, prevents irritating glass rattles, and serves to protect the glass itself. A pretty simple but important component then.

The seal is engineered for the job, it incorporates a fine felt coating which reduces surface contact with the glass, thereby reducing friction.

Problem is, the felt wears off with age. Weather, road grit, and lack of maintenance all help speed up the process. When the felt coating wears off, it allows the glass makes contact with the rubber beneath. And dry rubber causes a ton of friction. And when the friction outguns the window motor, the window sticks.

To be fair to sticking windows, they usually give us a ton of advance notice (slower window action) before actually sticking. Next, we’ll look at some of the symptoms before getting down to the business end of solving the problem.

Symptoms Of Worn Dry Window Track Seal

The symptoms of a worn or dry window track seal vary by the time of year, model, how worn the seal is, how good the car battery is. Typical customer complaints include:

  • Window binding
  • Window slow going up
  • Window stalls at the top
  • Window goes up, sticks and comes back down
  • Window stops in dry weather
  • Windows are better in wet weather

All of the above can be fixed with just a little silicone lube in the correct places, and that’s exactly what we’ll get up to next.

How To Lube Window Track Seal

Spraying silicone lube on the window track

This is a simple job and will make a huge difference to window performance. You won’t need a ton of tools to nail this procedure either.

You will need the following:

  • Silicone lube
  • Clean cloth
  • Window cleaner

It’s important to use silicone grease, it’s rubber friendly. Petroleum-based grease will cause the rubber to swell, not what we want. You’ll find a link to silicone spray here on the “Mechanics consumables page”.

The window seal lube process is as follows:

  • Roll window down
  • Apply a coat of silicone spray to the window track each side of the window, not the top
  • Roll windows up and down
  • Repeat the lube process on all door windows

Rolling up and down the window helps disperse the lube, repeat the lubing and window action a couple of times as needed.

The last step is – Clean the window glass. A smooth, grease-free glass moves like butter across the weatherstrip (strip of rubber at the base of a glass). We can’t lube the weatherstrip as that would smear the glass.

That’s it, you nailed it!

What Happens If I Don’t Lube The Runner?

Window seal worn out

If the track seals are ignored, you can expect some of the following to eventually occur:

  • Increased workload may cause electric motor to fail
  • Increased strain may cause the regulator to fail
  • Seals fraying
  • Window rattling
  • Wind noise
  • Water leaks
  • Scratched glass

All preventable with a little silicone grease applied a couple of times a year.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I've worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Landrover, and Jaguar dealerships. My passion is cars. I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of car ownership, including buying advice, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

Recent Posts