October 31, 2010

Car Talk

Tom and Ray try to speed up geezer car's electric window

Syndicated columnists

Dear Tom and Ray:

I've got a Buick -- a geezer car because I'm a geezer. It's wonderful at eliminating road rage, because it is completely incompetent at driving aggressively. The ride is mushy, and the mileage is mediocre. In other words, it's absolutely perfect. Except for one thing: When it is cold, the normally speedy electric window creeps up and down. It moves so slowly that I have to start lowering the window a half-mile before a highway toll. So my question is, What can I plug into the cigarette-lighter slot that will boost the power to the window motor? A cattle prod? A Tazer? I don't want a whole second battery. I'd like a more elegant solution, and hopefully a less expensive one.
-- Bill

Tom: Well, inexpensive might be tough in this case, Bill. And you definitely came to the wrong guys if you want elegant!

Ray: The two things I'd suspect would be the window motor and the window regulator.

Tom: Me, too. And since you want to shoot for a thrifty solution, start by asking a mechanic to remove the driver's-door panel and lubricate the window regulator for you.

Ray: The window regulator is the mostly metal contraption inside the door that holds the glass in place and physically moves it up and down when the window motor runs. Window regulators often get old and dried out and bound up. Kind of like my brother.

Tom: Sometimes just giving them a good cleaning and lubrication will make a tremendous difference.

Ray: Just like my brother!

Tom: If lubricating the regulator doesn't improve the window's performance, you may need a whole new regulator, a new window motor or both. And that's going to run you a bit more than a second battery (which won't help anyway, Bill).

Ray: You say that this Buick is a geezer car, Bill. But we don't know whether you mean it's a car FOR a geezer, or that the car ITSELF is a geezer. If the car itself is really old, you may want to fix this sooner rather than later, before they stop making parts for it. Good luck!

(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)


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