Owners of classic cars or “good old reliable” cars often wonder if it’s possible to have power windows installed on an older car that came with traditional, hand-cranked windows.
The short answer is yes, you can have power windows installed. However, it’s a lot more complicated than just putting on some aftermarket pin striping.
Experts recommend that before you decide to have power windows installed, you have a very good reason to do it, because of the expense and complexity of the upgrade, and that you consider all the facts before making your final decision.
The mechanic must pull a lot of wires, drill mechanisms into the door, have the door retro-fitted for the mechanisms, and install the switches, which will also require custom cutting and fitting into the door panel.
The job can be done in less than a day for a technician experienced in such upgrades, but a responsible garage will make sure that you know all your options, and all the benefits and drawbacks of your choice before they install it.
Converted power windows must use aftermarket parts, usually a set of two aftermarket conversion motors. These kits come with cables that the mechanic must attach to the manual regulator. Other parts must be purchased separately, including harnesses, switches, surrounds, and possibly other parts. These add to the expense.
Some experienced mechanics feel that today’s power window conversion parts are inferior to their predecessors of a decade ago. They see car owners getting two to three years maximum from the motors in the power window conversion kits, before they need a power window repair job. Sometimes, if the windows are only used on rare occasions, the owner may get five years of life from the motors.
This is an important factor to be aware of. Before asking for an estimate for this kind of work, you may want to consider whether or not you are willing to bring in your car at a cost of about $325 in parts and labor to have that window motor replaced…every two years! It’s a major consideration to ponder before undertaking this kind of upgrade.
To many customers, this may be a reason not to choose the conversion. Another reason might be that you don’t want to mar the aesthetics of your classic car’s interior, especially if you’ve already put the work and/or the money to re-do it.
However, others may have physical limitations or enjoy the convenience of having those electric windows, and may consider the upgrade to power windows to be the one last thing that makes their beloved classic car complete.