Car Window Rattles When Closed? 2 Common Causes & Solutions

Hearing at least some type of noise while driving is unavoidable, especially if your car isn’t completely new. Still, some sounds — notably your window rattling — can be more annoying than others.

Aside from being irritating, these sounds also let you know that something is likely wrong with your window. I’ll go over all the possible causes below and follow them with the solutions you can try to fix the issue.

What Causes a Closed Window to Rattle?

Generally speaking, there are two issues that can cause your car window to rattle when closed:

  • Faulty window gaskets;
  • Faulty window regulators.

Let’s discuss both options.

Faulty Window Gaskets

Made of rubber, window gaskets have a simple purpose. Namely, they keep your car windows steady and in place, no matter how much vibration and rattling they sustain as you drive.

However, due to the material they’re manufactured from, these window parts easily thin with time. Alternatively, they can also shrink or get damaged, causing them to lose grip on the windowpane. As a result, your window gets more space to move and, by extension, rattle as you drive.

In the beginning, this noise will only be audible when your window is down. However, if you ignore it, the gaskets will keep wearing out until the noise starts occurring, even when the window is fully closed.

A good way to check if the gaskets are causing the noise is to try rattling the window yourself. If you can feel it move as you touch it, you can be sure that the gaskets are due for a replacement. The same is true if you can see visible cracks in them.

However, if you cannot find any gasket issues, your troubles likely lie in the window regulator.

Faulty Window Regulator

Another possible cause for window-rattling is a damaged or malfunctioning window regulator. They help you open and close your window, so it’s not surprising that they can wreak all kinds of havoc.

Most of the time, regulators malfunction because the bolts and screws keeping them in place and connecting them to the windows become loose. In such cases, the windows start rattling as you drive simply because they don’t have enough support any longer.

This issue will be equally noticeable whether the window is up or down. However, you will definitely hear it most while using the regulator itself.

Now, fixing the regulator is a tricky matter, as it usually requires opening up the car door panel completely. We’ll get into that a little bit later, so stay tuned.

How Can You Fix a Rattling Window?

Depending on the cause of the noise, you can fix your window in two ways.

Replace the Gaskets

In case your windows are rattling because of faulty gaskets, replacing this rubber sealant is the best way to go. It’s not too pricey, and it will ensure you won’t have to deal with similar issues for at least a few years.

To replace the seal, you’ll first have to completely remove the existing one. For the best results and the least amount of hassle, do it with a flathead screwdriver. Once you’re done, remember to also remove the glue left behind the rubber.

This WD-40 multi-purpose spray will be a great solution in that regard, as it’ll make sure every little piece of the glue is entirely removed. When you’re done, you can clean everything up with a damp cloth, sand the edges of the window, and apply a quality adhesive.

Make sure there are no gaps, as leaving even the tiniest of them will lead to rattling once again. Finally, apply a layer of silicone lubricant to prolong the adhesive’s lifespan, and you’ll be all set.

Replace the Regulators

Although the two causes behind window rattling are quite different, they come with similar solutions. So, if your regulators are malfunctioning, replacing them is the best option you can go for.

Now, how you’ll go about this will depend on the type of regulator you have: manual or automatic. Most modern cars come with automatic regulators, which let you control the windows via a button. However, older models have little levers that you turn to open or close the windows.

Naturally, these two regulator types require different approaches. In the case of automatic models, you’ll need to remove the bolts from the switch, take out the window switches, and disconnect the wiring harness.

On the other hand, manual ones require fewer steps. The first is removing the window crank pin, and the second is disconnecting the handle or lever from the regulator. A 90-degree pick can help you in both cases.

Then, your next step will be to remove your door panel, and it’s the same regardless of the type of regulator you have. The tools you’ll need are a screwdriver for any bolts and a pry tool for the panel itself.

Once you reveal the regulator, you’ll be able to assess it. In some cases, you might just have to tighten the screws connecting it to your window. And in others, you’ll have to replace it altogether.

If all of this sounds a tad complicated, worry not — it is. Actually, most people don’t even attempt doing it on their own, as the chances of doing more harm than good are pretty high.

So, if you’re sure you need a new window regulator, take your car to a professional. They’ll have done a replacement a thousand times, so everything will be over quickly. Plus, you won’t risk damaging your car even further.

In Conclusion

If your window rattles when it’s closed, you’re either dealing with worn window gaskets or faulty regulators. In the former case, replacing the gaskets is a quick and easy solution that most people can manage on their own. And in case of a damaged regulator, taking your car to a mechanic is a better plan.

Hopefully, this guide gives you all you need to reduce noise and enjoy your rides to the fullest.

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