Replacing a Corolla Window Motor (DIY Car Repair)

I took my car in to get it emissions-tested recently and asked the technician not to roll down my automatic window, afraid that it would get stuck in the “down” position.  He offered to give me a free estimate to get it fixed, saying that it could cost as low as $50.  Well, not having any cash flow, I wasn’t quite sure I really needed my window fixed, and so I didn’t want to waste his time.

“Are you sure?” he asked.  “People don’t realize it really doesn’t cost that much.  And for the convenience, I think it might be worth it.”

Free estimate.  Why not?  It would be good to know how much it would cost to get it fixed, even if I couldn’t afford it at the moment.  I eventually wanted it fixed.  It has been an extremely annoying inconvenience, especially the time I drove to a friend’s Galveston wedding in the pouring rain.  I feared that I would arrive at the wedding soaking wet if the window didn’t close after I had opened it to throw some coins into the toll bucket!  Thankfully, it eventually closed without TOO much resistance…

As low as fifty bucks?  Not even close!  The total quoted, parts and labor plus other charges amounted to $262.54!!!


Okay, so that’s a definite no.  Not in the budget.  But while waiting to get the estimate, my hopes had been raised at the thought of a working window!

So….  I love the internet!  What did we do before it?  So, I found what seemed to be the same exact A1 Cardone part (the part number listed by the shop is not a Toyota part number) on SEVERAL websites with prices comparable to each other – about 50 dollars plus a refundable 50 dollar “core” charge.  Nothing near the $130 the auto repair station was going to charge.


So, I bought it… despite the vendor telling me it wouldn’t work in my car (see Jan 11 blog).  After shipping and handling both ways and after the core refund, the part would cost around $60.

What I love about using a remanufactured part from A1 Cardone is that my old motor won’t end up in the landfill – it can be rebuilt, remanufactured, and reused!  Well, that would have also happened with Firestone if I had let them do the work, except Firestone would have gotten that “core refund,” I’m sure!  Sure, A1 Cardone is making a nice profit, but Firestone would have made a much larger one!

So… All in all… $60 versus $260?  Or even $60 versus $130 for the part alone?!  And what kind of “shop supplies” would Firestone be charging me $6.86 for?  The only consumable that I used was duct tape.  All other tools used were standard, non-specialized tools that I already had on hand (Darn!  No excuse to buy a new tool this time!).  Instructions needed were included with the motor, in my Toyota owner’s manual (used to locate the correct fuse), and my Haynes manual (similar to a Chilton’s) that I already had.

Yes, I saved money, which is great.  But this is also what I do for fun…  Tinker with things.  I was originally very hesitant about even paying $50, but in the end, I enthusiastically paid $60!  Funny how that worked out!


Original Toyota part on the left; remanufactured A1 Cardone part on the right.


The motor mounted on the lift regulator.


The motor’s in the door!  Makes sense!


Duct tape kept the window from crashing down when I removed the regulator and the motor.  Is that duct tape worth $6.86 in “shop supplies”?

2 Responses

  1. Very impressive Jane! I have my own personal boycott of Firestone for various reasons, so I’m happy to see that you didn’t give them any extra money!

Leave a Reply