I have an idea what may have failed but before I take my door off I thought I should ask here:

The drivers window switch has 5 positions, open (one press takes the window all the way to the bottom), down (while button is held), off, up (while button is held), and close (one press takes the window all the way to the top)

This week some interesting symptoms began:

  • both the automatic positions have failed
  • I can hold the down button to open the window, but when I press move it to the up position it moves about an inch before stopping. I need to repeat this numerous times to get the window to the top

Could a failure of the Window Shut sensor cause this? This is my current assumption, and when the weather improves I will check - I'm guessing that if that sensor failed in such a way that it always thinks the window is at the top, the auto would fail, the safety cutoff will let me press up but will then stop the motor, and the down functionality will be okay.

Update - looks like there is no Window Shut Sensor, but instead the motor and switch have some circuitry which measures resistance. The garage tried to check it today but it turns out the switch unit is non standard (they used one off a UK spec Forester, and pressing window up locked the door :-) - but their diagnosis is that it is probably not the motor. Once they get a new switch unit ordered they will fit it and we'll see if that's what it was.

  • I think you're on the right track. some cars will reset themselves the next time you close the window completely, others have special reset procedures. If you let us know what type of car, maybe someone has specific experience, else you can call a dealer and ask.
    – mac
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 15:18
  • Litchfield Subaru Forester STi - Japanese import to UK. Pretty certain the windows are standard spec.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 7:59
  • Door actuator or its module could be the culprit. Sometimes, the soldering could be loose on that module. Use a Subaru scanner (not a generic OBD2 scanner) to read manufacturer specific codes, which provide details about that door problem.
    – RainDoctor
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 8:36
  • Rory how was your issue eventually resolved? Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 22:52
  • Hi Miran - it hasn't been yet. The diagnosis is that the actuator module is faulty and will need replacement, but that will take at least another month to come from Japan.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 8:23

2 Answers 2


How old is the car? I think it's worth checking the fault codes, as sometimes a fault code can prevent an action like that. Clearing the fault codes can really improve a car if it hasn't had a computer connected in a while. Any faults which are persistent will come back and can then be worked on.

  • It is 6 years old, but was serviced about 3 months ago. It has a full Subaru service history - serviced at least every 10k miles. I will take it to the dealer when I get a chance - see if they have a quick fault code diagnosis.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 7:58

Unfortunately there were no useful fault codes internally, but the fault was resolved to being the actuator switch for that window.

A replacement was the only course of action.

Update - got the full diagnostics. Turns out the switch had a fault which damaged part of the motor, so both were replaced!

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