How to Replace a Window Lift Motor on a Chevy Cavalier


The Chevrolet Cavalier was manufactured with optional power windows, which use an electric motor to drive the window regulator. This motor can wear out or be damaged, but it can be replaced easily once you access it through the door panel. The average backyard mechanic can replace the motor in a Cavalier door in about 30 minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set
  • Screwdrivers
  • Plastic door panel pop rivets
  • Disconnect the battery by turning the positive terminal bolt counterclockwise and pulling the cable off. Store the cable away from the battery.

  • Remove the door panel by turning the screw inside the interior door handle counterclockwise. Turn the arm rest bolts counterclockwise. Store all of the bolts and screws in a safe location. Pull the power window switches out by prying the molding with a screwdriver, then disconnecting the wiring harness from them at the adapter plug. Tug at a corner of the panel to loosen the pop rivets that hold it to the metal. Pull the pop rivets out one at a time, working your way around the edge of the panel. It is normal to snap some of the rivets, as they are plastic and become brittle over time. They can be easily replaced on the panel before reinstallation by sliding the broken rivet out, then sliding a new one in. The panel will come off when all of the rivets are loose.

  • Remove the window motor by unplugging the motor from the wiring harness by pulling the adapter plug apart, then turning the motor mount bolts in a counterclockwise direction. Pull the motor directly away from the window regulator gears.

  • Replace the motor by pressing the new motor to the window regulator gears, then turning the mount bolts clockwise. Attach the adapter plug to reconnect the motor to the harness. Replace the door panel by positioning it and tapping the pop rivets into their individual holes on the metal door. Check all sides of the panel to make sure there are no bulges where the rivet did not enter the metal hole. Secure the arm rest bolts and door handle screws in a clockwise direction. Reconnect the power window switches and press the molding back into the door panel.

  • Reconnect the battery by turning the positive terminal bolt in a clockwise direction.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check the power window fuse for a broken filament before starting this procedure.
  • Use extreme caution when working on the electrical system of a vehicle.

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