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Although the modern preference is for electric windows there are still many motor vehicles that employ a manual window winder mechanism. There are three main variations on the mechanics involved in lowering and raising a window with a manual window winder mechanism.
The first of these is known as the mechanical linkage with scissor action. The rotation of the window handle causes a toothed regulator within the door panel to work. This toothed regulator is connected to a sliding arm which, in a scissor-like action, retracts to allow the window to slide down. When the handle is rotated in the opposite direction the sliding arm pushes it back upwards.
The cable and pulley window winder mechanism raises and lowers the window through a set of cables and a pulley. The cables attach to the window and when the handle is turned it causes these to lower or raise the window.
The rack and pinion mechanism is another frequently used window winder mechanism. The rack and pinion mechanism converts the rotational motion of the window winder handle to the linear motion required to lower and raise the window.
Whichever window winder mechanism is present in a vehicle, replacement parts or entire units are readily available from most major motor component suppliers in the event that the mechanism breaks down.