Power Windows in Cars and the Interesting History Behind Them
Several automotive inventions have made the driving experience simpler and effortless. Many of such features have become standard in modern cars and we don’t give much thought to how big of a difference they’ve made. Power windows are among such features.
Power windows are responsible to raise and lower down the window glass with the help of a regulatory button. Unlike manual window regulators, the power windows don’t require a person to operate them with a hand crank, which was time consuming and tiring in comparison.
It is interesting to know how car power windows were invented and how it works. Let’s dig into the historic details about power windows and find out how they were invented.
When Were Car Power Windows Invented?
Packard 180 was the first-ever car to feature power windows in the 1940s. The first power windows were introduced in cars with a hydroelectric system. Before World War II, the hydroelectric system was used to raise and lower the vehicle tops in military vans.
Power Windows in Private Vehicles
Later on, in the late 40s, General Motors introduced the hydroelectric system in its power windows, convertible tops, and front seats. Meanwhile, Ford also followed the same paths and integrated the hydroelectric system in their high-end convertible cars.
In the 70s, Cadillac jumped on the bandwagon and introduced car power windows in its 75 Series limousines. They were the first ones to integrate the power windows as a drop-down window between the rear passenger and driver compartment. Then, by the end of the 70s, almost all vehicles boast car power windows as a standard feature.
Development of Power Windows over time
As technology is continuously evolving, the power windows have also become more efficient with time. The design of power windows kept changing considering child safety in mind.
- Previously the vehicles came with toggle switches which were easy to operate. However, they later on, came with a lever switch making the usage a bit difficult for kids.
- The mechanism of power windows has also changed with time – from heavy hydroelectric systems to electric motor systems.
- Wiring in the driver’s door allows them to control all the windows with only one controller.
Power Windows: Safety and Comfort
Since the 1990s, vehicles have been fitted with a force limiter to ensure passenger safety. In short, the window stops and lowers a few centimetres when it encounters resistance: a person’s fingers, an animal’s paw, a tree branch, etc. Same for the sunroof.
On (slightly) higher-end cars, the electric windows are said to be “impulse control”. This means that a short press on the control button is enough to make the window slide, without having to press constantly.
How Do Power Windows Work in Cars
- This auto-down feature is quite common in cars with power windows. When you press and release the down switch, you will see that the window will go all the way down.
- This type of feature uses a circuit that monitors how long the button is pressed. In case the button has been pressed for less than half a second, the window will go down completely.
- Also, if the button is held down longer, the glass will stop at the exact position it was in when you released the button.
- Auto-up windows are extremely rare, but they have the same working model.
How to Repair Electric Power Windows in Cars
Power windows rarely fail, especially during the first years of the vehicle’s life. When your vehicle gets older, it is the engine, the fuses and the relay that present a higher risk of failure.
Sometimes it is the power window mechanism can seize up, making raising and lowering the window difficult. In this case, you must remove the entire door trim to fix the problem. However, keep an eye on the signs that can alert you about the power windows not working.
Now you know the historic background of power windows, how they were invented and their uses. If you are looking for a car with fully functional power windows check out the listings of used cars for sale in the UAE.
If you find this guide informative, stay tuned to the UAE’s favourite car blog for more interesting facts.