Power window

Power window

Power windows or electric windows are automobile windows which can be raised and lowered by depressing a button or switch, as opposed to using a hand-turned crank handle.

The first electric power windows were introduced around 1946 by Lincoln. [http://www.sae.org/sae100/history/timeline/timeline.htm] These are driven by a small electric motor inside the door and have come to be universal in the industry. Prior to that date, in the few vehicles offering this feature, the windows were driven by hydraulics or off the engine vacuum. In the 1950s, electric power was also applied to the tailgate window, in many station wagons.

In a typical installation, there is an individual switch at each window and a set of switches in the driver's door, so the driver can operate all the windows. However, some models like Saab and Holden have used switches located in the center console, where they are accessible to all the occupants. In this case, the door-mounted switches can be omitted.

Power windows are usually inoperable when the car is not running as the electrical system is not 'live' once the ignition has been turned off. However, many modern cars have a time delay feature, first introduced by Cadillac in the 1980s, called retained accessory power. This allows operation of the windows and some other accessories for ten minutes or so after the engine is stopped. Another fairly recent innovation, pioneered by Nissan at about the same timeFact|date=June 2007, is the express-down window, which allows the window to be fully lowered with one tap on the switch, as opposed to holding the switch down until the window retracts. Many luxury vehicles during the 1990s expanded on this feature, to include express-up on the driver's window, and recently, some manufacturere have added the feature on all window switches for all passengers convenience. This is done by activating the switch until a "click" response is felt.

Power windows have come under some scrutiny after several fatal accidents in which children's necks have become trapped, leading to suffocation. Some designs place the switch in a location on a handrest where it can be accidentally triggered by a child climbing to place his or her head out of the window. To prevent this, many vehicles feature a driver-controlled lockout switch, preventing rear-seat passengers (usually smaller children) from accidentally triggering the switches. This also prevents kids from using them as toys.

The American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims to be working on power window safety regulationsFact|date=August 2007, but has not established a date for their introduction.

See also

* Car glass
* Power door locks
* Power seat
* Power mirrors
* Sunroof

External links

* [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/07/05/earlyshow/living/parenting/main627497.shtml Power Windows Are Perilous] (CBS News)
* [http://www.popularmechanics.com/how_to_central/automotive/1272371.html Fixing Power Windows]
* [http://auto.howstuffworks.com/power-window.htm How Power Windows Work]
* [http://www.thearticlewriter.com/powerwindows.htm How To Repair Your Car's Power Windows]
* [http://www.kuester.net/en/produkte/tuersysteme/fensterheber.shtml Power Window Types]

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