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How to Fix a Window Crank

Posted by: Raj Kain

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Published On: Jun 14, 2024

Close-up of plastic window crank

Allowing fresh air and natural light into your home during the Canadian spring and summer months are just a couple of reasons why windows are such essential features in our homes. Let’s not forget keeping the cold air out during the winter! So, when a window crank malfunctions, frustration quickly sets in. That once smooth-operating window becomes a stubborn obstacle, hindering ventilation and sunlight control. 

Fear not! We’ll teach you how to fix window crank, from simple fixes to replacement strategies in this guide. Let’s dive right in.

Repair, Replace, or Reconsider

Before diving into solutions, let’s identify the telltale signs of a broken crank:

  • Slipping Crank: Does the crank arm turn easily but fail to open or close the window fully? This could be a sign of loose screws or misaligned gears.
  • Difficult Turning: Does the crank arm require excessive force to turn? This might indicate worn gears, a binding mechanism, or even rust buildup.
  • Complete Breakage: In the worst-case scenario, the window crank handle itself might snap off, rendering the window hinges completely inoperable.

Depending on the severity of the damage, you can attempt a DIY repair, replace the entire window crank, or consider a window replacement if the window itself is outdated or severely damaged.

Old white window and window crank behind a plant
Source: Canva

How to Fix a Window Crank 

The good news is that many window crank problems can be resolved with a little DIY know-how. Here’s how to fix window crank issues in three steps:

Safety First: Before we learn how to fix a window crank, gather your tools and ensure a safe working environment. You’ll likely need a screwdriver set and pliers. Always wear gloves to protect your hands, and work on a sturdy surface to prevent accidental falls.

1. Find the Broken Source

The first step is to remove the window treatment and pinpoint the culprit behind your crank woes. Is it simply a loose screw, or something more complex? Look for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, broken gears, or excessive rust.

2. Tighten Loose Screws

Sometimes, the issue is as simple as a loose screw or two. Inspect the crank mechanism for any mounting screws holding it in place. Tighten them gently using a screwdriver. Be cautious not to over-tighten, as this can damage the screws or the mechanism itself.

3. Realign Gears

If the crank turns with difficulty, the gears within the mechanism might be misaligned or stripped. While some DIY methods exist for realignment, this can be a tricky task. Here’s a general overview of how to fix window crank gears:

  • Access the Gears: Depending on your window design, you might need to remove a cover plate or access the gears from the inside of the window frame.
  • Identify Misalignment: Look for any gears that seem out of place or not meshing properly.
  • Realign the Gears: Carefully adjust the gears by hand or with pliers (depending on the mechanism). However, if you’re unsure about this process, skipping this step and proceeding to the replacement section is best.

Limitations of Repair 

While these DIY methods can tackle many common window crank problems, it’s important to acknowledge their limitations. Extensive damage, stripped window crank gears beyond repair, or specific crank types with intricate mechanisms might necessitate professional intervention or a complete window replacement.

Close-up of a window installer closing a white window
Source: Canva

How to Replace a Window Crank 

If a simple fix isn’t the answer, replacing the window crank might be the best solution. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Identify The Crank: Replacing the crank effectively hinges on finding the correct replacement model. Look closely at the crank itself or the window frame for any identifying marks or model numbers. You can also try searching the window manufacturer’s website for replacement parts based on your window model information.
  2. Otherwise, Get a Universal Crank: If you cannot identify your crank’s exact model, a universal window crank can sometimes be a suitable replacement. These typically have a more generic design that can be adapted to fit a wider range of window types. However, remember that a universal crank might not offer a perfect fit or match the aesthetics of your original crank.
  3. Remove the Old Window Crank: This typically involves unscrewing the screws holding the crank mechanism in place. Be mindful of any small components or springs that might detach during removal.
  4. Align the New Window Crank: Position the new crank in place, ensuring proper alignment with the window opening mechanism.
  5. Secure the New Window Crank: Once aligned, use the screws provided with the replacement crank or the originals you removed to secure it firmly in place.

💡TIP: Before replacing the window crank, it’s a good idea to clean the window first.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Window Crank

The cost of replacing a window crank in Ontario depends on several factors.The price of the replacement crank itself can vary depending on the model, material (plastic, metal), and retailer. Expect a range of $10 to $50 for most window cranks.

If you choose to hire a professional local window installer, the labour cost will be an additional factor. This can vary depending on your location and the complexity of the installation. Expect professional installation to cost anywhere from $50 to $150.

💡 Important note: While replacing a window crank can be a DIY project, it’s important to be realistic about your skills and comfort level. Consult a professional window installer for complex crank mechanisms, extensive window damage, or any step you’re unsure about. This ensures a proper replacement and avoids any further damage to your window.

Close-up of old window crank
Source: Canva

What If Nothing Worked?

Is your window handle broken beyond repair? Sometimes, extensive window crank damage or outdated window models might necessitate a complete window replacement. While replacing a window is a more significant undertaking, it can be an excellent opportunity to upgrade your home’s aesthetics, energy efficiency, and overall functionality.

Burano Doors: Your Window Replacement Solution 

If your window issues go beyond knowing how to fix window crank, Burano Doors can be your one-stop shop for all your window needs. We’ve been serving Ontario homeowners for over 40 years, offering a wide selection of high-quality vinyl windows designed for beauty, durability, and energy efficiency specifically for our climate. Our windows come in various styles and materials to complement any home’s architectural style.

Contact Burano Doors today for a consultation and explore the possibilities of transforming your windows from a source of frustration to a point of pride in your home.

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