I was watching a teenager try to remove the window crank from his first car the other day, and it struck me that there are folks out there who’ve never suffered through it before. For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure, let me assure you that you won’t need the above tool in most cases.
Ah, the old window-crank removal game — it can be super-frustrating and time-consuming, however I benefited from a cantankerous mechanic taking pity on me about 17 years ago, and I will now pass that knowledge on to you. When I did the procedure this weekend the entire thing was over and done with before anyone could grab a camera, so these pics are some I found at ColoradoFans.com.
The first order of business: grab a screwdriver and wedge it between the door panel and crank. There’ll often be a plastic disc in between there as well as a clip. You may not be able to see the clip very well, or at all in some cases.
If you can see the clip, start stuffing a rag in the space where the clip is. If you can’t see it, make a guess which side of the disc the clip is on. If you’re wrong the worst that’ll happen is you’ll have to repeat this. No harm done.
Now using a flossing or shoe-shine motion (whichever analogy you prefer) work the rag back and forth, applying a little pressure. Most of the time the horseshoe clip is facing with the prongs down toward the handle, in which case you’ll want to work the rag around so the rag is hitting that part of the shaft. But sometimes it’s the other way, and you’ll need to spin the rag around and work that side of the crank.
If everything goes well you might hear a tiny pop. You might be rewarded with the clip flying loose. Or you might hear nothing. In any case, try and remove the crank. If it doesn’t come loose, try again on the other side of the plastic disc or the reverse side of the shaft.
Note: Don’t lose the clip. You’ll need that to put the crank back on.
Installation is pretty simple as well. Just reassemble the crank/clip/disc and position the clip so it’s stuck on the crank in the slots but the prongs don’t go in them. Carefully position the crank in place and nudge the clip home with a screwdriver once it’s seated.
I’m sure there are situations that might require the actual removal tool (perhaps some friendly gear-heads reading this will fill in the specifics), but I’ve never used one and this method seems pretty universal.