Re-Initialization Is a Big Word

Re-initialization is a big word with big safety implications. Re-initialization is the resetting of the anti-pinch features of the automatic closing of an opening. This opening can include doors, sunroof panels, back glasses and door glasses closed by automatic means. The anti-pinch feature, built into the mechanism, is an automatic reverse that would free an individual’s head or limb caught between the panel and the frame of the vehicle. If the auto reverse doesn’t work properly, serious injury or death can occur.

The federal government in November of 2004 amended the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 118—Power-Operated Window, Partition, and Roof Panel Systems to include a new paragraph (S6) defining the regulation of “accidental actuation test.” This test basically states that windows that have automatic closing features must include the anti-pinch reverse.

How do we know if it has an automatic reverse? If it has an “auto up” feature, it has an anti-pinch reverse built in.

How do we know if it has to be reset? If you depress the control switch using the automatic feature, it will travel to the closed position but it will not stay closed. It will reverse. If you try it again, it will reverse again. This is an indication that a re-initialization is required.

Can we avoid having to reset the anti-pinch feature? That depends on what happens with the regulator between the times the glass breaks and when it is replaced. If the regulator movement exceeds the normal distance of travel during that time, then the reset is required. If the regulator remains within the range of travel, then it may not need re-initialization.

How do we reset the anti-pinch? Now that is the million dollar question. Over the last eight to ten years, the requirements to reset moveable glass have been all over the board. The procedures for some manufacturers have been quite time consuming while others take less than a minute.

There is some good news. Although Volvo still requires dealer involvement on most of their models, re-initializations on today’s vehicles are becoming simplified and most can be done in the field without dealer involvement. However, there are a lot of time-consuming re-initializations out there and we need to know how to complete them safely.

So do we know how to complete a re-initialization? The truth is that reset procedures are not easily obtained. I had to collect mine from manufacturers’ sites that charge for the privilege. It took me a considerable amount of time to wade through the automotive jargon and the pages of service manuals to find the location of the instructions. This is, however, something we must do to meet the FMVSS 118.

I am working to compile a complete list of re-initializations procedures. Until then, here are some basic instructions that will work on approximately 10 to 15 percent of the vehicles we see today.

1. If the door window fails to stop in the closed position and reverses down 4 to 6 inches, it means that the regulator must be re-initialized.

2. Once the glass is installed, re-attach the window control connectors to the window switch console.

3. Depress and hold the window switch to the down position until the window has reached its fully open position.

4. Continue to hold the down switch for 4 to 6 seconds after the window has reached full opening position.

5. Pull-up or depress and hold the window control switch to the closed position until the window travels to the fully closed position and the window is seated into the upper frame weather strip.

6. Continue to hold the switch for 4 to 6 seconds after the window is fully seated.

7. Then depress and release the “auto down” (open) switch and observe the window’s movement. It should open and stop.

8. Then depress and release the “auto up” (close) switch. It should travel and seat into the upper weather strip and stop without reversing.

9. Repeat several times using the automatic feature to confirm operation.

10. Lower the door window. Use a rubber mallet or piece of wood and place between the upper window edge and the upper door frame. Depress the “auto up” switch and observe window movement. It should make contact with the obstruction and reverse. If not, re-initialization must be repeated or the vehicle must be taken to the dealer for re-calibration.

If all of the resets were this easy, we would be very happy.