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How to Fix Your Stripped Window Crank

A stripped window crank isn’t the end of the world, but it certainly qualifies as a frustrating problem to have.  Luckily, you don’t need to be a window expert or veteran handyman to fix this minor annoyance.  Fixing a stripped window crank doesn’t require many tools or know-how.  It’s a problem you’ll want to solve as soon as you can so you can open and close your window with ease.

What does a stripped window crank look like exactly?  A stripped crank can have broken gears or stripped splines.

old window crank knob

Match the Window Parts

It’s tempting to dive right into this project and remove the old window crank right away, but before you do, set yourself up with brand-new parts first.  After you remove the old stripped window crank, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.

Finding a new window crank can be slightly challenging if your windows are old.  Proper replacement parts can be hard to come by and for older windows, the exact window crank might not be manufactured anymore.  However, the Internet is a vast place, and there are many websites, companies, and third-party retailers that carry a huge collection of hard-to-find window replacement parts online.  You may be able to find generic cranks that will work with your window at home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes.

Once you have the new window crank in hand, you can begin your replacement project.  Chances are, your window won’t open or close because the old window crank is stripped.  With a new crank, you’ll be able to operate your window once again.

Remove the Original Crank

Because the original crank is stripped, you’ll need a screwdriver to pry it off.  Be sure to remove all accompanying pieces and parts like any mounting screws, especially if they are rusted or damaged.  You’ll be installing a brand new window crank and you’ll also want to replace the parts that secure the crank in place, too.

You’ll need to open the window.  To do this, turn the crank’s knob and push on the window at the same time.  Open the window so that the inner wheel of the crank’s arm that lines the inside of the track is centered on the track.  The inner wheel should align with the center notch in the track.

removing a old window handle

Next, push down on the arm of the crank.  This will pop the inner wheel off of the track.  You’ll then need to take off the window casement trim.  This is the trim board that sits in place at the top of the crank’s flange.  Usually, the casement trim is secured to the window with nails or screws.  Remove these with a screwdriver or a pry bar.

When you take out the crank, use a screwdriver to remove the screws that secure the crank flange to the windowsill.  Once the screws are taken out, you can then remove the crank itself.  You don’t need to keep the old screws or stripped window crank—these parts can be discarded.

If the window crank handle simply spins when you turn it or you can’t use the handle to pull in the sash so the device locks, then the problem could be that the gears are stripped.  If the crank handle has missing teeth, just replace the handle, but if the operator itself is damaged, replace the entire device.  Troubleshooting the exact issue of the crank mechanism will ensure that you aren’t wasting your time or money in getting the incorrect replacement parts.

Install the Replacement Parts

You can either use a drill or a screwdriver to install the new window crank.  Match up the flange screw holes with the already-existing holes in the windowsill.  Next, line up the wheel on the crank’s arm with the middle notch on the track.  Push the apparatus up and into the track.

Before you secure the new crank in place, test the handle to make sure the part operates the way it’s meant to.  Finish securing the crank in place.  For your final step, you’ll need to replace the trim.  Take the casement trim board and place it back over the flange.  Secure the trim board in the same manner it was before you removed it previously.  Using new finishing nails or new screws, reattach the casement trim board.

A New Window Crank

Replacing a stripped window crank is an easy do-it-yourself task that requires just an hour of your time and a 4-in-1 screwdriver (or drill).  The hardest part, you’ll find, in replacing a stripped window crank is locating the exact match of the parts.  You don’t want to be stuck with a new crank that you can’t install, so do your due diligence beforehand and track down an appropriate replacement.

Once you’ve installed a new window crank, you can finally enjoy your window!  A new crank will last a long time, so you don’t have to worry about revisiting this problem for a while.

Feldco is the most trusted company for window replacement with over 500,000 delighted customers across the Midwest.  Get a free quote now!

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