Frameless Car Windows: Why some cars don’t have window frames?

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What are frameless car windows? Most vehicles seen on the road have solid doors where the window has a complete frame to encase it when raised all the way up. This provides stability and helps to give your cabin a proper seal keeping moisture out. It also gives your car a more finished look with safety in mind.

However, why do some cars not include this feature in their design? There are a couple of reasons a manufacturer may leave out a window frame. It could possibly be for cosmetic purposes to give their product a different aesthetic that’s more pleasing to the eye. Oftentimes, they make this decision based on function for convertibles. A soft-top roadster just wouldn’t look as slick with the top pulled back, windows down, and the door frames sticking out like a sore thumb.

Upsides of Frameless Windows

In the past, they have been notorious for not sealing as well as framed windows. However, as modern technology improves this has become less of an issue with the more advanced cars in today’s market.

Some of them are designed to raised up into the ceiling farther than they have before to combat this problem.

Other vehicles with frameless windows now have a unique feature called a short drop. This activates when you open the door by rolling the window down slightly and raising it back up as you close the door.

As for convenience, most owners say it makes getting in and out of their cars with the windows down much easier.

Downsides to Frameless Windows

Frameless windows do have a number of drawbacks. They often allow for more road noise when traveling at higher speeds.

In colder climates, they are more susceptible to having pieces of ice slip inside the door. This can cause window motor shorts and a handful of other electrical problems. Owners often complain of the stress it puts on the glass when shutting the doors as they are not secured inside a frame.

The jarring motion of a slamming door can knock them off track. This can be a relatively easy fix and is not known to happen frequently, but it is still frustrating when it does occur.

Common vehicles with frameless windows

One common vehicle that has frameless windows, which also happens to be one of my favorite vehicles, is the Toyota Celica! I have owned quite a few of these, and all of them with the frameless windows. I personally didn’t have any issues, and actually really enjoyed the frameless window design.

Another car that I have owned that utilized frameless windows was an Audi TT. This wasn’t the convertible version, but the hardtop, and it came with frameless windows. Again, I very much enjoyed it, and had not problems! It seems I have had quite a few cars with this feature.

As for groups of cars, convertibles are by far the most popular vehicles with frameless windows. Whether they be a soft or hardtop, convertibles are made for something in particular. They are supposed to make you feel as close to the open road as you can on four wheels and make you stand out in the crowd.

Window frames would be counterproductive to these goals as they would interfere with the sleek and hip appearance of the vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are frameless windows more expensive?

For the most part, frameless car windows tend to be a more expensive option for a vehicle. More development cost is needed to make sure that the windows will roll up for years to come, as well as to not break, as they don’t have nearly as much structure to help them stay sturdy.

How do you tint a frameless window?

Tinting frameless windows is really no different to do than framed windows, and actually is quite a bit easier, due to being able to access 3 sides of the window with no obstruction, instead of just a single side like a normal framed window.

Can you convert a framed car window to frameless?

While anything is possible, generally speaking you cannot convert a car that has framed windows over to frameless windows.

Recommended Gear

If your car is a frameless car windowed car, you likely are going to want to keep those windows clean! Make sure to take care of them with some of the below equipment.


The most common reason manufacturers produce cars with frameless windows is for cosmetic reasons. Higher-end luxury cars and convertibles are the two most likely candidates to have them installed but in some cases, they are available for after-market modifications.

The internet and car forums have a mostly negative opinion on the feature, yet there are still countless owners out there who swear by them.

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