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Exploding Sunroofs!



  • Hi,

    It is not so much a defect as a known property of tempered glass. Go back to my message #61 in this discussion for more on this. I did some research that explains why this happens.
  • I have a 2011 Jetta TDI, less than 1300 miles. Sunroof exploded in an outward direction while driving down a 2-lane road (no overpasses) at about 60 mph. Really don't think a rock hit it (as dealer professes) and no other logical explanation. It happened 10 minutes into the drive, outside temp. was 45 degrees, hadn't yet turned the heat on in the car. It's only Oct. and snow removal hasn't used rocks/sand on the road yet.
    Dealer will replace it under direction from local VW mfg rep. as a part of their "good-will gesture" program since it's a new car. Great, it's paid for but what if it happens again? I'm a little concerned VW is brushing this incident off as something it isn't in order to avoid a recall. There is a flaw here that is potentially a safety risk.
    I'll put up another posting after my car is fixed and I've had a deeper discussion with the dealership.
  • I had little bit different experience. One day, I got into my car & look up the sky I noticed my sunroof glass was shattered. I was freaking out what had happened. When I took it to Mazda dealer & they inspected and conclude that there's no way this glass would shattered like this unless
    manufactured defect sunroof glass. When I called Mazda USA customer service, they said your waranty has been expired. They'll not cover the sunroof. They said that's why you have insurance. I couldn't believe my ear when he said that. I also have other problem with steering wheel. Mazda is a junk car. More to that Mazda USA is junk company which would not listen customer's voice. I would never ever buy Mazda again & I'll tell all my friends about this company
  • coming home to arizona the sunroof exploded on our minivan. felt like rocks were dropped on the roof. We did not hit a bump, 45 degrees, 70 mph and no drop in elevation. And no my wife was not driving. The hole was in the center of the window and the remaining glass was angled outward like the object hit the glass from the inside. we had the cover shut which was good because otherwise glass could have hit anyone inside the car
  • on the way to work today!! scared crap out of me!! Brought it right to Woodhouse Mazda in Omaha where without hesitation they said it would be covered under warranty & has happened to 2 other Mazda vehicles. They said it was because of higher pressure in the vehicle & it is very windy day.
  • optimasxoptimasx Posts: 1
    Mine exploded on Monday, being covered by warranty, no issues. That some are not getting this covered is bs....this shouldn't be happening.
  • kylen2002kylen2002 Posts: 1
    edited April 2012
    I just had the same situation happen with my 2012 Kia Sorento EX (new when purchased; owned for 8 months; 8,000 miles currently), and I'm wondering how you were able to get Kia to cover this under warranty.

    I was driving down I-88 on Saturday, April 21st when suddenly there was a loud gunshot/explosion sound. I wasn't driving under an overpass, and no cars or semi's were anywhere near my vehicle. It was actually a nice sunny day with the temp in the mid 50's. After recovering from the initial shock, I noticed wind coming from above. Luckily I was able to grab the sunroof cover (which was thankfully closed) and hold it closed before it opened and allowed thousand of glass shards to fall onto my girlfriend and me. Once I realized what had happened, I pulled over and called Kia roadside assistance immediately. The vehicle was towed to the nearest dealership for inspection as directed by the people at Kia. Once the service manager was able to take a look at the vehicle on Monday, he said that he could not find an impact point from any outside force, and that it was obviously a defect in the glass. For some reason the Kia rep in Arizona is saying that this is not covered under warranty. We fought back on this all day Monday, and the case # is currently being escalated for further review. We are supposed to hear back by today. I have a bad feeling that they are going to come back, and still refuse warranty coverage. Sorry for the wordiness, but I wanted to explain my experience as detailed as possible.

    Can you please provide me with some detail regarding your experience? I don't want to have to take Kia to court, but I will gladly do so if it comes down to it. I'd appreciate any help that you can provide. I'd be happy to provide you with my personal email address if you'd prefer. Thank you.
  • steveo22steveo22 Posts: 1
    I was driving on the highway with no traffic in front of me doing about 110 km when I heard a load bang and found that my sunroof had blown out.
    I spoke to Nissan about what had happened and they gave the same answer that many of you have heard “it was probably caused by road debris”
    Nisan for some reason does not seem to be taking this as a safety concern and considered the matter closed when I told them insurance was going to cover it.
    Unfortunatly I don't really expect any answers from them I did still want to ask the questions.

    I have sent Nissan Canada the following letter:

    To the attention of Nissan Canada I had a sunroof catastrophically fail at highway speeds shattering into small rectangular fragments. The road was quiet and I did not see anything hit my car but when it blew out it sounded like a shot gun going off. When I pulled over to inspect what had happened I found a large hole in my sunroof about 6 inches in diameter with the edges pointing outwards. The interior of the car was also covered in small shards of glass as well as a piece approximately 2 inches in diameter that was still intact. How common is it for tempered glass to fail in this way and is this being treated as a safety concern with Nissan? In my opinion a sunroof should not be able to shatter in this way, either from being struck by an object or from a catastrophic failure of the stresses that is inherent in tempered glass. Much of the glass shattered into pieces .15 x .15 x .05 inches. These fragments are easily small enough to go into the eyes of the occupants and cause injury as well as a possible accident. I am surprised that a laminated glass such as that used in the windshield of all modern automobiles is not used for this application as it would have solved this problem. I did speak to Nissan Canada as well as Brasso Nissan and was given the same answer, "Nissan is not responsible for glass damage since it could have been caused by road debris.
    The problem with this answer is that they are not taking responsibility for the safety concern and there should be no circumstance that a sunroof should fail in this manner. This is Nissans responsibility weather or not the damage is being caused by road debris or defects in the product itself. Either the process being used to manufacture the sunroof is wrong or the wrong material is being used for this application and it Nissans responsibility to solve this problem and provide a safe automobile for its customers. Since Nissan does not appear to be taking responsibility, could you please supply me with the following information?

    Specifications of the glass being used
    Manufacturer of the glass to make the sunroof
    Lbs of force required to shatter the sunroof
    The percentage of Sunroof glass that is found defective at time of production and was not released.
    The percentage of these sunroofs that were found to be defective due to the international stresses
    Measures used for quality control for this product

    I am not writing this letter merely for compensation for the repairs to the Nissan Rouge although I do believe Nissan should be compensating both myself and Wawanesa for any cost incurred. Wawanesa Insurance is covering my claim even though I do not carry glass coverage since in there opinion the damage was not caused by road debris but instead a defect of the product itself.The reason for the letter is to make Nissan and Nissan owners aware of what I believe to be safety issue that up to this point Nissan has not yet addressed.

    A copy of this letter will be sent to:

    Nissan Canada
    Wawanesa Insurance
    The Alberta Motor Vehicle Council (AMVIC)
  • 2003focus2003focus Posts: 2
    I have had the 'exploding sunroof' happen twice on my 2003 Ford Focus ZTW.The first time was about 3 years ago in spring with the ambient temp being just above freezing. I can't recall if it was windy or not, but I was going about 30kmph when I heard the 'shotgun blast' referred to in many of the previous stories. The second time was Tuesday this week with the temperature being about 15 degrees Celsius with a very strong gusty wind. Again shotgun blast followed by tinkling glass on the sliding cover. The interesting quirk is that this episode happened within less than 1/2 mile of the first incident on the same highway. I am inclined to think that it may be the car flexing that may cause this, but who knows. I would appreciate any insight. Good thing about the Ford Focus is that the glass is very easy to replace, and I was able to find new roofs at a salvage yard on both occasions.
  • The exploding sunroof just happened to me in my 2011 Ford Taurus. It is still in the warranty period, but Ford is fighting me on it saying that is a road hazard. Noting hit the car. We were going 70 mph on a 74 degree day on an open 4 lane highway with no other cars around. It's obvious that the forces went outward.

    If I were on an LA Freeway, there would have been a big accident behind me as the glass started hitting cars.
  • It is so typical of car manufacturers to not accept responsibility. I really think Ford is using defective glass as this has happened to me twice already, and to numerous other Ford owners.
  • Re: Kylen2002:
    I just had the sunroof explode on my 2013 kia sorrento, which I have had for 6 weeks. Very similar situation to yours... driving along then boom! Kia is supposed to call me tomorrow. Curious - where did you end up with Kia on this? God forbid - after the fix did it happen again?
  • Lexus fully covered ours in the IS-250 3 years ago and it didn't happen again. I think it is a weakness in the glass and once it is fixed it won't happen again unless you are really unlucky.
  • I had this happen to me in April2011 on my 2011 Kia Sorento. Same story, I was driving, loud pop and glass fell all over me. Got it towed to dealership and they covered everything under warranty. Now, get this, I was driving the same car today and the exact thing happened...yep, explosion #2. I again had it towed to the dealer and they gave me a rental. They will keep me posted. I don't expect a problem, KIA should cover the defect under warranty; however, I am concerned since my car is much older now. They will be in for a battle if they tell me it isn't covered!
  • My sunroof suddenly shattered recently too. I have a older Ford SUV but it turns out the make and age don't matter so much as the details on the sunroof itself.

    On another forum about this issue I found the below post and it turns out my sunroof is part of the recall and I never got the notice, though I have had it fixed at least 3 times as the open/shut mechanism is constantly breaking down. So I am posting this in hopes that others might read it and not spend their own money if they don't need to. I would not have known if I hadn't spent 1/2 hour or more researching the issue on the net. The glass shattering suddenly is exactly what happens in the defective sunroofs though supposedly it is "rare".

    I was driving down the highway and heard a loud bang, like a large boulder fell on the roof. Then there was a rattling, crunching noise like the boulder was rolling around on top. When I stopped a couple of miles later off my exit, the glass on the sunroof was totally missing. This happened after I had been stopped in the traffic on the highway, heard a screeching and looked in my side mirror to see a little red car behind me swerving widely across three lanes or traffic, nearly tipping over and forcing other cars to swerve and screech as well. The person had jammed their brakes on to avoid rear ending me as I guess he wasn't expecting stopped cars on the highway. No one was hurt and no cars collided amazingly but my nerves for sure where on edge. And then the sunroof thing happened 5 minutes later. What are the chances of that I wonder? Especially because the defective sunroof issue is. "rare" ( riiiiigggght, but common enough to deserve a recall??!!).

    Good thing I didn't have the sunroof's inside cover slid back or I would have been showered with glass going down the highway at 65mph. Good thing also that I didn't panic and swerve or slam the brakes on since I could have had a accident. But then again, having had many "clunker" cars in my life this is not the first time something drastic and unexpected has happened to my car while traveling 65 in the fast lane. Try the car stalling suddenly at this speed or the hood flying up and covering the front windshield so that you can only see through the little air vent grate; both of these happened to me in different cars and more than once, since the problems weren't easily fixable.

    I thought a rock hit it, though, since I wasn't going under anything or near the edges of the road, I couldn't see how that was possible, since it would have to drop straight down with a lot of force. As they mention, actually, I did notice more wind noise than usual from the sunroof over the past month or two but I thought it just wasn't fully closed, since the mechanism to close the roof never seems to work right. And I guess you might not know if your sunroof is aftermarket either, since the dealer or the person you bought it from may not have told you. This only applies to aftermarket sunroofs, i.e. installed after the car leaves the factory assembly line.

    So, to make a long story short, everyone reading this might want to check their sunroof unless they are positive it is factory installed. I don't think this is only for older sunroofs either. The website shows the pictures of the sunroof open/close buttons and if your sunroof control buttons don't look like that then you are all set. If it they do then all you have to do is open the roof and look at the serial numbers pasted inside the front frame of the sunroof opening and if they are between 6000000 and 6396298 you need to replace the roof ( for free but not at the dealer; the website will list the places to take the car)

    Webasto Product North America, Inc. ("WPNA") has decided that a defect that relates to motor vehicle safety may exist in vehicles equipped with certain Hollandia 700 and 600 ("700/600") aftermarket (non-factory installed) sunroofs manufactured from 2002-2009 and all TVS 900 ("900") series aftermarket sunroofs. These sunroofs are involved in a voluntary safety recall. In rare instances, conditions existing with the adhesive bond between the glass and metal frame in these affected Hollandia 700/600 and Hollandia TVS 900 series aftermarket (non-factory installed) sunroofs can increase the risk that the sunroof glass may completely debond from its frame. Completely debonded sunroof glass can detach from the vehicle while driving and could strike another vehicle or injure a pedestrian.

    Complete glass-to-frame debonding can develop gradually and may be evidenced by metal corrosion around the sunroof frame, wind noise, vibration, visual bond separation and/or water leakage. These conditions may be observable for several months before complete glass-to-frame adhesion debonding can ultimately occur.

    Determining If You're Affected: The most recognizable components of the sunroofs affected are the switches and presence of a Webasto logo on the sunshade handle. Below, we have provided documentation so you can identify whether your sunroof is included in the recall. All affected sunroofs will have one of the following switches (I can't post the pictures of the switches, so check the webpage, )and have a Webasto logo on the sunshade handle.
  • On Thursday August 2, 2012 my wife and I we traveling from Simi Valley Calfornia to Vancouver, BC Canada. We purchased our SRX in June 2012 and had less than 2,000 miles on it when we started our trip. We got a far as Gilroy, CA (about 300 miles into the trip) when we heard a loud explosion and then the sound of wind and broken glass. We were traveling about 65 mph on highway with no cars in front or to the side. The Sun roof was closed at the time and the shattered glass could be seen through the head liner. We got off the freeway quickly and asked ON-STAR for the nearest Cadillac dealership. Luckily it was only 1 mile away. ON-STAR downloaded turn by turn instructions and we got to the Gilroy Cadillac dealership at about 2:30 pm. They looked at the damage and tried to locate a replacement part, however, none were available in California. The dealer coordinated with the regional Cadillac rep and ordered a part from Detroit. The part was overnight shipped but would not arrive until Monday. The Cadillac people provided us with a rental car and we continued on to Oregon. We shortened our trip and returned to pick up our repaired SRX on Monday evening (4:00pm). We put over 1,300 miles on the rental car. Cadillac covered everything under warranty including the rental car.
  • Consider yourself lucky - or just smart for buying a US brand .. my son had to use his insurance and pay the deductible, Kia wouldn't pay anything!
  • Thank you for taking the time to post this, larryz2! We're glad that the dealership took such great care of you, and wish you many more happy miles in your SRX!

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • This just happened to me while driving to work. I was on the highway here in Raleigh and doing about 70. Suddenly, just as everyone else described, a loud gunshot noise and glass flying everywhere. It was nice yesterday afternoon so my sliding cover was open since I had been using my sunroof recently. I have been in touch with Volvo USA and it sounds like they may cover the costs. Nothing hit it, I am sure, because the glass is coming upwards. A cop stopped to help me (nice folks those NC troopers!) and told me weirder things have happened, but that this was pretty weird! The glass is still cracking and I'm going to have to drive it, but with the cover closed... VERY VERY scary. Thankful I was in the right lane and was able to pull off quickly in rush hour traffic. Whew. Any other reports of this from Volvo owners? I have seen some on Volvo forums.
  • Could you please email me the doc? Sunroof on my 05 Volvo s40 exploded this morning while on my way to work (on the highway, glass fell all over me...) and I'd really like some answers/possibly use this to get the $950 bill paid for. Thank you so much!
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