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Causes of Sunroof Explosions

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Broken sunroofs can be common, but the reasons for them vary. Have you ever heard of an exploding sunroof, or been in a car when the sunroof glass blew out?

Though still rare, the number of exploding sunroofs reported has increased and with them has come lawsuits against car manufacturers.

Allegedly exploding sunroofs have been seen in all kinds of vehicles—Volvos, Fords, Lincolns and Nissans among others. All four of these manufacturers were named defendants in cases that allege these panoramic sunroofs exploded spontaneously. Most of these occurred while the vehicles were traveling at highway speeds, but no one is certain exactly what caused the explosions.

Types of Sunroof Glass

Most of the lawsuits describe the various types of glass used in the sunroofs but do not suggest a particular cause. Sunroofs usually are made of either tempered or laminated glass, which both have pros and cons. Tempered glass is made by heating and cooling a piece of standard glass in a tempering furnace. The glass, which must be pre-cut and edged before being put into the tempering furnace, is heated to approximately 1200°F and then cooled rapidly. Laminated glass is basically a glass sandwich. It is made of two or more plies of glass with a vinyl interlayer between (sandwiched, if you will, as in a car’s windshield).

A recent lawsuit against Ford claimed that while some car makers utilize laminated glass, Ford has chosen to use tempered glass in its sunroofs. They also suggest that Ford uses “thinner glass … [which increases] the probability of catastrophic failure.”

Russ Corsi, an independent automotive glass consultant, says it’s up to the manufacturer to decide what’s important to them. He says that it just depends on what the manufacturer wants the glass to do and how they want it to appear.

What Professional Auto Glass Installers Say

Many sunroof installers say they don’t believe that the type of glass is an indicator of cause. Instead, they suggest the cause is likely a matter of physics.

Neal Ailstock, an installer with Seatco in Springfield, Va., says he sees six or seven blown-out sunroofs a year in his small shop. He thinks that the way the glass is held in place has a lot to do with the spontaneous explosions.

Ailstock says the glass usually is held in place by “two beads of high-strength urethane. That glass can’t move. It has to flex.

“When a car goes too fast around a corner, the body starts to flex,” Ailstock explains. “But the glass is glued in and can’t move, so something’s got to give.”

That often means the sunroof, he says.

Jesse Garcia, who works at Texas Auto Tops of Austin, says the seal of the glass is key – but notes that he hasn’t seen a lot of these “spontaneous” exploding sunroofs.

His boss, shop owner Garal Kelley, agrees that instances of spontaneously exploding sunroofs are “rare.”

“I’ve heard of sunroofs blowing off cars,” he says, “and that’s usually because the seal between the glass and the metal has started to de-laminate.”

Kelley says some of the adhesives used on sunroofs can fail, causing the sunroof to leave the vehicle.

“When they break, either somebody has dropped something on the glass or something has gotten stuck in the sunroof,” he says.

Other Reasons Sunroofs Shatter

Kelley says there are other reasons sunroofs might shatter, such as a small rocks or pieces of debris that can chip the glass. If the glass is tempered, sudden changes in temperature can cause the glass to expand and contract and cause the chip or crack to grow or shatter completely.

Ian Hanshew, the owner of Champion Glass in Woodbridge, Va., echoes Kelley. He says sometimes you can tell what debris hit the glass, and other times he finds that a mechanical part of the sunroof, such as a clip designed to hold it in, contributes to the breaks.

Hanshew’s shop specializes in new cars models and puts in approximately 50 sunroofs a year. His employees often keep notes about the sunroof breakage brought to them for replacement, but they don’t retain records about what type of glass was used in the originals.

David Arriaga, installer at South Gate Sunroofs in Huntington Park, Calif., says he has not seen any “exploding sunroofs” like those named in the reports. He says it’s “really, really rare” for the glass to shatter spontaneously.

Cliff Monroe, a glass expert who has been in the industry since 1970 and is now CEO of GlasFab Architectural Consulting, says that there’s not a definite way to pinpoint the causes of the explosions. He likens it to the lengthy process of “solving a murder case via a forensic analysis of the particles.”

What’s in the Glass?

The type of glass could play a role, Monroe said, but so could whatever is in the glass or on its surface. Corsi agreed that identifying the cause specifically would require a detailed analysis, and there could be a lot more to it than the type or thickness of the glass. It could have to do with the amount of stress put on the glass when it’s installed. It could be something as simple as a car wash, he says, and the abrasive brushes used in them.

The curvature of the glass used in sunroofs could even play a role, according to Corsi, especially in panoramic sunroofs. “The more curve in the glass, the more stress on it,” Corsi says.

What Now?

Have you been impacted by the spontaneous sunroof breakage? Comment below to let us know about your experience. Do you have a broken sunroof now? If you have a broken sunroof, whether it broke spontaneously or not, you can use the affiliate locator service to find a shop today to discuss details about what is involved in replacing the sunroof.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Penny Stacey

Penny Stacey serves as the communications manager for Key’s association clients. Her job is to augment communications efforts as needed or requested by the association. She currently edits four association newsletters, writes press releases and story pitches for these clients. She also helps with research as requested. Penny has been part of the Key Media & Research team for 17 years, and has served as an editor for a number of Key publications, e-newsletters and websites. She graduated from Mary Washington College with a bachelor’s degree in both English and American Studies. She works part-time now while raising her two young boys. Find out more about Penny on Linkedin.

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105 Responses

  1. Ummmm…..What type of glass does Jeep and Dodge use? My Mother has a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has a sunroof.

      1. The sunroof on my 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport spontaneously exploded while I was driving on the highway at normal speeds. It was 71 degrees out, my AC was set at 70. No sign of rocks or foreign object impacting my vehicle, I wasn’t driving around big trucks or under an underpass. It was a very loud explosion! It’s at the dealer now and I reported to NHTSA.

    1. I have a 2001 Grand Jeep Cherokee Laredo and the sunroof just blew off while I was driving down the highway!

      1. Sorry to hear of your bad luck regarding the sunroof blowing out of your 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Brandy! But we appreciate you sharing the story since others may have had similar occurrences.

  2. 2017 Volvo S90 8,000 miles. Sunroof spontaneously exploded. Driving about 50 mph road was clear with no car in front or approaching. This was not an impact caused incident. Noise was very loud. At first thought bullet had hit car. Was not heat related. In 70s. Glass was tempered. Dealer denied was warranty issue. Sunshade was closed so glass did not enter cabin. Two weeks in shop. Roof and rear deck paint damaged by glass shards. Called Volvo customer service who stated was not known issue. Expect tempered glass was used to reduce weight. Many vendors have this issue. Because it is not isolated to a particular auto manufacturer this may be an issue with a common glass supplier.

    1. Howard, thank you for sharing your story with us! I’m sorry to hear that you’re another victim of this phenomenon. Hopefully spreading the word about these issues will bring about resolution.

  3. Stop using tempered glass and start using laminated glass and see what happens. I think you will have solved the problem!!!!

  4. We have a 2016 Ford Expedition that is at the dealership now due to an exploded sunroof. Ford is not going to cover the repair.

  5. I was driving down the road, 70mph, temp outside 36 F. Heard a loud noise like a shot above my head. The sunroof had exploded. Subaru dealer says it must have been a rock. Though no car was close enough on the sides or in front of me. I was not traveling under a overpass. I was told that the glass is made to explode and shatter outward during impact. I have a 2016 Subaru Outback

    1. My sunroof exploded yesterday. 2013 Subaru Outback. Driving 55 mph on a two lane highway. It happened as a truck and a car passed me going the other directions. Same sound, extremely loud shotgun sound. The sunroof is shattered and the outside of the sunroof bowed out. The glass didn’t come down but there is now a hole after driving it home. 100$ deductible with insurance. Could have been a lot worse.

      1. Mine exploded on me yesterday as I was driving on the motorway at 60mph..
        it sounded like a gunshot going off..
        I was the only car so nothing waS near to me…
        The sunshade was open so the glass came in the car..
        There was a huge hole and the rest of the glass was bowed out like yours also…
        I have a Mercedes.
        I’m glad my 2 little ones were t in the car !
        It was not a nice experience and I’m hoping to get it sorted today..
        Did u find out the cause of it?

  6. 2017 Volvo S 90… Traveling 495 north in the state of Massachusetts… 30° outside 72° inside the car… Sunroof exploded. Sounded like a shotgun… As I pulled over to the side of the road… Vehicle behind me (subjected to the flying glass) pulled over with me and offered to be a “witness“. I returned the car to the dealership – two hours later… At first they asked for my insurance company‘s name and policy number… Three hours later they called to say that Volvo would be covering the sunroof under warranty… $800 for the glass and seven hours labor to install it and fix the minor damage. Bravo Volvo. Thanks for making an unpleasant morning entirely bearable. 🙂

    1. Hi Shirley, your local Subaru dealership or auto glass shop should be able to tell you this. Thanks for the question!

  7. I was driving yesterday, March 18th in Colorado, I just drove down Hoosier Pass going south on Highway 9 outside of Breckenridge when my back panel of the panoramic sunroof exploded. It sounded just like the others expressed, like a gunshot hit my car. I was driving about 55 miles per hour, with traffic in front and behind me, but not close, say 20 yards, and no car or truck passed me. When I pulled over, I was shocked to see a large hole in my sunroof with shards of glass all over the backseat. The whole sunroof was shattered. It is now at the dealership, and I am hopeful Jeep will find it a mystery as well. The hole was so large, a rock would have been in my back seat, but I found nothing but glass. Freaky!

  8. My 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee sun roof just exploded on a sunny day while driving at 65 mph down the highway. No reason for the explosion. Jeep inspected the vehicle and could not find a reason. And of course I’m a couple of months out of warranty so Jeep refused to pay for the repair, even though this is a safety issue.

  9. 2016 Mercedes GL 450 sunroof shattered while parked in driveway overnight. Nothing hit it or anything. The middle of the sunroof was sticking up at first like a punch up from the inside, then fell inward when the door was opened. It was the first hot day we’ve had here in a while and temps dropped overnight. Not sure if that had something to do with it.

  10. My Nissan maxima 2011 panoramic roof exploded while I was on my way to work, remain glass is directed upward like it is blown up from pressure in cabin.

  11. 2011 Acura MDX with almost 100K, in great shape otherwise…on highway in Tx cruising at about 65 mph, temp was 70s and sunny outside…no overpasses or flying items or even debris in rearview after random, unexpected, and totally isolated BOOM like a boulder had been dropped from above…glass exploded outward with no surrounding damage around sunroof…this is important b/c not road debris and engineering defect (whether glass itself or glue used to seal)…dealership and auto client relations’ departments most likely will not be helpful…definitely call the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin and report for sure…LOADS and loads of complaints…2 sunroof manufacturers that I know have recalls are Webasto and Visibility…best of luck!

  12. My sunroof exploded while driving on the expressway. Shattered but still up on roof. Can’t find replacement ..2005 Nissan Altima 2.5 S. Must have been put in after the car was purchased. I bought it used in 2007. Just sucks, cant find the right glass and size. Glass says carlite, shade says Solaire sunroofs…a bit confused….may have to turn it in and get another car. It runs great, I love my Nissan Altima

  13. My wife, myself and cat were on the way for our Summer get-away for 4 months in our 2015 GL450 Mercedes when we heard something like a gunshot and the sun-roof exploded into thousands of small glass fragments. Luckily the fabric cover was closes or we would have small glass blasting into our skin , face, etc. Could not believe is and or if raining, we would be covered in water . Turned around and after 4 hours back at the Mercedes dealer. We are sure nothing hit the glass- Mercedes is taking care of the repair, but I do not trust the glass unless something had changed in the manufacturing -No one at the dealership seems to know–What do we do?

    1. Hi Frank,

      Thank you for sharing your experience! These are rare incidents and usually (but not always) are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The new glass is unlikely to have the same issue.

  14. Driving home on a highway, no other vehicles nearby, no overpass, not even any tall buildings. Heard huge explosion, freely an impact, no idea what it was. Calmed down a bit and thought to check the sunroof, the shade was closed. Yep. Glass shattered. This car has less than 10000 miles on it, it’s less than two years old.

  15. 2017 Mazda 6 GT, near new just driven it for 2 months, sunshade was open, just joined a freeway and accelerated to 98Km/h, heard a loud bang over my head only to see a large hole on the sunroof and glass shattered all over the interior of my car. No evidence of any object from outside the car, still unclear as i had just passed a foot bridge, i have a dashcam footage and nothing suggests an impact from outside.

  16. Today: 2015 Subaru Outback. 64,000 Miles. Driving 55mph; sunroof exploded. Temperature in 70’s. Fortunately, no glass inside vehicle; shade was closed.

  17. 2016 Jeep Cherokee Limited 35,000 kms. Rear sun roof panel exploded while driving in good weather at 100kms\hr in light traffic. No warning just like a rifle shot and then wind noise, pretty scary. My Jeep dealership are closely inspecting it tomorrow but their initial response did not sound as if it will be covered under warranty. Typical dealership response “ we’ve never heard of roofs exploding, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, must have been a rock”

  18. Infiniti Q40 sunroof shattered upwards when the drivers door was closed, early morning, low 70’s, in shaded area. Fortunately the shade was closed. I took some pictures then taped it over with aluminum speed tape around the opening (it wouldn’t hurt the paint) and duct tape over the shattered glass. Finally covered the duct tape with speed tape for a waterproof / drive-able temporary fix. The sticky duct tape kept the shattered glass from falling apart while the speed tape sealed and secured the whole thing. Keeping the shade closed, I was able to drive it for 2 days until I could get into the Infiniti dealer where it was replaced under warranty.

  19. 2018 Subaru WRX sunroof exploded earlier today. Sounded like a cannonball had been dropped on top of the car, so we pulled the shade back and saw the entire glass had shattered. When we stopped to look at what had caused the damage, all we could see was that the remaining glass was bowed outwards. We were on the freeway so a HUGE chip could have caused the damage, but it’s also 98 degrees out.

  20. I have a newer 2018 Volvo XC 90. One day I had a spontaneous crack in my sunroof. I believe it could of happened when I shut my door…don’t know…95 degrees in the Florida heat. Osteen Volvo Dealership here in Jacksonville FL said …call your Insurance Company. Nothing hit the roof

  21. My 2018 Jeep Cherokee altitude back panel of sunroof just exploded today as I was getting onto the freeway not by any other cars. Initial response by dealership is hmmm ever ever heard of that ever. I purchased the car in January and it has 14,000miles on it. They are investigating and will get back to me. I have pictures of the hole in the sun roof bowed out and upward. It is obvious it blew out.

  22. I was just researching and came upon this. My 2014 Volvo s60’s sunroof “exploded” on the interstate going appr. 80 mph. Scared me to death!!! Glass went everywhere. Same scenario as the others, no cars around, overpass, etc. I thought I was crazy!

  23. My 2018 Mazda 3 sunroof exploded overnight while it was sitting in my garage. Same as other stories, glass pushed outward. I took it to the Mazda dealership and the service manager placed a call to Mazda but had not heard back as of the end of the day. It is only 7 months old with 5500 miles. Low temp was 29F, but there was not a huge temperature shift between last night and this morning. My garage is not heated. I’m hoping Mazda will make this right.

  24. The sunroof on my 2018 Subaru Outback exploded just this afternoon, so I Googled “subaru outback sunroof exploded” and found this article. I was on the freeway, probably doing about 70, and going under an overpass, so I assumed something had fallen on the car. I called the dealership and they said that yes, they’ve dealt with other spontaneous sunroof explosions, and to bring it in for replacement. I’m so surprised to hear how common it is!

  25. I was driving down the service road and my sunroof exploded in my 2018 Focus ST. Ford Warranty is denying any help and assistance with the repair. Is there anything that I can do to get them to cover the cost of the repair?

    Thank you for help in advance.

  26. My sunroof on my 2017 Subaru Outback exploded while I was parked in an open parking lot, 51 degrees. No sign of vandalism or foreign object and glass was bowed outward. Good news is that my Subaru dealership is fixing it under warranty.

  27. 2018 Infiniti Q50 sunroof shattered @62-67 MPH after cutoff by another car. It could have been debris, but hard to say from the video on my dash cam. Can only hear the shatter in my vid.

  28. My sunroof exploded today on a 2014 Nissan Altima while I was at a stop light.
    Weather was clear skies and 60 degree weather. All of a sudden it just happened…huge explosion. Grateful I was not moving.

  29. Here’s another one for the statistics…..Our 2018 Acura RDX ‘s Sunroof exploded out of no where today! We were driving on the highway, about 65mph, dry conditions, about 50 degrees out, no traffic….and BAM! Scared the crap out of us! Sounded like a loud POP! Looked up and the glass was shattered! Concluded that it must be a manufacturers defect given the circumstances. Looked it up online when we returned home and discovered that it happens! Taking the car in to Acura first thing in the morning and they will probably tell us they have never heard of this before!

  30. Our 2015 Subaru Outback sunroof exploded yesterday – 55mph no other cars around on US20 in eastern Oregon. As others note it sounds like a shotgun going off, very scary! Hoping Subaru do the right thing and replace under warranty. None of this is OK – there are simple solutions to this problem.

  31. This morning I got in my 2013 Mercedes GL450, started the engine, then closed the door normally. BOOM! The sunroof exploded. Sounded like a shotgun blast. It was overcast, 52-degrees, no wind, nothing. My car had not been driven in three days and was just sitting in my driveway. I checked the entire area for anything that may have hit my car. There wasn’t even a twig. It rained on me–through my non-existent sunroof–all the way to the dealership. Repair estimate is $1689. I filed a report with the NHTSA. Happy New Year to me.

  32. I have a 2016 Toyota hybrid Highlander
    I was driving maybe 40 to 45 miles per hour at most. Two lane highway with two cars way far ahead of me as I had just stopped at a 4 way stop. Two cars coming the other way passed me. Nothing. Then I heard the same noise so loud like a gun shot. My shade was closed. Then within minutes I begin hearing a noise like cracking ice. It just kept getting louder and louder. When I finally decided to see if I could see anything
    Above I opened the shade and above my head I was shocked to see the first glass sunroof had completely cracked in a thousand pieces. And it was still splintering. I closed the shade back and prayed it wouldn’t come down on me. This needs to be publized so these manufacturers will be required to take a serious look at these designs and correct their product and the type of glass they install.

  33. 2007 Kenworth Truck. Has a factory installed Inalfa F700 sunroof and it shattered a couple days ago while traveling the interstate and a driving rain had begun. Loud bang and millions of pieces of glass all over the cab. Drove to a truckstop with rain coming in about 5 miles. Then parked under a fuel island canopy to cover the opening with RV tape and a plastic mud flap that was very close in size. Gorilla tape also holds it on and so far after 20,000 miles on the interstates and 50 mph winds besides, it has held on. I don’t know if it will leak, but I can’t leave it like this forever. The truck needs to go through the wash occasionally, and it might not hold up.
    Now the ugly part..that sunroof is no longer made and parts for it are not available anymore. Dozens of calls are a dead end so far. I would like to know if the glass can be replaced by a glass shop. I have all the hardware parts saved like the hinges and the latch. All those parts are installed through the glass by access of holes precise to assembly. The only replacements are from salvage of these trucks and they are very expensive at 700 dollars for a take out unit. I just want the glass.

  34. Sunroof just exploded on me in my 2018 Audi Q3- just leased 3 months ago. Like everyone said, driving on the highway, no sudden movements, boom. What sounded like a gunshot. Glass everywhere. 3 people in the car, one person has a cut and bleeding. But other than that, we’re okay. What a pain though.

  35. I own a 2010 Nissan Murano, my sunroof just exploded as I was driving down the highway, sounded like a gunshot, that is how loud it was, glass was everywhere in the truck, it is very expensive to fix.

  36. Jeep had a recall on their sunroof. My 2007 blew out last year and I found out when I took it to the shops to have a new one installed. The owner said this will cost you nothing as jeep has a recall. One happy jeepster!

  37. I have a 2016 Honda Pilot. I was driving about 55 on a highway with no one around me when I heard a loud noise sounded like something hit the top of my car except there was nothing above me or around. Then I saw something fly off the back of my car. I had no idea what it was until I arrived at my destination about 5 minutes later and looked at the top of my car and saw the sunroof had exploded. Temperature was about 50 degrees and nothing out of the normal happened.

  38. I have. 2015 Ford Edge. I was driving on the interstate, going on 70 mph when I heard an extremely loud noise. I looked in my rear view mirror immediately and water splashed on my back windshield. I thought somebody had thrown something at me. I didn’t want to stop to investigate because I was on the interstate. When I got home I was looking for damage to my car and notice the sunroof had cracks in it. It didn’t shatter. Could someone have thrown something at me? Where did the water come from? It was 91 degrees outside and I did not travel under an over pass. Could the sun have caused that? Again where did the water come from?

    1. Linn,

      Thank you for the comment! That certainly is a strange story and we’re sorry to hear that your sunroof has cracked. It can be extremely hard to pinpoint where road debris originates from. Sometimes debris drops from a vehicle just ahead, or sometimes it has been on the road for a while but is kicked up by passing traffic. It’s possible that the object that encountered your sunroof was a water bottle, which would account for the water on your back glass. However, without more clues this is a mere hypothesis.

  39. My daughter was driving her brand new 2019 Nissan Altima 4 days after getting it on a highway going 70 mph with her windows open when she heard what sounded like a gunshot and the sunroof shattered. Checked in her mirror to make sure she hadn’t gone under an an overpass or that there were no vehicles or trucks around that might have kicked up a rock. There was nothing near her. The roof was not caved in as you might expect if something had hit it but seemed like it was popped up. This only happened a few days ago and the dealer has been wavering back and forth as to whether they’ll cover it or not. Right now they are again saying they will so hopefully that’s what will happen. Did my search and found this article among others and a class-action lawsuit against Nissan for similar circumstances.

  40. Today is 7/2/19…I just researched your article. Thanks for the info.

    My second sunroof blew out yesterday while driving on I-16 in Savannah. I own an ’01 Toyota Prerunner (v6) and an ’11 Nissan Maxima, now both of which have experienced this RARE(??) phenomena. In ’16, my Toyota truck’s sunroof exploded outward. Yesterday my Maxima complied likewise, merging onto an interstate hwy at increasing speeds (just coming off ramp) at approximately 50-60mph. It was around 11:30am, about 90*, partly cloudy, we had been sitting in the shade just prior, adjusting future appointments. Sounded like someone dropped a barbell on the roof from altitude! Loud and startling!

  41. 02 Outback – original front sunroof.
    mine sounded like a loud tire popping. no heat or a/c. no curves or acceleration. 70* overcast and humid, 40 mph. sunscreen open (oddly) so i got glass dust all over me.

  42. Our 2016 Jeep Cherokee with 36300 miles blew out its sunroof front glass yesterday. Temp was about 82 degrees and we were traveling at 63 mph. Sounded like a gun shot. Needless to say it scared us both. As others are saying, Jeep dealers don’t want to know.

  43. 2018 Honda CR-V. My daughter was driving down I-25 at about 75 MPH. She heard a loud noise. A few minutes later the sunroof exploded into the car.

    Luckily she was not hurt.

  44. August 2, 2019. Driving down the a roadway in Calgary, Alberta, no cars around, 10:00 last night, BOOM, the sunroof on my Mercedes S 550 exploded outward. Lucky the sunshade was closed. Scared the hell out of us. The broken glass scratched the hell out of my trunk lid and the top edges of my roof. I have been reading about a number of Mercedes having this happen.

  45. My 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit sunroof just exploded while we were driving down a quiet 2 lane highway in rural Arkansas. No other vehicles, overpasses, houses, or people around. Just a sudden Boom! When we stopped to investigate, we found no damage to the Jeep body, but the back panel of the sunroof had exploded. No rocks or outside debris visible on the Jeep or highway! August 5th in Arkansas with AC on inside, but totally unacceptable!!! The liner is full of broken glass and spent yesterday and today looking for info on replacement. Local Jeep service said they had never heard of such a thing. Maybe Corporate needs to send out a memo!!

  46. 2016 Subaru Legacy. Driving my usual commute to work, going about 50-55 mph, no one else on the road then KA-BOOM!! It definitely sounds more like an explosion than glass shattering. Sunroof had exploded dead center, glass rained down inside and out. If anyone was in the back seat they would have been diced up. The glass that fell up and out of the car scratched the heck out of my roof and trunk. I bought the car 2 months ago, took it to the dealer, was met with EXTREME skepticism about the whole event “Never head of it”, “Are you sure you didn’t hit something?”, etc. They won’t honor the warranty, they won’t cover ANYTHING! I have to go through insurance for the glass and the body (which will result in a hit on my insurance premium). Absolutely ridiculous, very disappointed with the Subaru dealership. I filed a report with NHTSA. Here’s hoping that my report and this comment makes more dealerships aware of this issue. At least we all have an interesting story to tell!

  47. 2016 Kia Sorento Limited. Driving interstate at 75mph, no cars ahead or approaching. Driver’s window open 1″. Ambient was ~85, but sun was just down and cooling quickly. Sunroof and headliner closed.

    No known hits to glass at any time prior.

    BANG! Front (moving) panel of 2 panel pano sunroof had huge hole in the middle, clearly an in-to-out explosion as you could see from the edges that remained and the fact that there was no glass to be seen on the closed headliner .. it was all out somewhere on the highway. Fortunately, no one following that could have taken a hit from the ejected glass.

    Just made the run to the dealer to discuss. Service Manager and District to get involved Monday morning. I know that Hyundai earlier this year settled a class action for the Santa Fe up through the 2016 model year for the same problem, and requires Hyundai to cover for 2X the normal time, 10 years and 120K miles, any that are repaired.

  48. District Rep turned down the claim, but have gone to Kia Customer Affairs, and provided them all of the information. Of interest, Hyundai owners just this last week received in the mail a brochure that explains that they now have 10 year 120K mile sunroof warranties for all impacted models. No mention of the class action suit that prompted this, of course. I supplied that information to KCA as well. The fellow that took the information was friendly and seemed to be asking the “right” usage and situational questions from a script, so I assume that Kia DOES know there’s an issue.

    The Sorento has an identical design to the Santa Fe. Even the root part number for the glass is the same for Kia and Hyundai for my model (vs. Santa Fe), 81611, so I am confident that they will wind up paying for the repair one way or another thanks to the settlement of the Hyundai suit. With luck, KCA will help us do it the easy way.

  49. I own a 2014 Nissan Murano; I was driving on a dark 2-lane highway 2 evenings ago, going roughly 45-50 mph (the speed limit) I was following my daughter home after an event, but no cars were close by me, and there was no overpass in the area. The sudden explosion sounded like my car had been hit with a gunshot – or a meteor! It was super scary, and the darkness made it creepier. We pulled over asap, but found no broken glass on the rear or side windows….it took a few minutes to realize it was the sunroof – and fortunately the inside guard was closed or it would’ve rained down on me, making it all worse! I soon found out this is a “thing”, and the Murano is 3rd on the list of cars it happens to most. Super frustrating that it’s not a recall. I was just hung up on by a customer service “professional” at Nissan. Too bad, since this is my 6th (and now last) Nissan.

  50. October 13 , 2019
    son was driving to school when the sunroof exploded: glass flew in on him but the roof bars kept it from flying into other cars: I have an 05 Subaru outback xt: I am noticing the older cars are prone to this dangerous event!

  51. Driving down I95 and just turned on to I 85 south of Petersburg, Va. when I heard a loud bang sound like a shot gun. First I thought someone was shooting at me, then I checked my rear view mirror and saw the cars behind me swerving. At that time I noticed the loud roar coming from my roof. I immediately pulled over got out and looked at my top and saw my roof had gone.

    I went to Frederick Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Laurel Maryland and with out looking at the sunroof he tried to make it sound like I may have caused it saying that he had worked there since 1977 and never heard of that happening and sort of brushed me away, poor customer service. At least the Dar Cars in Marlow Heights, Maryland offered to have a technician to look at it. I didn’t do it then because I didn’t have the time to wait. From researching this seems like a common problem. Right now I have run this through my insurance company and paying to have it repair. I would like to get reimbursed for this, it isn’t cheap. What do I need to do.

  52. Followup to messages #51 and #52 .. Kia Customer Affairs has agreed to reimburse the full amount of the dealer’s bill to replace the glass.

  53. 2020 Acura TLX (2 month old) sunroof exploded while driving on the highway, no overpass or debris around- shade was open so the glass was everywhere in cabin. Fortunately no one was hurt. Acura was unable to validate a manufacturer defect therefore did not cover the repair. I went through a dispute process CAMVAP I’m from Canada and Acura had the option to respond to my claim that it can be a manufacturer defect or go to arbitration. Acura Canada decides to reimburse the repair ($871) instead of going through arbitration!

  54. My daughter’s 2018 Subaru Outback’s sunroof exploded two days ago. No rocks, etc… just imploded. Have called the dealer ..awaiting their return call.

  55. Two days ago..on I-5 in Washington..loud bang..nothing nearby..about 70 mph..sunroof blew a huge 2018 CRV.
    Kirkland Honda helped by cleaning g out glass and sealing roof for return trip to B,C. Apparently Honda glass in USA doesn’t fit Canadian vehicle.

  56. December 20, 2019 at 9:30 am
    Had just gotten on freeway and accelerated to about 70mph in my 2016 Mazda 3 when all of a sudden there was a loud BOOM over my head as if a gun had been fired and then heard shards of glass flying over my roof. Pulled over on shoulder to find moon roof had exploded outward with shattered glass everywhere. Temperature was about 40 degrees and no other vehicles directly in front.

  57. 2013 crosstrek sunroof exploded today 1/23/20 driving 55mph wth no traffic in front of us. Semi traveling opposite direction and right as we passed it sounded like a gunshot and glass flying everywhere. Sunroof glass bulged out. I have photos.

  58. 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee back panel of my “double” sunroof exploded this morning. No other cars around me. Not under an underpass. Sounded like a gun shot. Small pieces of glass started falling into the car and the rest of the panel is shattered/cracked completely. Called Jeep and they said that something likely hit it and they won’t cover it.

  59. I own a 2018 Lexus nx300 fsport and my panoramic roof cracked. Lexus claims it was caused by a stone chip. If a stone can do that to glass that is meant to withstand the car be capsized, then I am second guessing my purchase. For me this is less about the replacement of the roof and more about the long term safety and insurance considerations. Furthermore, if it was a stone, it would have had to hit pretty hard and I did not hear anything. Left my car out in the sun and returned to it to find the roof cracked. Any ideas or thoughts?

  60. after reading Penny Stacey’s article on sun roofs that burst and shatter i had the same thing happen Saturday – driving down the 10 Freeway in Arizona near Phoenix my sunroof burst raining broken glass all over me when i brought it to the dealership they said that it must have been a rock essentially calling me a liar and now i forced to pay to have it repaired with my $500 deductible i still dont know how much this is new 1400 miles 2020 CLA 250 Mercedes – nothing hit my roof it just shattered – i had all to do to keep the car on the road as it just blew up while i was driving. Now i have read numerous accounts of the same thing happening – i hope the government steps in and put more stringent requirements in the future –

  61. Another Honda CRV 2013, noticed a couple others, coincidence ????????, driving down the highway a couple weeks ago …….. explosion sound and looked up to see a large hole and glass dropping on us. There were several 18 wheelers in front of me and in the winter here in Alberta Canada they put sand/gravel pebbles on the roads when icy. I’ll guessing a small rock may have hit the sunroof!! Will never know!!!

  62. Today, my husband’s 2016 Honda Pilot moon roof spontaneously shattered from the center while driving on the highway commuting to work. Thank goodness he was driving later than normal and traffic was lite and he was not injured. If we still were not under COVID stay at home in our county, the traffic would have been heavy and the shock of sound and glass raining down could have caused an accident. There were no other vehicles around and no signs of anything hitting the vehicle. Speed was 65 mph and weather was sunny and warm, but not hot.

  63. Late yesterday afternoon the outside temp was around 100 degrees with the A/C on in my 2010 Highlander. I was driving on a major Dallas freeway when I head the boom and thought I had a blowout, but the car did not feel like it. I looked around but no windows were broken but I was hearing wind noise. I then thought the sound was coming from the roof. I cracked open the sunroof door and there was the hole – my sunroof had exploded. I had been wondering all last night as to what object could have shattered it. Thanks to this website I’ve learned about spontaneous exploding sunroofs. I’m now trying to determine whether it is worth the deductible to file a claim ($250) or fix it out of pocket.

  64. Today Aug. 12th, 2020, I got into my 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I was still in the garage, when I started my car and closed the door. I heard an explosion. I pulled out of the garage thinking something like the light fixture had fallen down on top of the car, but it was still in tact. I climbed on the side of the car to see the roof and saw that my sunroof had exploded without warning. I called the Jeep Dealership and of course they had never heard of such a thing and advised me not to drive the vehicle, but suggested that I call a glass company to come to me. They told me that it was not covered and there was no recall. The first place I called quoted me $1,800.00-$2,200.00. Every other place that I called was closed as it happened close to 5pm and hardly any only works full days due to the pandemic!

  65. Sunday, on I-90 west bound in Spokane going 65-70 mph, With no overpass or any cars near us, we experienced a frightening loud explosive boom noise overhead.💥 We could feel the immediate pressure change in our car. It was 87 degrees outside and 70 inside. ☀️ Our 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6’s with 60,000 miles sunroof blew to the sky. 🚘 Shattered with a large raised edge hole in the center, we were lucky we didn’t crash. After reading how common sunroof explosions are on all types of vehicles we were surprised. 😲 We greatly appreciate Subaru for agreeing to fix it at no cost, as evidently the Extended Gold Warranty we purchased doesn’t cover glass and the 36,000 mile warranty expired. 🌈

  66. Interesting to read all of the above. Two days ago I was driving home – narrow twisting country road so going around 50kmh (I live in Tasmania (Australia) so we’re metric) outside temperature was around 15C – when my sunroof went off like the proverbial bomb. I didn’t realise that it was the sunroof at first – I’d just met two cars and surmised one of them had tossed up a huge rock (unseen), or a branch had fallen on the car. At the top of the hill I pulled over and walked around the car (Subaru Outback 2018) and saw nothing, I’m fairly short so can’t see the top of the car – continued on my way, and then there was the unmistakable sound of tinkling glass. I pulled over again, hoisted myself up and saw that the majority of the sunroof had disintegrated. Luckily the shade was pulled over, hence no glass in the cabin of the car. As I said, I saw no rock, and there was no evidence of a branch hitting the car. Insurance is dealing with it under our windscreen cover (no excess) – but I’ll certainly talk to the dealership.

    1. Hi Fano,
      The glass used in your RAV4’s panoramic sunroof must meet certain safety standards. Sunroof explosions are, overall, an uncommon event. There should be a stamp in the corner of the glass that states whether the glass is tempered or laminated.

  67. My daughter has a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe 118,000 miles, and was driving NJ Parkway 60mph with sunroof open. As she went to close the sunroof she said she heard a loud scary bang and pulled over on the shoulder and sunroof was MISSING. I tried to close the sunroof cover as it was 25 degrees and it wouldn’t close. Dealer acted like he never saw this. Clearly BS because based on what I’m reading car dealers know about this. I brought to local mechanic and waiting to hear back however he said he would honor warranty which sealed refused to do. Dealer tried to charge me $380 for just looking at it. Unbelievable.

  68. When a bomb goes off 12″ from your head it quickly grabs your attention…thats what happened yesterday driving our 2013 Cadillac SRX (we have NEVER opened the sunroof in 7 years..bought new). The sun shade was closed so no glass inside car. My experience is the same as everyone else in this article…NO close vehicles…No overpass…NO rock…65MPH…35 degrees…nobody hurt (just soiled underpants)…GM dealer said no warranty…BUT…they were going to check with people “higher up”??

  69. Driving on the 101 freeway in Phoenix AZ yesterday in a 2020 Lexus RX350, approaching an area with dark clouds and rain, as we went through this I felt pressure in my head and my ears popped, then all of the sudden there was a loud explosion that scared the heck out of us! A small plane had just gone over and I thought maybe it dropped something on us or someone shot at us. Then I heard air coming in from somewhere but the windows were all closed so I asked my wife to check the sunroof and as she opened the cover we saw the glass had exploded out. Upon pulling over and checking it out I could see there was no damage to anything around it and nothing inside that would have fallen on it. Just a large basketball size hole right in the middle of the glass sunroof, with large jagged pieces of glass protruding upwards as if pressure from inside the car blew it up and out.

  70. On 4/10/2021 I was literally on my way to the dealership for my routine maintenance. I’m 1 mile away from from the dealership and suddenly my front sunroof glass explodes.

    At this moment I went into straight combat mode because I thought I was under attack. I git to the BMW dealership and they see I’m pretty overly alert and appear to be looking for something.

    when they seen my front plate and realized I was a vet they immediately started investigating the issue. My training is what kept me from running into some one or running off the road.

  71. We were driving on I-85 in Georgia, 70mph (the speed limit) in my 2007 Chevy Suburban 1500 Ltz, when the sunroof glass, most of the metal frame parts and the cover blew off and onto the highway behind us. This was 2 weeks ago and I still need to have it replaced but can not seem to locate an affordable replacement.

  72. I have a 2003 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer edition. I was driving at 60mph with 5 other cars around me when mine exploded. I thought for sure something flew up and hit it, but now I’m second-guessing it. Insurance is covering the cost to replace, minus deductible. Super scary. Extremely loud pop. The shade was closed so no glass inside. My driver’s window was down about 4 inches when it happened. I wonder if this played a role in it?

  73. 2019 GMC Acadia. Went off like everyone else is stating. Getting onto the highway in 80 degree weather. See what happens with warranty. Insurance said they would cover.

  74. I have a 2021 Jeep Latitude that the sunroof exploded on the freeway yesterday, and it exploded outward . I’ll post more after I take it to the dealership. but somebody better pay for this !not me and not my insurance !

  75. I searched for articles like this because my 1 month old Ford Territory’s (Philippines market) panoramic moonroof shattered after I closed its door. It happened at our parking, morning, and I barely use the car with only less than 400km mileage.

  76. On Saturday 6/24/23 the sunroof exploded on our 2007 Lexus es350. We were driving down Hwy 101 when we heard an explosion, thought tire had blown but was able to get over 4 lanes to the shoulder. Sound and pressure change inside the cabin were disorienting, thankfully no one was hurt inside the car or driving behind us. It was 66-67 degrees & a little overcast. Glad to hear no one has been killed or severely injured but it’s only a matter of time, right?

  77. My sunroof exploded on my 2020 Lexus UX 250 hybrid on July 12th. I was driving on Rt 288 at 60 mph, no one was around my car. I had the sun visor closed. Sheehy Lexus of Richmond wants to charge me $1,685.99! The service manager said because I had the AC on with the windows up it caused pressure and this made the sunroof explode. Lexus USA is siding with them. This is ridiculous!! Any suggestions?

  78. My 2018 Mazda 3 sunroof blew out yesterday while driving 65-70 mph on the highway. Scared the crap out of me!! Tiny little shards of glass all over my car but the majority of the glass blew out the top. No idea how it happened. It was in the 90’s & I had my ac on, but not blasting & was set at 70 degrees. Funny thing is that I was behind a car a year ago at the EXACT same spot on the highway when his sunroof blew out seemingly out of nowhere. My car was peppered with the glass. Couldn’t believe it happened to me in the same spot! Shrink wrapped the opening last night & taking it to the dealership today. Would be nice if they cover the cost, but my hopes are not high!!

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