Many vehicle owners enjoy driving in a newly purchased vehicle. There’s something exciting about driving something new that’s now yours – a feeling that some might say wears off too soon. But what happens when you’re diving and you’re suddenly covered in glass from your sunroof? That’s been an unfortunate reality for a small number of vehicle owners who had sunroofs that randomly exploded.
Before we get into the possibility of sunroofs exploding, it’s important to first understand what they are, how they work, and what options are available to you.
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It’s fair to say that most people know what a sunroof is, but do most people know its history. The first time vehicles offered sunroofs as an option was in 1937, thanks to Nash Motor Company. Consumers started to see the retractable roof panel’s main benefits, which include an increased amount of sunlight and airflow inside of a vehicle. Throughout the years following not much has changed with the concept sunroofs until recently.
In today’s car models you’ll see another option for vehicle light and airflow – the panoramic roof. This type of roof is sleeker than standard sunroofs that tilt open or slightly slide back, this is partly because the roof isn’t clear, it’s tinted and it has a black finish. Another upside to having this type of vehicle roof is the ease of cooling down in your vehicle. The panoramic sunroof feature allows a larger opening for sunlight and air, which makes your vehicle go from summer heat to summer breeze in just a few button taps or pushes in a vehicle’s settings.
Glass options have come into question after car makers noticed an upward trend in the panoramic roof. Today there are two main options for the glass located in the standard sunroof, laminated and tempered.
When it comes to sunroof glass, FMVSS No. 205, specifies performance requirements and test procedures for glazing installed in motor vehicles. The standard specifies performance tests that every vehicle must pass. There are two primary options and car manufacturers have their pick between them.
First, let’s go over using tempered auto glass. Tempered glass is not the same as a typical standard glass, this is due to how the glass is made. Tempered glass is made when glass is heated and then cooled quickly. This process allows the glass to have a different structural integrity. What this means for you – it’s stronger than regular annealed glass.
If a standard piece of glass breaks its broken pieces are typically large and uneven, but when tempered glass breaks, it shatters into very small even pieces. Why is this important in vehicles? Using tempered glass makes any breaks safer for the person inside of the vehicle. Tempered glass is also typically used on vehicle’s side and rear windows.
Now let’s go over using laminated auto glass. Many car manufacturers switched to using laminated glass for its sunroofs after several cases involving sunroof spontaneous breakage. Laminated glass differs from tempered glass because there is a layer of clear plastic located inside of two thin layers of glass. By using this method breaks can form without completely shattering. Laminated glass isn’t new, as it is also used in vehicle windshields.
If you’re thinking you’d want a vehicle that has a panoramic sunroof with tempered glass, here are a few companies to keep on your radar:
On the other hand, if you’re thinking about what options are available for laminated glass, look no further. The following companies have stated they use laminated glass for their panoramic sunroofs:
There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to forming a preference on what glass you prefer for your sunroof. If you still aren’t able to decide between laminated versus tempered that’s ok, there are companies that use both. Depending on the specific vehicle you have in mind there can be a variety of other options that are available. Below are companies that use laminated glass in some of its panoramic sunroofs:
Several companies have made headlines in the past few years concerning spontaneous sunroof breakage, those include:
Since having issues with sunroof breakage there have been several lawsuits that have gone to court. If you ask your glass.com affiliate what the likelihood is of your sunroof exploding, he or she might tell you the chances are low. This is especially true due to automakers taking a closer look at how to ensure driver safety. If your sunroof has broken, use glass.com to find a trusted replacement specialist in your area today.
Glass.com attempts to provide accurate information but cannot be held liable for any information provided or omitted. You should always work with a licensed, insured and reputable glass shop that can assess your specific needs and local building codes and offer professional services. Never attempt to cut, install, or otherwise work with glass yourself. All content is provided on an informational basis only.
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