What Do You Do When a Sunroof Breaks?


If you’re driving down the road and your sunroof shatters, it can be quite a jolting experience.

The news is often filled will reports of families who have experienced this. For instance, a Virginia family reported that while driving along Loudoun County Parkway, their SUV’s sunroof suddenly shattered.

Occasionally an automaker will even issue a recall over a faulty sunroof

So if it happens to you, it’s a good idea to check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database to see if your model has been recalled.

Getting It Fixed

Though it may be quite scary when a sunroof breaks, you need to act quickly to find company who can help you get your sunroof repaired or replaced.

Your first plan of action should be to contact the dealer if your vehicle is still under warranty. However if it is not, there are many automotive glass repair and replacement companies that can get your sunroof back into working order.

Factory-installed sunroofs tend to be simple for technicians to replace.

It usually involves removing the four Torx cork screws that hold the metal framework into place. The technician will then remove the trim and old framework. Then it is a matter of reinstalling a new sunroof. The biggest challenge is removing all the glass particles from the tracking area to ensure the sunroof moves smoothly back and forth.

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What Causes Spontaneous Auto Glass Breakage?


It happens more frequently than you may think. An individual is driving down the road and a piece of glass in the vehicle shatters suddenly. This could happen with the side or back windshield, and it is fairly common with sunroofs. Spontaneous auto glass breakage occurs because these types of auto glass are made of tempered glass and when tempered glass breaks it can break in a million small pieces. This is to protect you from jagged shards.

When this happens, many times the sound is described as a gunshot (luckily it’s not but for the driver it’s almost as frightening.) This breakage doesn’t necessarily mean the glass was hit from a piece of debris. Any flaw can cause the glass to shatter under pressure, and this may include one that occurs during manufacturing.

Retired glass consultant Bob Brown says this: If tempered glass shatters spontaneously, it’s because a contaminant found its way into the glass and ” … escaped to the surface or the edge.” In a recent article in Auto Glass Repair and Replacement magazine, sunroof installers say the cause is likely a matter of physics or torque, or both.

Neal Ailstock, an installer with Seatco in Springfield, Va., says the way the glass is held in place has a lot to do with the spontaneous explosions of tempered auto glass. 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.” That ability to flex is important to the vehicle in motion, is his theory.

“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.”

Finding a Company That Can Help

While it isn’t a difficult job, not all AGRR companies do it. With a multitude of sunroofs available on the market, it may be difficult to find the replacement parts needed to fit your particular model.

Over the years, there have been a variety of style changes in sunroofs and some models may be discontinued. Occasionally, a part is no longer available. If this is the case, you may need to visit a specialty shop.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, search Glass.com for a reputable shop in your area and get the broken glass replaced quickly.

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