Shattering Sunroofs Might Be More Common Than You Think

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

At least 859 complaints about exploding sunroofs have been filed in the past 22 years.

Consumer Reports recently conducted a study into exploding sunroofs, finding that the safety standards and regulatory oversight of sunroofs have not kept pace with dramatic size and design changes over recent years. The publication used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation’s vehicle owner complaint database from 1995 to September 2017 to determine the vehicles with the most complaints.

The list included at least 208 models of cars from 35 different automakers with the Scion tC being the most popular with 71 complaints. Hyundai topped automakers with 119 complaints, with Ford coming in second at 85 and Nissan in third with 82. Other vehicles that had frequent complaints include the Hyundai Veloster (54), Kia Sorento (43), Nissan Murano (28), and Kia Optima (25).

One of the biggest issues with shattering sunroofs is that consumers are left on their own to deal with it if it occurs. Consumer Reports found little consistency in how dealerships or automakers acknowledge or resolve the issue, or even worse, who should pay for it.

SEE ALSO: Hyundai Sonata Recalled for Sunroof Issue

Exploding sunroof complaints increased steadily from 1995 until 2013, when they spiked through 2015. Many of those complaints came from Kia and Hyundai owners, although complaints have declined since then.

If you’re interested in protecting yourself, Consumer Reports has published some tips including asking the dealer if a sunroof is made with laminated glass before you purchase a vehicle. In addition, you should ask about the vehicle’s warranty and specifically if it covers shattering sunroofs, and listen for warning signs such as popping sounds coming from the sunroof area.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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 1 comment
  • Wcjeep Wcjeep on Oct 15, 2017

    Cruising thru nhtsa consumer complaints does show many vehicles are susceptible to shattered/broken sunroofs. Hard to tell if it's simply a numbers game? Sunroof /moonroof are standard equipment on some models. The sheer number of equipped vehicles on the road would indicate problems would increase. My guess is the popularity of moonroofs in unibody cars leads the trend. Glass does not appreciate bending. Unibody vehicles bend and twist as designed going down the road. I prefer no sunroof, no moonroof. Increased headroom and increased structural rigidity are benefits of skipping the option. Many sunroofs/moonroof have rattles. Some develop leaks.