Potential issues with sunroof in your car - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Potential issues with sunroof in your car

Sunroofs have become a craze. Everyone wants sunroof in their car and people are changing their decision of model and variant purely based on availability of sunroofs. Sunroof variants cost a few lakhs more than a cheaper variant that would have served the purpose but no, we want sunroof in our cars, panoramic the better.

But these sunroofs have lots of negative things that come with them. We don't realize them on the day of purchase but over time or when thing go wrong, we will regret our decision. In this post I am listing a set of hazards that come with sunroof- read, understand and buy a sunroof model only if you are comfortable with all these future potential risks of sunroofs.

1. Safety Hazard when people stand through sunroof: Sunroof as such may not be a safety hazard but people driving their cars with kids standing out of sunroof is a big safety hazard. If your loved one is standing through the sunroof and you've to apply brake abruptly or enter into a collision, there is no protection to those who are standing. Neither seatbelt, nor airbag can save them.  So be careful, drive very slow and carefully if you have someone keeping their head out through sunroof- or rather do it only when stationary.

2. Breakage: Sunroof is a piece of glass, so more susceptible to external objects like stone or tree falling on the vehicle, compared to a pure metal roof. Cracks or damages will break your heart, may cause water seepage and will burn your pocket.

If the vehicle rolls over during an accident, a metal roof will offer better protection than sunroof. Stones, trees or other objects can crack open the sunroof (if it was not open) and injure people inside. Despite best try, there is a general consensus that cars with sunroof have slightly less structural integrity compared to cars without sunroof.

3. Repairs: Sunroof operation involves a piece of glass, motor to move them, buttons, fabric layer under the sunroof, sealing layer to prevent water seepage and electronics to control them. These may work fine during initial few years but once they start failing after warranty period, be ready to spend a lot of money to repair them. Be ready to spend upwards of a lakh rupees for replacing a panoramic sunroof.

Unlike tyres or battery or other commonly failing vehicle components, dealers may not keep stock of sunroofs, so if you have an accident/damage, you may have to wait for few weeks before spare parts come from factory.

4. Water seepage: Sunroof is inserted by cutting the roof. Though factory fitted sunroofs have better build quality and protect you, over time they might start leaking water. It will be an annoying experience. You don't want to spend a lakh to replace sunroof and can't tolerate water either.

5. Price: Models with sunroof would cost 50k-1 lakh more compared to a cheaper variant without sunroof. With high price comes higher taxes, higher insurance and maintenance. So you've to think if it is worth paying more throughout the life of your vehicle for a feature which you may use only occasionally

Aftermarket sunroofs have even bigger risk.

6. Increased AC usage and fuel bill: Sunroof lets more sunlight through. In hot geographies like India it means hotter interiors and more AC usage to keep the cabin cool. This means more fuel spending. Even if sunroof is kept closed, some heat will still enter inside.

7. Reduced headroom: Sunroof mechanicals take some space on the roof, reducing headroom by about half an inch or so. This means you'll compromise a bit on your passenger comfort.

8. Distraction: As a driver if you keep sunroof open and keep checking what is there above you, you may cause accident. You are supposed to focus on the rood, not on sky.

Advantages of a sunroof:
1. View of sky above- pleasant experience for passengers
2. Additional extraction option during accidents- it may be easier to open or break the sunroof and extract injured passengers through sunroof during an accident.

What are your thoughts? Enjoying the sunroof of your car? Faced any issues? Do share your thoughts and experiences.

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