sunroof repairs

Proper maintenance can prevent many of the problems that cause sunroofs to malfunction. With this in mind, sunroofs have moving parts that require lubrication and basic care. Maintenance is simple and can easily be performed by car owners, but sunroof repairs should be done by experienced professionals, especially if the system is electrically operated.

Regular Maintenance

On sliding sunroofs, the rails should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol and lubricated with white lithium grease. Before winter months when the sunroof will be closed, the seals can be treated with silicone to keep them supple. Silicone treatments can be bought at auto supply or home improvement stores and they prevent sunroofs from sticking when they are opened in the spring. Simple maintenance can extend the life of seals by preventing drying and cracking.

Pop Up Sunroof Maintenance

Most pop up sunroofs are manually operated and have hinges on one side and latches on the other. Maintenance of the seals is the same as for sliding sunroofs. Like the rails on sliding sunroofs, the latches and hinges should be regularly cleaned and lubricated once or twice a year. If the sunroof sticks, or will not open all the way, try cleaning and lubricating the hinges and latches which should fix the problem. Silicone should be used on pop up sunroof seals at least once or twice a year.

Repairs Under Warranty

Most car makers and aftermarket installers offer limited warranties on sunroofs. None of these warranties cover breakage or damage to glass or acrylic panels. They will cover repairs due to parts defects or improper installation. There have been reports of glass sunroofs that spontaneously exploded, which is rare, but is an inherent property of the tempered glass used in sunroofs. Warranties will not cover glass sunroofs that crack or explode since this is not considered a parts defect. Acrylic panels are easily scratched and will haze over time and are not warranted.

Common Sunroof Malfunctions

One of the most common problems with sunroofs is leaking which may be due to damaged seals or clogged drainage holes. To clear drain holes, look at the front corners of the seals for small holes. Use a thin wire or plastic rod to push through the holes and clear them. Damage seals need to be replaced by professionals to avoid new leaks. Another complaint is that the electric motor that controls the sunroof continues to run after the sunroof is in the open or closed position. A temporary fix is to remove the fuse that supplies power to the motor until the car can be serviced.

When to Call the Pros

A sunroof that leaks or is stuck in an open position can cause damage to the car's interior. If the problem is electrical, owners can try changing the fuse. If that doesn't work, it is time to call in a repairman. Broken panels and seals need to be replaced by an experienced sunroof serviceperson. Owners who try to do these repairs themselves often fail to fix the problem and have to take the car to the professionals for repairs anyway, which may mean buying the same parts, especially seals, twice.

The majority of sunroofs, whether factory installed or after market, work exactly as they should and do not cause car owners any problems. Regular maintenance, twice a year, can help prevent tracks from sticking and seals from drying out.