Imagine driving your vehicle when all of a sudden your sunroof shatters sending glass raining down on you. Exploding sunroofs have been reported with so many makes and models that Consumer Reports says it should be considered a safety defect, and the organization is calling on the auto industry to put the pedal to the metal to improve standards.
Consumer Reports recently analyzed over 20 years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found shattered sunroofs reported in at least 208 models across 35 brands.
"Although it's not clear exactly why this is happening, the evidence that it is happening is really clear, and automakers should be much more proactive. Just recall these vehicles," said David Friedman with the Consumers Union and acting administrator of NHTSA in 2014.
Transport Canada has a sunroof defects investigation into the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. And NHTSA is currently investigating the 2011 through 2013 Kia Sorento SUV, but Consumers Union believes the investigation should be expanded.
"These sunroofs are shattering. NHTSA has more than enough evidence to consider this a safety defect. And they certainly shouldn't wait for a fatality or an injury before forcing the car companies to act," explained Friedman.
When it comes to the glass itself, regulators can also call for different kinds of testing and adjust the standards as designs evolve.
"The regulations around sunroofs are clearly outdated. They were designed when they were a lot smaller. Today they are a lot bigger and sunroof regulation needs to catch up," said Friedman.
Transports Canada has complaints going back 17 years, but complaints really spiked in 2012. In fact, there have been 341 complaints reported in Canada in the last five years. Just like in the U.S., they range across dozens of different makes and models. Transport Canada says most of the complaints about sunroof breakage were because of impact, but a small number may have been manufactured in correctly.
If this happens to you, take pictures and video with your phone and report it to Transport Canada. Also contact your dealer about a repair.
The following is Transport Canada's compiled data since 2000 regarding complaints of defective sunroofs.