Shattering sunroofs are becoming increasingly common, according to a report by Global News.
In recent years, sunroofs have gone from small panels, often still steel, to increasingly large glass panels. But as the size and number of sunroofs has exploded, so have the panels themselves, at an increasing rate.
According to the data from Transport Canada supplied to Global, there were no complaints of shattered sunroofs in 2007. By last year there were over 100 per year, with 103 already this year.
The 351 reports of shattered sunroofs Transport Canada has recorded since 2000 covers nearly every automaker, and a wide range of models. Hyundai has had the most complaints, with 61, and their Santa Fe crossover received the most complaints of any vehicle, at nearly double the runner-up Nissan Murano.
Why the increased breakage? Impact, according to the report. Rocks, debris, ice. You've probably experienced the dread of an object hitting your windshield. That sudden smack followed by the dread and scanning looking for the crack. The same impacts can happen to a sunroof. And the bigger the roof the higher the "likelihood of contact with an airborne projectile, such as a piece of ice, gravel or other debris," said Transport Canada. Unlike windshield glass, which has a protective inner layer, tempered sunroof glass will shatter into tiny - but generally harmless - pieces.
Occasionally, shattered roofs are caused by a defect in the glass from the manufacturing process, found Transport Canada. Kia Sorento SUVs from 2011-2013 were recalled in March last year for such a defect. Contamination from foreign materials can stress the glass, causing it to break. Transport Canada said that an investigation into the glass of the common-complaint Santa Fe Sport was currently ongoing.
So should you be worried about your own panoramic sunroof? Probably not. Just 351 complaints in 17 years is an extremely small number. And Transport Canada says the increase in complaints "might be attributed to more vehicles on the road equipped with larger sunroofs." Chris Davies, head of R&D for glass repair company Belron, told Global that "the numbers I saw weren’t high numbers of any particular model." When Transport Canada did find contamination, recalls were made.
If the roof does shatter, it's a big noise and a big shock. But the tiny pieces should be harmless and aren't sharp.
Full List of Transport Canada Number of Complaints
|Brand||# of Complaints||Model||# of Complaints|
|HYUNDAI||61||SANTA FE (HYUNDAI)||37|
|BMW||32||3 SERIES (BMW)||13|
|LEXUS||3||1 SERIES (BMW)||4|
|JAGUAR||1||GRAND CHEROKEE (JEEP)||4|
|Total (Oct 16, 2017)||351||SRX (CADILLAC)||4|
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