The sky is falling: Exploding sunroof incidents are spiking

A Houston-area man says the glass sunroof of his Kia SUV exploded, leaving him with damaged eyesight and a warning for others. (KTRK Houston)

The car industry has an exploding sunroof problem, according to data from Transport Canada. The occurrence, which is accompanied by an actual “exploding” sound according to drivers and passengers, has increased from zero in 2007 to over 110 in 2016, Global News reports.

According to Wheels.ca, sunroofs explode for a variety of reasons, not all of which can be easily explained. Panoramic glass roofs and sunroofs are commonly made of tempered glass as a safety precaution, which shatters into tiny pebbles rather than into sharp shards. This is similar to the material used in condominium windows and shower stalls. Tempered glass has spontaneously shattered for years, and the cause could be as basic as a nicked or chipped edge during installation, which could eventually into radiate into a larger crack. The weather is another issue. As the glass expands and contracts inside it’s frame, enough force can be generated to cause the tempered glass panel to explode.

The U.S. government has also received in excess of 850 shattering sunroof complaints between 1995 and Sept. 2017, Consumer Reports says.

Between 2000 and 2017, Transport Canada received 351 shattering sunroof reports. In 2017 alone, the number of complaints was 103 as of Oct. 16. Here are the affected car brands and models:

Brand # of Complaints Model # of Complaints
HYUNDAI 61 SANTA FE (HYUNDAI) 37
NISSAN 49 MURANO (NISSAN) 19
BMW 32 3 SERIES (BMW) 13
FORD 29 SORENTO (KIA) 10
TOYOTA 27 MAZDA3 (MAZDA) 9
KIA 17 RAV4 (TOYOTA) 9
MAZDA 15 ROGUE (NISSAN) 9
VOLKSWAGEN 15 FOCUS (FORD) 8
HONDA 14 EDGE (FORD) 6
JEEP 9 ELANTRA (HYUNDAI) 6
ACURA 8 PATHFINDER (NISSAN) 6
CHEVROLET 8 VENZA (TOYOTA) 6
DODGE 7 X5 (BMW) 6
MERCEDES-BENZ 7 CHEROKEE (JEEP) 5
INFINITI 6 CR-V (HONDA) 5
BUICK 5 ESCAPE (FORD) 5
CADILLAC 5 JETTA (VOLKSWAGEN) 5
CHRYSLER 5 JUKE (NISSAN) 5
MITSUBISHI 4 SONATA (HYUNDAI) 5
SUBARU 4 TIGUAN (VOLKSWAGEN) 5
VOLVO 4 VELOSTER (HYUNDAI) 5
AUDI 3 300 (CHRYSLER) 4
LEXUS 3 1 SERIES (BMW) 4
LINCOLN 3 ACCORD (HONDA) 4
GMC 2 C-CLASS (MERCEDES-BENZ) 4
MINI 2 COROLLA (TOYOTA) 4
RAM 2 F150 (FORD) 4
FIAT 1 GOLF (VOLKSWAGEN) 4
JAGUAR 1 GRAND CHEROKEE (JEEP) 4
OLDSMOBILE 1 HIGHLANDER (TOYOTA) 4
PONTIAC 1 MDX (ACURA) 4
SMART 1 OPTIMA (KIA) 4
Total (Oct 16, 2017) 351 SRX (CADILLAC) 4
ALTIMA (NISSAN) 3
CIVIC (HONDA) 3
CX-9 (MAZDA) 3
ENCLAVE (BUICK) 3
FRONTIER (NISSAN) 3
IMPREZA (SUBARU) 3
JOURNEY (DODGE) 3

 

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