After fielding nearly a thousand complaints regarding hundreds of vehicle models from a number of automakers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is trying to get to the bottom of exploding sunroofs.
While the NHTSA says that the Hyundai Veloster, Kia Optima, Kia Sorento, Nissan Murano, and Scion tC have received the most reports of sunroofs spontaneously blowing up, Portland, Oregon native Lisa Schmaltz was driving a new Audi when her sunroof suddenly exploded.
“You hear this loud…like a gunshot, and look around like kind of thinking, ‘I was in a wreck, somebody hit me, or a wreck next to me,'” Schmaltz said, according to KHOU. “No, it was my sunroof.”
Thankfully, despite Schmaltz’s Audi dealership having pretty much no idea how the sunroof explosion happened, she was able to get the damage covered with a warranty.
“They were a little surprised, like I was the only one this has happened to, and (the dealer’s) answer was a rock probably hit it,” Schmaltz said.
“They asked which way I wanted to go. If I wanted to go with my insurance or warranty possibly. And they did cover it with a warranty.”
According to Tracy Lenczowski, the owner of Rose City Sunroofs, having a sunroof just explode out of the blue isn’t as outlandish of a concept as you might think, though he has seen it happen a lot more frequently in recent years.
“It happens a lot more than you think,” Lenczowski said. “You’ll be driving down the road, it’ll pop! When I first started, I’d do like probably three to five (sunroof repairs) a month. Now I’m doing 15 to 40,” he said. “A lot of people just say they blew out, driving down the road and they just popped.”
As for the cause behind the exploding sunroofs, Lenczowski says it could be anything from sunroofs getting bigger to the glass being tempered to new installations creating a lot of pressure on the glass
“They make them a lot lighter, which is going to give you the better fuel mileage, because when the car is lighter, it will increase the mileage,” Lenczowski said.
Though the NHTSA has yet to issue any recalls or come up with a resolution regarding the exploding sunroofs, an investigation is still ongoing.