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    Thread: Exploding Sunroofs....

    1. Member someguy123's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 12:31 AM #1
      Don't read if too long for you.....

      December 5, 2012 — Owning a vehicle means problems, from bad gaskets to ailing alternators. One thing we shouldn’t have to worry about is the vehicle glass spontaneously exploding. Yet that is exactly what many drivers have faced over the years with their sunroofs.

      The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received enough complaints on the matter to open an investigation into exploding sunroofs in the 2012 Hyundai Veloster. Hyundai drivers report glass raining down on them after their sunroofs suddenly shattered while cruising down the highway at 70 mph, as well as reports of sunroofs that exploded while the vehicles were parked and unattended.

      The thought of glass exploding above your head might seem absurd, but it can occur to any make and model of vehicle.

      One owner of a 2005 Volvo S40 contacted CarComplaints.com immediately after her sunroof exploded while she was driving down a North Carolina highway.


      “It sounded like a gunshot right above my head and I had no idea where it was coming from,” said Alexandra, of North Carolina. “I could hear air coming into the car even though all my windows were up.”

      Alexandra was understandably upset when she described what took place.


      “It looked like a meteor bounced through my car upwards and out the sunroof glass. The remaining sunroof glass was pointed toward the sky, so I knew nothing hit the glass from the outside,” Alexandra said.

      What she described is exactly what many drivers have reported. The sunroof has clearly blown upward, not toward the inside of the vehicle as you would see if an object struck the glass from the outside.


      “I lucked out on my side of the car because the passenger/backside got the brunt of it,” Alexandra said. “I used to nanny in college and drive the babies around. My first thought was, ‘Imagine if I had those kids in here when this happened!’"

      While the government investigates Hyundai over the problem and Volvo must answer to Alexandra about her S40, CarComplaints.com has heard about the problem for years from drivers of the Honda Accord, Audi Q5, Mazda CX-9, Chrysler 300M, Honda CR-V, and many other vehicles.

      The story is always the same. Whether the incident occurred when the vehicle was parked or traveling at highway speeds, the remaining glass structure is always pointed toward the sky. Owners must then face the task of convincing the dealership and manufacturer that the sunroof wasn’t hit from the outside, a battle that can lead to expensive repairs and denial of insurance or warranty coverage.

      Additionally, Alexandra was fighting with the dealer to fix the scratched paint caused by flying glass.

      What could cause a sunroof to explode or shatter?

      CarComplaints.com contacted four of the top university mechanical engineering professors and asked that very question. All agreed the problem could be found in the glass itself, not necessarily how it was installed in the vehicle. In fact, all types of glass products can explode, including ovenware, patio tables, even glass balconies. It’s occurred for years and the problem has grown in vehicles because more cars come standard with a sunroof/moonroof, something that was once considered a luxury option.

      A sunroof is made with tempered glass that is designed to break into small pieces for safety. Any imperfection in the glass--whether caused by a bad batch of glass or a scratch from a rock--can cause the glass to shatter when under pressure. The pressure might come from the vehicle itself because every vehicle is more airtight than ever.

      Because a glass sunroof is under a lot of compression, air pressure or temperature changes can all contribute to pressure on the glass. All it takes is one microscopic imperfection and time to allow the problem to reach a level where the glass explodes.

      Previous unrelated investigations found nickel sulfide crystals in shattered glass. These crystals can grow and if their growth is in the correct direction, the glass will shatter from the pressure.

      Hyundai Veloster owners are waiting for an answer to why their sunroofs exploded. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would not discuss the case because the investigation is currently open.


    2. Member bherman13's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 01:01 AM #2
      That's a bit ridiculous. I came in expecting it was from two people shutting the doors at the same time, not just from aerodynamic pressure.

    3. Member OOOO-A3's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 01:03 AM #3
      Welcome to 2006: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...-just-explode-!

      Defective glass fails, aerodynamics causes the debris to go outward.

    4. Member BODH1's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 04:50 AM #4
      Came here expecting to see a post about the veloster...

      Leaving unsatisfied.

    5. Member someguy123's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 04:57 AM #5
      But it mentions Hyundai and the Veloster in there.

    6. Member stascom's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 04:59 AM #6
      Good thing I gave up sunroofs. Not only do you drive around with 40lbs on the top like a bobble head, you also run the risk of being showered in tempered glass. Thanks.

    7. Member Ark6's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 05:12 AM #7
      I wonder why you would want tempured glass as a roof?

      Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

    8. Member stascom's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 05:16 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Ark6 View Post
      I wonder why you would want tempured glass as a roof?

      Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
      Not sure, if serious

    9. Member Live-Wire's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 08:30 AM #9
      Weird, I've had a fairly large rock (behind a dump truck doing 120kph ish on the highway that went over too large of a bump, and somehow the rock actually made it past those awesome, rock-proof nets they have! ) pound off my former cars sunroof (2010 Golf), and aside from the huge bang, and it jolting my sunroof slightly out of alignment (more wind noise then new... but not worth paying the dealer to re-adjust it, the front edge was just slightly raised in relation to the roof sheet metal) there was zero damage... all I could see was a little pit of an impact mark.

      I wonder if these explosions are due to too much sideways pressure on the glass - too tight of a seal/too wet-noodle of a unibody.

      I've heard the same problem can happen to minivan/wagon rear windows, and have seen it happen (gen 2 Chrysler minivan). Go over a road variation wrong, chassis twists just too much and bang.

    10. Member Fettes Brot's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 09:08 AM #10
      In my experience, it's almost always a rock strike to the glass.
      Volvo Expert/Master Tech

    11. Member dos's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 09:31 AM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Fettes Brot View Post
      In my experience, it's almost always a rock strike to the glass.
      It does not seem to be the case with a lot of car owners experiencing exploding sunroofs. There was a pretty big problem with E90 3 series owners and exploding sunroofs. A ton of the instances where with the sunroof closed and it exploding out wards.
      01 Audi S4 K04 stage III. 13 Accord Sport. Past 07 BMW 335i

    12. Member burn_your_money's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 09:54 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Ark6 View Post
      I wonder why you would want tempured glass as a roof?
      X2. Sheet metal is fine for me.

    13. 12-16-2012 10:07 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by BODH1 View Post
      Came here expecting to see a post about the veloster...

      Leaving unsatisfied.
      Did you even bother to read the OP?

    14. Member Fettes Brot's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 10:09 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by dos View Post
      It does not seem to be the case with a lot of car owners experiencing exploding sunroofs. There was a pretty big problem with E90 3 series owners and exploding sunroofs. A ton of the instances where with the sunroof closed and it exploding out wards.
      The air pressure differential is what causes it to explode outwards, but it's the rock strike that causes the weakened glass. It may not explode at the time of the impact either, but later down the road, even days later when the conditions are right.
      Volvo Expert/Master Tech

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      12-16-2012 10:11 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Whatchmacallit View Post
      Did you even bother to read the OP?
      This is TCL, so odds are....no.
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    16. Member McBanagon's Avatar
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      12-16-2012 10:21 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by stascom View Post
      Good thing I gave up sunroofs. Not only do you drive around with 40lbs on the top like a bobble head, you also run the risk of being showered in tempered glass. Thanks.
      Me too.

      I had an aftermarket sunroof in the 80s, and thought it was Coolest. Thing. Ever. Now I'm like... "Meh."

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