Why Sunroofs Shatter

September 5, 2018 11:04 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), instances of vehicle sunroofs shattering have increased as of late—and this is not a single automaker’s problem. The NHTSA is investigating, but car owners should have an idea of why this is happening and the resulting implications. Below is some information from an expert in mobile glass replacement in Oklahoma City, OK.

What auto manufacturers say

When auto manufacturers were asked what or who is to blame for shattering sunroofs, they reported that the most common response they received from drivers was projectiles. Automakers suggest that various objects of all sizes—such as rocks, natural debris and manmade debris—making contact with sunroofs are to blame for shattering glass. When a projectile traveling at high speed slams into a sunroof, the glass is likely to shatter or explode. However, as easy as it is to blame damage on flying debris, there’s evidence that suggests there’s a bigger problem.

For starters, unless there’s a serious rock and debris problem haunting highways in the United States, this answer does not match up with the staggering increase in complaints. Complaints have been coming into the NHTSA for the past 20 years, and over 70 percent of those have been reported in the past six years.

The metals used in newer vehicles are thinner

Could thinner metals being used in newer vehicles be the reason for shattering sunroofs? In an effort to make lighter weight vehicles with better fuel economy, some automakers began using thinner metals in their manufacturing processes. This appears to be an industry-wide practice that began about six years ago. While there is no actual proof that using thinner and lighter metal is the problem, it could be the reason for a loss of support for sunroof glass. Some vehicle makers claim that thinner, lighter metals are stronger, but that doesn’t mean they offer the same bracing for auto glass.

So, can thinner metal cause defects that lead to sunroofs shattering seemingly out of nowhere? Is thinner metal contributing to the increase in shattering sunroofs? Or is the glass just not able to hold up against hard flying debris? All of these things are possible, but we don’t know for sure. That’s a part of the NHTSA’s investigation.

Check for recalls

Although the risk of shattering sunroofs is low, if it does happen to you, you may be in harm’s way. Take preventative measures for your safety and check for recalls on all your vehicles with sunroofs. Some automakers issue voluntary recalls, while others might not unless proof is uncovered by the NHTSA. Checking for recalls is a way to know if you need to do anything about your glass. If needed, contact a qualified professional to inspect and replace your sunroof glass.

It’s important to have damaged auto glass looked at by a pro as soon as possible. If you find yourself unable to safely bring your vehicle to Eagle 1 Autoglass for service, we’ll come to you! Call us anytime to schedule an appointment for mobile glass replacement or mobile auto glass repair in Oklahoma City, OK.

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