Do Sunroofs Leak And Crack Easily?

Sunroofs are a luxury addition to many cars. They add a sense of elegance and can add additional light or airflow. But unfortunately, some factors can cause leaks, cracks, and other damage. So how do they get damaged? And what does it cost to fix them?

Sunroofs can develop leaks from broken seals, cracks in the glass, and clogged (or disconnected) drain lines. Cracks can happen from stray rocks, branches, and debris. A leaking sunroof typically costs between $250 and $750 to fix, and is covered by your car insurance.

Don’t panic if your sunroof leaks or you notice a musty scent in your car. Although this issue needs to be resolved fast, the process is straightforward. The article below covers everything you need to know to get started.

Do Sunroofs Leak and Crack Easily?

Car sunroof

Sunroofs are designed to last the lifespan of a vehicle, but they can develop leaks and cracks in some cases.

The glass on a sunroof is made from tempered glass, just like the vehicle’s windshield. As a result, it can become cracked or chipped from debris, causing potential leaks. If the crack spreads or gets worse, you’ll have an even bigger problem on your hands.

You’ll know if your sunroof is leaking or if your vehicle’s interior has a musty or moldy scent. It may be difficult to pinpoint where the leak comes from, but the moisture typically ends up in the car’s floorboards or upholstery.

In severe cases, you may notice mold spores growing near the sunroof or on the upholstery.

Water damage can ruin a vehicle’s interior, cause uncomfortable conditions, and pose health risks. Not to mention, the electronics can short-circuit, or rust can develop. Leaks are serious issues and should be handled ASAP.

What Causes Sunroofs to Leak?

Sunroofs can develop leaks in several places, mainly due to the design. Sunroofs have a drainage system with built-in channels and holes to redirect accumulated water.

The water is transferred to tubes along the car’s underside, where it’s released. The drainage system can become clogged with debris and cause leaks.

A few other causes for sunroof leaks include the following:

  • Faulty, cracked, or broken sunroof seal.
  • Clogged sunroof drain lines.
  • Disconnected sunroof drain lines.

How to Fix a Sunroof Leak

  1. First, inspect the rubber seal that wraps around the outer edges of the sunroof glass or panel. Look for any cracks, rips, or visible damage. You will need to replace the sunroof seal if it’s damaged or deformed.
  1. If the rubber seal isn’t the issue, you may have a clogged drain line. First, locate the drain holes on your sunroof—they’re usually in the four corners of the drain channel. Next, pour water down the hole to see if it’s clogged.
  1. If the drain line is clogged, take a small pipe cleaner or toothbrush to clean out any debris at the entrance of the drain hole. Then, pour water into the hole again to see if the issue is resolved.
  1. If the drain system is still clogged, take a piece of stiff wire or string to clean out the drain line. You can also use canned air to spray out the line. Be gentle to avoid puncturing or damaging the drain line.
  1. Pour water down the drain hole to see if the issue is solved. Then, repeat the cleaning process until the holes drain properly.

If these steps don’t fix the leak, you may have a disconnected drain line. It’s best to contact professional assistance for disconnected drain lines, as they can be more challenging to troubleshoot.

What Causes Sunroofs to Crack?

Sunroofs are made from the same tempered glass as a vehicle’s window. As a result, they can become cracked by stray rocks, branches, and other debris. Small cracks and chips can spread throughout the rest of the panel, causing safety hazards and leaks.

  • Small Chips: Small chips occur when a bit of the glass is removed by stray rocks, branches, or debris.
  • Cracks: Cracks occur when the glass in the sunroof splits apart after taking damage from debris or impact.
  • Complete Break: A total break happens when the glass panel moves out of position or caves in entirely.

Sunroofs are shatter resistant, but they aren’t entirely shatterproof. If a sunroof shatters, it can be incredibly hazardous and expensive. Therefore, it’s best to repair a cracked sunroof as soon as possible.

Can a Sunroof Crack Be Repaired?

Sometimes, small cracks and chips in a sunroof can be repaired. That said, sunroof panels are made from tempered glass that breaks into small-pebble-sized pieces that aren’t likely to cause injury.

Large cracks or chips in tempered glass cannot usually be repaired, and the entire panel must be replaced. Therefore, it’s important to address small cracks and chips as soon as possible to avoid expensive replacements.

How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Sunroof?

Car sunroof covered with thick rain drops

If your sunroof has chips or cracks, fixing the drain line isn’t completely solve your problem. In these situations, you’ll need to take your vehicle to your nearest glass shop or certified mechanic for professional assistance.

The average cost to replace a manual sunroof ranges between $250 and $750, depending on the parts, labor, size, and location.

Prices can become more expensive if you have an automatic sunroof with broken electrical components, cracks, or other damage. For example, cleaning the drain line on a sunroof typically costs around $75 to $150.