Call Kurtis: Why Are Sunroofs Spontaneously Exploding?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – While driving to work, Eric Hernandez says without warning the sunroof of his 2006 Scion TC shattered.

“It just sounded like a gunshot really. My heart was beating like crazy,” said Hernandez.

Fortunately, he wasn’t cut by the glass, but he was surprised when he went online and found others with Scion TC’s had the same problem.

A Scion TC owner shows viewers his shattered moon roof in one YouTube clip.

“No rocks hit it, considering it was parked in the driveway,” the owner says.

Sue Coelho of Modesto sent us a picture of something similar that happened to the sunroof of her 2008 Hyundai Tiburon.

If you search the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, you will see all makes and models with hundreds of complaints involving sunroof and moonroof explosions. With some manufacturers, like Hyundai and Audi, it has led to recalling certain models.

Glass expert Bob Beranek with the Auto Glass Safety Council expects more spontaneous glass breaks on all different models. He believes that some manufacturers are using thinner glass for fuel efficiency.

And those¬†spontaneous breaks can happen while driving or not, “Just poof it breaks,” said Beranek.

To protect yourself, he says to keep the shade cover closed. It will collect the glass after a break.

But Hernandez thinks something should be done.

“Glass should not be shattering on top of me,” he said.

His insurance ended up covering the $981 claim, minus the deductible.

But that wasn’t his biggest concern, “I just want to make sure that nobody else is getting hurt because of this,” said Hernandez.

Hyundai offered to inspect Coelho’s car, but she already had it fixed by a family member.

Scion tells us they are not using thinner glass, and Hyundai says studies show most shattering happens after a strike of a pebble or other debris.

Most sunroofs and moonroofs are made of tempered glass, which can shatter under pressure if there is a flaw. Experts say you should air out your car on hot days and keep the sun visor cracked slightly so heat does not build up between the visor and the glass.


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