The sunroof in a car can explode. Consumer Reports experts say that this poses a danger to vehicle occupants. The problem is particularly acute in some cars produced by Hyundai, Ford and Nissan.
Researchers at Consumer Reports wrote:
An exploding sunroof might sound like a freak occurrence, but a Consumer Reports investigation has found that it’s not. These incidents have happened in every month of the year in every part of the country, in vehicles from all over the world; they have occurred on interstates, on country roads, and even while parked in driveways.
Sunroofs have significantly expanded in size in recent years, and they’ve also grown in popularity. And the number of consumer complaints about them shattering without warning has soared.
While this doesn’t happen nearly as often as, say, a tire blowout on the highway, any explosion while driving can present a real safety hazard.
These researchers found car companies have not made the danger a safety issue:
Our investigation has found that, with a few exceptions, automakers are not acknowledging or resolving the issue. It’s also clear that the safety standards and regulatory oversight of sunroofs have not kept pace with those dramatic size and design changes and that more needs to be done to guarantee they are safe.
Consumer Reports experts made its analysis based on information from the National Highway Safety Administration Office of Defects Information’ complaints database. The period covered was for 1995 to September 2017.
The brands with the largest numbers of problems were Hyundai, Ford, Nissan, Kia, Scion and Toyota. Last year, Toyota decided to kill the Scion brand.
Among individual models, those with the highest number of sunroof explosions were the Scion tC, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Sorento, Nissan Murano and Kia Optima. It is too early to tell if the research will affect sales of the models.