A Handy Guide on Car Sunroof Installation & Maintenance
Using a car is simply not about going from one place to another but about experiencing the journey as well. And that’s why, having a car sunroof installation gives its passengers the much-needed feeling of spacious interiors with hair blowing in the wind, bringing joy to its occupants.
The basic function of a sunroof is to open up the exterior to all of the passengers sitting in a car and create an aura within a vehicle. Almost every modern car has adopted sunroofs, and even for older cars, one can easily install a sunroof in the car.
There are many apprehensions owners have about retrofitting a sunroof into a car and also needing a great guide to stay ahead of the curve. This blog will comprehensively cover everything there is to know about car sunroofs, installing, repairing and maintaining them throughout their lifetime.
What Are The Car Sunroof Pros And Cons?
The feeling of openness – When a car heads into the winding roads through the forests, beaches and mountain areas, a large panoramic sunroof brings grandeur to the journey. Families can take in the beautiful scenic views, creating a panoramic view for everyone to enjoy.
A sunroof is essential for creating unforgettable memories and enhances the journeys by bringing openness to the cabin.
Car value- Any person looking to buy a car is not just searching for a well-made, maintained car but also looking for great packaging. A beautiful, sleek sunroof can dramatically increase prices in the market.
When bringing an older car generation, a retrofit sunroof is quite a value add and makes the car stand out from similar models. One can expect a five to ten per cent increase in the selling costs, and an owner will be rewarded for their efforts.
Camping- Going on adventurous trips as a family is a memorable aspect of childhood for many, and car camping is a popular way to stay comfortable in remote locations.
Staying up late and sleeping under the starry night emanating from the sunroof brings a new dimension to camping. Being comfortable and in the wilderness is a positive of having a car sunroof installation.
Other pros: Sunlight is an essential source of life; in modern living, one cannot get enough of it. All the passengers will get a good dose of vitamin D and a lot of fresh air in the interior through a sunroof.
In many flood-stricken areas, there have been many instances of sunroofs being used as emergency escape hatch. It has saved many lives and remains popular in areas with heavy rainfall and flooding.
In areas which are situated in tropical regions with extreme heat waves, sunroofs can serve the purpose of ensuring the car does not become a hot box.
The benefits of a sunroof in a car can go on forever, and its versatility is why, across the globe, people pay a premium to install them in their vehicles.
Maintenance- A car sunroof is manufactured and designed to be highly reliable and remain durable for an extended period. However, they are fundamentally mechanical parts with many moving parts that may deteriorate.
A sunroof is often exposed to natural elements like sunlight, wind, moisture, dust and debris. One can face issues like rusting, breakage of seal, and the lack of proper greasing can cause the motor to break.
It is the owner’s responsibility to take proper care and put in the effort of cleaning, checking the parts from time to time.
Get Car Sunroof Replacement done from reliable workshops to ensure they remain well maintained through the car’s lifetime.
Weight issue- Retrofitting a sunroof into a new car for which it was not designed can come up with its challenges.
The glass can be hefty and require modifications based on the type of sunroof being installed. For some cars, one might need to reinforce the shell of the vehicle itself to ensure it can carry the weight.
One might see a dip in the mileage per gallon being delivered by the car by a five to ten percentage ratio.
Extreme climates: A metallic sunroof will always provide better protection to the passengers sitting inside the car from the outside environment. Glass as an element offers less protection, especially in places that suffer from extreme cold and hot temperatures.
You have now learned about all the car sunroof pros and cons. Even in extreme climates, a sunroof is manageable once one understands the process and diligently focuses on the car’s proper maintenance.
The Different Types Of Sunroofs
Each type of sunroof has a unique advantage, so keep a keen eye as we go over the variations of car sunroof installation–
The pop-up Sunroof: In this kind of sunroof, the latch is on one edge, pushing the mirror upward to let the sun and air enter the cabin. The hinge is on the front and does not slide out like a traditional sunroof. The benefits of these kinds of sunroofs are that they are manually operated, making them more cost-effective than other options.
The mechanism is far simpler and easier to manage than the traditional systems; henceforth more appropriate for low-cost projects. Negatives tend to be a small surface area, and their placement in front seats leaves the back seat passengers at a disadvantage.
The sliding sunroofs:
They are the go-to choice for new car models and tend to generate more of an oomph factor. The three types of variants they come under are:
- Panoramic options.
Let’s break down each version of these, shall we?
The inbuilt sliding sunroofs are built into the car and elegantly go into the roof compartment. One can either use manual operation for them or use an electronic button to open or close automatically.
The tilt and slide tend to get the mirror out of the car and let the sunlight shine. Panoramic is the most expensive option, with the mirror covering the entire roof itself, and they open partially to bring the sunlight in. The benefit of this option is that it lets a lot of light and air into the cabin compared to the pop sunroof.
The drawback of this option is that it can be cost-prohibitive for older cars to install. In many cases, the vehicle model might not accommodate such a change, leading to structural issues.
How To Install A Sunroof In The Car
When one has figured out the type of sunroof that is best for your car and is feasible, one can start the planning. Note that one should inquire from a professional about installing a sunroof in the car and let them take on the challenge as it requires making structural changes.
If, however, one is up for the challenge and feeling more adventurous, then here are the techniques to install a sunroof in the car-
- Figure out the flat part of the car roof and start marking it down to ensure that it does not hit the curvature.
- Search for the various glass options available online and check for the dimensions. Ensure the mirror is one inch smaller than the fitment to avoid unevenness.
- Select a kit with the motor, sealing, and everything else included to ensure compatibility.
- Ensure that one uses masking tape to avoid damaging the colour of the roof and avoid using any other third-party materials.
- Apply the template that would have come with the purchase of the sunroof, or download one from the manufacturer’s website.
- Use a razor to cut the area of the template; avoid scratching the paint.
- Drill the holes on the four edges, and only do this procedure if you’re covering the whole thing meticulously.
- Use a supplied probe knife to make the incision of the interior roof upholstery and cut out the material.
- Use a craft knife to cut the hole in the headliner and make the proper cut. Replace the headliner if you have to.
- Increase the drill-sized holes according to the nibbler tool to avoid causing more significant damage.
- Cut with the nibbler tool, follow the traced path, and avoid veering off it.
- Remove the masking tape and start to file down any rough edges.
- Apply primer on the exposed metallic edges to avoid any rusting from occurring.
- Apply the weather sealing and drop the mirror in place.
- Ensure that one has applied the two screws to the roof itself.
- The wiring secures the front hinges and rear latch if it is non-electronic.
- For electronics, the wiring needs to be channelled into the A-pillar, with the fuse box in the rear seat.
Finally, apply the adhesive on the mirror, place it on the roof from the outside, and connect it to the latch within the car. Now, the pop-out sunroof is ready to be operated, and one can enjoy your car view.
How To Maintain A Sunroof
Installing the sunroof is half the battle won. As mentioned above, a Sunroof requires a lot of care, attention and maintenance over a long period. The good news is that car sunroof maintenance is not as complicated and is relatively straightforward.
Clean the sunroof glass regularly with a mild automotive glass cleaner and a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dirt, dust, and grime. Pay attention to the sunroof’s seal and tracks. Use a clean cloth to remove debris affecting the seal and smooth operation.
The process of cleaning a sunroof is simple:
- Buy a third-party glass cleaner and soft cloth sponge.
- Give the sunroof a proper dusting with a dry cloth to ensure it is properly cleaned. One can also use vacuum-based options to clean off the dust from every nook and corner.
- Afterwards, apply the glass cleaner and sponge to ensure a deeper cleansing.
- Avoid using solutions with ammonia and vinegar, as it can damage the mirror itself.
- Wipe the seals to ensure no dust particles start creeping into the mirror.
Focusing The Sunroof Drains
In many sunroofs, some drains collect water and dust, with two located in the front and two in the back. Check the car manually if you are struggling to find it, and give a proper rinsing to ensure all the dust has been removed from the drain.
One can even blow compressed air to ensure that any blockage is removed. Conduct the maintenance work regularly to keep plaque and bacteria from getting built up.
Apply Lubrication To The Moving Parts.
Use the sunroof sparingly, as the constant movement leads to faster degradation of the moving parts. Lubrication is the key to increasing the sunroof’s lifecycle and ensures the operation speed remains constant.
Apply a non-sticky grease that is weatherproof to avoid a situation of grease build-up within the mechanical parts.
Fixing the sunroof leakage is one of the most common forms of requirement for car owners and can become a severe problem, especially when it rains. In most cases of car sunroof leak repair, the seal or drain tube is clogged.
One can buy and apply a new seal or clean the drain tube with the earlier techniques.
Car Sunroof Replacement
Generally, the sunroof is replaced due to constant wear and tear over the lifetime of the equipment. If the car’s sunroof track gets broken, it is generally recommended that one gets a replacement.
Search for professionals who have mastered the art of car sunroof repair at an affordable price and can help you navigate car sunroof replacement.
Q1) How Much Does It Cost To Install A Sunroof On A Car?
Ans: In the UK, it costs about 650 pounds to 3000 pounds for installation. The final price depends on how extensive the installation work is and the type of sunroof installed.
If one uses a pop-up sunroof, they are pretty cheap, while panoramic ones are expensive.
Q2) Can The Sunroof Glass Be Replaced?
Ans: Ans: Yes, a sunroof glass is replaceable and requires the support of a professional like an auto glass technician to do it for you. One needs first to take it in the workshop and will be given the specifications to buy a new glass based on- type, size, and other special features.
The final quote will include the labour charges based on the complexity of the glass replacement.
Q3) Can You Replace The Sunroof With A Regular Roof?
Ans: One can replace the sunroof with a regular roof, which requires good tools and metallurgical skills. One must fabricate and weld a sealed top panel to cover up the rooftop where the sunroof once existed. Afterwards, apply the correct headliners and stay in the non-sunroof car.
The final result should look pitch-perfect and indistinguishable from a sunroof car.
Q4) Is A Sunroof In A Car Good Or Bad?
Ans: Everyone has their interpretation of whether the sunroof in a car is a positive or a negative aspect in a car. People who struggle to maintain the sunroof will likely give a negative review. While others enjoyed the picturesque views through their panoramic glass, ease in maintaining them would have a more positive experience.
It entirely depends upon personal choice, and one should decide for themselves.
Q5) Is It Safe To Install A Sunroof In A Car?
Ans Yes, but it can sometimes affect the vehicle’s structural integrity. The roof is an integral part of the car and brings rigidity to the structure. An after-market glass sunroof can affect the chassis and require more reinforcements.
A sunroof is an excellent addition to any old car and can be installed easily by a properly trained auto glass mechanic. The benefits of a sunroof can be quite transformational for the car interiors and bring a new ambience to it.
One can use their old car as a camper or go on a road trip with the sunroof, providing ample openness and enhancing the experience. They also generate significant value by increasing the selling price and reducing the upfront costs.
While car sunroof maintenance may seem overwhelming initially, one can use the tips mentioned above to make the whole process more manageable.
Ensure that one gets Car Sunroof Installation done only at Acton Car Service Centre.