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Exploding Sunroofs Identified – Carmakers under Investigation

January 3, 2018 | Category: Unsafe Vehicles | Share

CBS Miami reported on October 12, 2017 that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is receiving an increased number of reports about shattering sunroofs while vehicles are being driven. In fact, there have been at least 859 complaints to date, said Consumer Reports

Exploding Sunroofs Identified - Spivey LawTwo such incidents of defective sunroofs happened recently in Florida, according to News4 Jacksonville: 

  • A Jacksonville mother was on the interstate when the sunroof shattered and flew off her Infiniti G-35. 
  • An Army veteran said, after his Volvo’s sunroof shattered, “I was traveling down 95 and suddenly my sunroof exploded without reason or cause. I started feeling glass falling on my face.” 

Dangers posed by shattering sunroofs 

Reports have shown that exploding sunroofs pose a danger not only to the drivers themselves, but also passengers and neighboring vehicles. When the safety glass is shattered it can cut people when it falls. It can also enter the mouth or eyes which could cause more serious injuries. Consideration must also be given to the sound a shattered sunroof can make. Often the sound is referred to as sounding like “a gunshot” or a “loud bang”. The explosion can increase the risk of accidents by terrifying and distracting drivers sharing the roadway. 

Why are sunroofs shattering? 

Consumer Reports says that the following are some of the reasons sunroofs are shattering: 

  1. A rock or debris can pop up and hit a sunroof.
  2. A flaw in the sunroof can also be caused by installation.
  3. The hardest to predict are imperfections in the glass itself. There are always little imperfections in the tempered glass, and down the road those small imperfections can grow sufficiently to actually spontaneously break the glass.
  4. Modern car designs are more three-dimensional and often involve bending glass to the curvature of the roof. That makes them more susceptible to impacts, even from very small objects because they present a more vertical surface for an offending object to strike. 
  1. Automakers generally use the thinnest glass they can in an effort to reduce costs and keep vehicles lighter for better gas mileage. 
  1. Safety standards and regulatory oversight of sunroofs have not kept pace with size and design changes to guarantee they are safe. 

Which vehicle models are most affected? 

The list includes at least 208 models of cars and 35 brands of automakers.

The top 10 cars, according to Global News, affected are:

Car Model

Number of


Toyota Scion tC


Hyundai Veloster


Kia Sorento


Nissan Murano


Kia Optima


Ford Explorer


Honda Accord

Cadillac SRX

Nissan Mazima

Hyundai Santa Fe





What recourse do consumers have? 

Manufacturers have legal liability for the products they produce and sell. Should consumers have a defective vehicle part, such as the sunroof, they should notify the NHTSA and file a complaint. Some of those affected have already filed lawsuits against such manufacturers as Volkswagen and Hyundai. 

  • A Volkswagen exploding sunroof lawsuit alleges numerous models going back to 2004 have defects that cause the sunroofs to explode and shatter into shards of glass that injure occupants. 
  • A Hyundai panoramic sunroof lawsuit will continue after a federal judge dismissed a motion by Hyundai to toss claims made by the plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges the automaker has known about exploding panoramic sunroofs for years but concealed the defects from consumers. 

“If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective sunroof, contact the experienced lawyers at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.,” said Fort Myers Unsafe Vehicles Attorney, Randall Spivey. 


Fort Myers Unsafe Vehicles Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by less than 2 percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 1,500 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at  239. 337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to  Visit  for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.


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