car sunroof

Maintaining your car’s sunroof       

On the Road 3 min read




(Is this getting on your nerves yet?)




(We thought so.)

And if you think that’s bad, just imagine how annoying it would be if it were happening inside your car. Water dripping on your head is literally torturous and that’s before you even consider the damage it can cause to your fancy leather seats or the rancid smell of mildew it can create.

Such is the life of a car owner with a sunroof, or at least one that hasn’t been well-maintained. Fortunately there are plenty of do-it-yourself ways to keep your sunroof in tip-top shape that are neither expensive nor time-consuming. Here’s a handful of helpful tips:

Don’t neglect

Responsible car owners change the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. They rotate the tires regularly and occasionally replace the cabin filter. They do this because they understand that preventative maintenance will ensure that the car will last a long time.

So why would your sunroof not deserve the same respect? It does.

It may just seem like another window, but sunroofs are fairly complex mechanisms. Any time you have moving parts with motors and gears, there’s always the potential something could go wrong with it. Sunroof maintenance isn’t always at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to car care, but if you’ve got one, you’d be smart to keep it in good shape.

Don’t blow a gasket

Most sunroofs are equipped with rubber gaskets that run along the perimeter of the panel to keep it sealed tight. Over time, exposure to the sun and the elements can cause the gaskets to crack or break, which may be the reason for your leak. Fortunately, most gaskets are inexpensive and not that difficult to replace.

Another reason your sunroof may have sprung a leak is because of faulty alignment. If the panel isn’t level with the roof of the car, water can easily sneak through the cracks. This can be a little trickier since not every make and model is exactly alike, but if your alignment is off, it may require loosening the panel and readjusting it to its proper location.

Clear those roof drains

The nice folks who designed your car obviously did their best to make sure no wetness makes its way inside your vehicle. That’s why all sunroofs come with built-in roof drains to make sure any rain water runs off smoothly.

The only problem is that those drains can often become clogged. Leaves, pine needles, and other debris can easily get stuck inside the drains but they’re pretty easy to clean. You can even just stick a wire inside to clear them out or better yet, a can of compressed air to remove any excess gunk that may have built up over time.

Keep moving parts greased

You’ve heard the expression “works like a well-oiled machine,” haven’t you? Well, guess what? That’s because machines that are well-oiled work better than poorly oiled ones. It’s not rocket science.

Your sunroof is full of rails, gears, motors, and moving parts that can dry out in the sun and put extra stress on the mechanisms that keep them going. In most cases, they’re easy to clean with a soft cloth and re-lubricated with lithium grease spray. It doesn’t take long and it certainly won’t drain your bank account, but a little routine lubrication could absolutely improve the long-term health of your sunroof.

Honestly, even a once-a-year routine maintenance of your sunroof may be enough to keep it in good shape. Because if you don’t take the time to give it a little TLC every now and then, you may regret it.




(OK, we won’t start again.)

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